Client in the News: “Invest Detroit Ventures Makes Money Moves for Disenfranchised Entrepreneurs”

By: Sherri Kolade (The Michigan Chronicle 

Although minority tech startups are making a larger footprint in Michigan, the landscape does not always offer equal financial footing from the initiation stages.  

Luckily, bridging the gap for these underserved entrepreneurs, like women, minorities, immigrant founders and other marginalized populations is something that comes naturally to Invest Detroit Ventures, (IDV), which provides early-stage investment to Michigan-based, high-tech startups and programs, especially through the organization’s FAM (Funding, Access & Mentorship) fund program, now in its second year.  

Nonprofit Invest Detroit, a mission-driven lender, investor and partner that supports business and real estate projects, created IDV in 2009 to enhance its overall mission to support the inclusive growth of entrepreneurial ventures.  

“At Invest Detroit we raise capital separately and operate through state investments,” Ben Bernstein, principal at Invest Detroit Ventures, told the Michigan Chronicle recently.  

Bernstein, who develops relationships with entrepreneurs across Michigan, assisting them to develop startup talent to prepare them for investment, said that ID Ventures has an “intentionality” in assisting underserved communities.  

“[With] extending venture capital to a broad fund of entrepreneurs our numbers speak for itself,” Bernstein said.  

Sixty-four percent of its total portfolio is represented by founders of color, women, immigrants and Detroit residents.  

“Those are areas we consider of need,” Bernstein said. “If you look at any other funds across the country you see that mix … being much lower. Our Black founders are 20-222 percent of our total portfolio.”   

Earlier this year, Bank of America supported IDV’s IDV Fund IV, which is an established $20 million fund that provides capital investment to Michigan startups during early, critical stages of development.   

“This investment by Bank of America is significant because there is not enough early-stage capital for Michigan-based startups,” said Patti Glaza, managing director of IDV. “Only 10 percent of Michigan venture capital is currently invested at the seed stage, resulting in entrepreneurs spending too much time fundraising instead of executing in a space where time to market is critical.