Michigan’s VC industry soars in 2019; pandemic cools outlook for 2020

In 2019, venture capital firms invested a record amount into Michigan-based companies, led by a Plymouth-based automotive technology company that accounted for three-quarters of the total. The $1.55 billion investment in Rivian LLC lifted total venture capital investments in Michigan to $2.06 billion across 71 deals for 2019, according to an annual research report issued by the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

Minus the Rivian deal, venture capital investments across the state totaled $514 million through 70 deals, which is still a record amount and more than 150 percent higher than five years earlier. Last year’s total also included a $110 million investment in Detroit-based StockX LLC, an online marketplace and clothing reseller, primarily for sneakers.

The Rivian and StockX investments, plus $58 million in Series C funding for Ann Arbor-based life sciences company HistoSonics Inc., “are numbers that we have not seen before,” said Dale Grogan, managing director of Grand Rapids-based Michigan Accelerator Fund I, which invests in early-stage companies. A decade ago, such larger, later-stage capital rounds “never” occurred in Michigan.

“That is a tremendous trend that really bodes well for the venture industry. It also shows our industry is starting to drift a little bit later on the venture side,” Grogan said, referring to later-stage capital rounds. “It certainly signals a maturity of the venture industry within Michigan, no doubt about that.” Read more at MiBiz

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