Capital Climate Is Mean In Michigan, VCs Say at Symposium, But We’re Used to Dealing With Bad Weather

5/12/10

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speakers at this event. The few VCs that decide to invest here get their money’s worth because local entrepreneurs appreciate every penny they can get and, of course, there’s that Midwestern work ethic. Or, as Mitchell put it, “You can make more money if you put in $20 million rather than $200 million.”

“I think that capital efficiency is in the culture and the DNA here, and I think it’s a great asset because people have had to do more on less,” Mitchell says.

That, she says, puts Michigan even ahead of the curve. The next wave of venture capital firms are raising smaller funds and investing more efficiently, she says.

Tomorrow, I’ll write more about what Michigan is doing with its venture cash, and about some of the companies giving their pitches here. Lots of energy, cleantech, and life sciences companies were on hand. There does seem to be some optimism in the air here. Maybe Michiganders do know something about the future that the rest of the country does not. Or, as Sooch says, there’s nowhere to go but up. David Brophy, director of the symposium and of the Office for the Study of Private Equity Finance at U-M’s Ross School of Business, has a simpler explanation: The recession hit us first, he says, and we’re doing something about it first.

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