Area Entrepreneurs Launch Detroit Venture Partners To Turn Motown Into A Tech and Innovation Hub

12/22/10Follow @xconomy

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follow-on rounds. Its first couple of deals could come as early as January and February, Linkner says.

Michigan entrepreneurs have identified the lack of early stage financing as a big obstacle to growth in the region, and DVP is looking to turn this around. At present, the firm is investing with the founders’ own capital, but has its sights on raising outside capital from LPs in the future. “Our goal is to become a significant venture investor in the region,” Linkner says. “We’re not looking to be dabblers.”

Nor is DVP looking to invest in just any startup in Detroit; it’s focused specifically on early stage Web and mobile tech companies and is staying away from investments in cleantech, computer chips, and manufacturing. The big goal is growing Web 2.0 companies so that Detroit can become a place known for those industries, much like San Francisco and Boston.

Linkner says the team is inspired by the success of Chicago-based social buying giant Groupon, which shows a company “doesn’t have to be on a coast” to become a top name in technology. “The question is: how can we can we use the resources and talent that are in this region and enjoy similar types of success?” he says.

Linkner, Gilbert, and Hermelin all know each other from the Detroit business and entrepreneurial community—an entity that Linkner says has a lot of untapped potential. “I think we’ve got all the right ingredients, we just need some connective tissue,” he says.

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