Bizdom Relaunches with New Office in the Madison, New Logo, No ‘U’

3/20/12Follow @XconomyDET

The nonprofit Detroit-based accelerator Bizdom (no more U) has relaunched with new digs in the Madison Building downtown, a spiffy new logo and website, and a few tweaks to its business model. With the new branding, Bizdom is playing up its connection to Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert, who created the program in 2007 and remains its biggest cheerleader, and his network of startups, established companies, venture capitalists, and innovators.

“The opportunity came open at the Madison and part of Dan Gilbert’s vision is that place matters,” says Maria LaLonde, Bizdom’s recruiting and development leader. “We’re trying to create a great tech community where our entrepreneurs are closer to mentors, closer to funding sources, and can collaborate in an open workspace.”

After undergoing rigorous screening, startups accepted into Bizdom will receive up to $25,000 in seed funding, the opportunity to pitch for additional funding from Bizdom’s large network of investors at the end of the program, space in the Madison, and three months of intense mentoring from numerous marketing, sales, and technology experts from Quicken Loans’ extensive network and family of companies.

In exchange, startups give Bizdom an 8 percent equity share. Bizdom uses those stakes to help fund future companies and to keep its operations in Detroit and Cleveland rolling. Bizdom currently has 16 companies in its portfolio, including Wedit and Picket Report.

Bizdom has also tweaked its public offerings, LaLonde says. After getting feedback from various entrepreneurs, Bizdom decided to scrap the Idea Generator program, which targeted those who had an innovative business plan they wanted to play with over the course of eight weeks. Now, LaLonde says, Bizdom will offer the same content, such as business-model coaching, guest speakers, and workshops, as a la carte events that are free and open to the public. The hope, LaLonde says, is that people in the community see what’s possible when a good idea meets Gilbert’s vast network of resources.

Until Friday, Bizdom is accepting applications for its next three-month program, which starts in late April. LaLonde says more than 300 people from as far away as Argentina applied for the previous session. “I expect that this time around, as we continue to build our reputation, we’ll see that increase,” she says.

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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