Michigan Roundup: Renaissance VC Fund, ICIC, Cadillac, Urban Science
Here’s a look at some of the news from around Southeast Michigan’s innovation community that you might have missed:
—Earlier this month, Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, a Detroit-based fund-of-funds created by Business Leaders for Michigan, invested in Ann Arbor, MI-based VC fund Plymouth Venture Partners III. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Plymouth invests in growth-stage Midwestern tech companies, and Fund III is a follow-on fund to Plymouth Venture Partners I and II, which have collectively invested in 39 companies since 2003. Plymouth Venture Partners III marks the 16th investment made by the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund. “Renaissance is an important source of capital, but perhaps more important is the strategic network it brings, with the ability to connect venture capital and growth stage companies to Michigan’s biggest corporations,” said Mark Horne, Plymouth’s CEO, in a press release.
—The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) is accepting applications for the 2014 Inner City 100, a list of America’s fastest-growing inner city businesses that will be published in an upcoming issue of Fortune magazine. This year, the list will feature the 10 fastest-growing inner city companies in 10 high-impact industry sectors such as IT, software, biotech, and healthcare. The deadline to apply is Friday, May 2. (For rules, eligibility information, and an application form, click here.) Inner City 100 CEOs will receive free management education and will be honored in October at the 2014 Inner City 100 Symposium in Boston.
—This month, Cadillac announced a partnership with ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle-charging network. The collaboration gives Cadillac ELR drivers access to more than 16,500 charging locations on the ChargePoint network. (To find a charging location near you, click here.)
—AutoHarvest, a Detroit-based nonprofit website that aims to connect the auto industry with entrepreneurs and inventors, announced last week that CEA LIST institute has joined the company’s collaborative intellectual property marketplace. France-based CEA focuses on low-carbon energies, IT, defense, and health technologies, and it will offer AutoHarvest members advanced manufacturing expertise and research capabilities. According to a press release, CEA LIST has added postings on AutoHarvest detailing licensable technologies in the areas of robotics, augmented and virtual reality, data mining, intelligent sensor networks, and more.
—Domino’s Pizza now accepts payments through Google Wallet from Android users placing their orders using the pizza company’s app. Google Wallet is a mobile payment system that stores credit cards, debit cards, and loyalty cards electronically. The online pizza-ordering app brings in 10 percent of the company’s U.S. revenue, according to app creator Detroit Labs; Domino’s is so eager for customers to try ordering with Google Wallet that it will throw in a free order of chicken until June 15.
—Urban Science, a Detroit-based company founded 34 years ago to help bridge science and marketing functions primarily for automotive customers, has appointed Laura Kowalchik to the position of chief financial officer. The previous CFO, Dick Widgren, is retiring at the end of 2014. Kowalchik most recently served as vice president, corporate controller, and chief accounting officer at Kaydon Corporation in Ann Arbor. Before that, she held senior positions at Dura Automotive Systems, Microheat, and Metaldyne.