©2017 Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Starting a company involves a unique set of challenges, and raising money is perhaps the most crucial. Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) works to increase the availability of capital for companies in Michigan at every stage of company development. MEDC can help connect your business with capital providers - federal grants, venture capitalists, banks, and others - as well as offer programs that can expand the reach of those capital providers. Funds for all programs have different eligibility requirements, though all require the company be headquartered in Michigan and that the majority of the employees be based here.
Funding options include:
Use the MEDC Capital Locator tool to find and connect with capital providers that are active in Michigan and have interest in your company’s stage and sector.
MEDC not only helps early stage technology companies access federal grants, there are a few grants for specific purposes (while funds are available). Current Grant Programs:
The Michigan Translational Research Acceleration and Commercialization Fund (MTRAC) program uses the nationally recognized Coulter model to translate university research into products through start-ups and licenses with the goal of creating high-tech companies and jobs in Michigan. Instead of a general approach, MTRAC creates focused commercialization programs in Michigan’s universities with in-depth domain expertise in specific areas of research. Existing MTRAC programs are currently funded in the following areas:
MTRAC has been expanded as a statewide program to support translational research throughout the state of Michigan. The expansion reinforces the commitment to entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth by providing a pathway to accelerate the creation and transfer of new technologies. Supported projects from institutions of higher education, nonprofit research centers and hospital systems will focus on competitive-edge technology and bio economy technologies with commercialization potential based on private sector interest.
MTRAC Innovation Hub application
MTRAC program guidelines
MTRAC press release
Frequently asked questions
The MTRAC Statewide program now supports four Innovation Hubs at three Universities. Please visit the individual sites to learn more about the program and open funding cycles.
This match grant program supports early stage commercialization activities in all institutions of higher education in the state of Michigan. Technologies, tech transfer offices and inventors that receive funding will benefit through the achievement of critical early stage milestones such as proof-of-concept or market opportunity validation which will lead to follow-on commercialization activities. For more details and how to apply, please visit http://innovationcenter.msu.edu/advance.
The Business Accelerator Fund (BAF) may be accessed by participating business accelerators statewide to provide specialized business acceleration services and resources regardless of their accelerator client’s geography.
The SCIP/TCA program provides matching funds up to $40,000 to Michigan small businesses to help cover the cost of conducting a research project at any state of Michigan public university. The program is intended to help companies overcome a common challenge faced by small companies and entrepreneurs – getting research and development needs met so they can get to commercialization faster. For more details please visit http://www.michigancrn.org/small-company-innovation-and-commercialization-assistance/
MEDC provides commercialization grant funds to match federal research dollars. Funds are eligible to small tech start-ups and for use in commercialization (not research) purposes only.
The Michigan ETF matches Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) projects.
View the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund Fact Sheet for more information.
Matching dollars are provided for defense advanced research projects from the Department of Defense. Visit the DARPA website for more information.
Matching dollars are available for this specified department of energy research program. Visit the ARPA-E website for more information.
Federal funds are limited and available on a first-come basis until exhausted. Classes to better understand the federal programs and improve your submissions are available. (See the links provided above.)
The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC) is an international business plan competition designed to highlight Michigan as a robust and vibrant venue for innovation and business opportunity:
Visit the AMIC website for more information.
These series of statewide business plan competitions bring entrepreneurs from all over the State of Michigan to the local areas to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, while also networking with angel and venture capital investors from throughout the state. Candidates have the chance of winning $5,000+ in prizes at the GreenLight Hub locations and the top winner at each of the Hub location receives an automatic seat to present at the GreenLight Michigan event in East Lansing, where $100,000+ in prizes are awarded with the top prize of $40,000. The event is open to Michigan businesses two years old or less. For additional details and to apply, visit the venture team's website at http://www.greenlightmichigan.com.
MEDC offers programs to assist companies with equity capital needs. Please visit the links below to find more information on these programs. Current Equity Programs:
The Automation Alley 7Cs program – which has an emphasis on
advanced manufacturing startups in the idea stage and later - links aspiring
entrepreneurs with experts who will guide them through a seven-step process
from concept to commercialization. The program includes a $25,000 direct
investment from Automation Alley for each company accepted into the program.
The investment includes the estimated value for coaching and management advice.
The value of the investment must be repaid at the end of two years. If the
companies don't pay back the $25,000 two years after the initial investment,
they must accept Automation Alley as a part owner of the business. Companies
also are eligible to receive up to an additional $100,000 in investment from
the Automation Alley Pre-Seed Fund. For additional details and to apply, visit http://www.automationalley.com/Programs/The-7Cs.aspx.
The First Capital Fund provides “genesis” funds (up to
$150,000) to new technology companies at the earliest stages of
commercialization in the State of Michigan. The program provides funding up to
$150K through quick, flexible financial instruments. The fund is milestone
driven and focused on helping companies achieve follow-on funding from angel or
venture investors within 12 months. For additional details and to apply, visit www.investdetroit.vc/first-capital-fund.
The Michigan Angel Fund (MAF) provides funding to capital efficient early stage companies located in Michigan. MAF works closely with other stakeholders in the Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem to ensure that we invest in the most promising companies and to ensure the future success of these companies and our investments. MEDC provides administrative support only, but investments and screening is done by private investors.Visit the Michigan Angel Fund website for more information.
Invest Michigan has a contract with the Michigan Strategic Fund to direct and manage the $10 million Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0. The Fund provides equity and debt capital up to $500,000 to early stage companies in advanced automotive, manufacturing and materials, agricultural technology, alternative energy, homeland security and defense, information technology, life sciences and other innovative technology areas. The fund also assists its client companies by connecting them to other funding and resources.
Invest Michigan, working with Michigan entrepreneurs to build high-tech sustainable enterprises by providing capital, connection to resources and partnering to grow their businesses Contact your local SmartZone for more information and visit www.michiganpreseedinfo.
MEDC is committed to supporting the growth of venture capital and private equity in the state. Please see the list below which shows current and programs.
The Accelerator Fund program seeded two new early stage venture capital funds. The Michigan Strategic Fund has committed a total of $12 million to the program.
Michigan Accelerator Fund I is an investment partnership headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The purpose of this venture capital fund is to achieve significant, long-term capital appreciation for its investors. The fund invests in early stage companies that fall into one of six target sectors: life sciences technology; advanced manufacturing; homeland security; alternative energy technology; information technology; and agriculture. Companies must be based in Michigan. The fund focuses primarily on seed and early stage venture capital investments in life science technology companies. Visit the Michigan Accelerator Fund I website for more information.
Huron River Ventures (HRV) is an investment partnership headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The firm invests in seed-stage, energy technology, cleanweb, and smart transportation enterprises. HRV is ideally positioned to take advantage of the convergence of two significant trends: Global Energy Technology Growth and Michigan’s Economic Transition. As these trends converge, entrepreneurs and technologists are increasingly seeking early-stage capital and support to commercialize breakthrough technologies. HRV was established to meet this need. Visit the Huron River Ventures website for more information.
This 18-24 month program will allow up to 10 fellows in a three year period to be hired at the venture capital firms in Michigan to create opportunities for emerging leaders who want to stay or move back to Michigan to seek careers in venture capital.
Visit the Michigan Venture Fellows Program website for more information.
The Venture Fellows Program aims to increase the number of venture professionals in Michigan and accelerate fundraising and deployment of capital into early stage companies. Selected Venture Fellows are professionals who are early in their venture careers and are hired for two years by a Michigan-based venture firm, with the expectation that they will continue at the firm following the fellowship period. The candidates, who demonstrate a tie to Michigan and an interest in building a venture career here, are directly, involved with the venture fund’s portfolio companies. This program is managed by The Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA), a non-profit trade organization designed to bring together venture capital industry participants in the state of Michigan. The organization’s goal is to grow and sustain a vibrant venture capital community in Michigan.
In FY 2013, the Pure Michigan Venture Development Fund (PMVDF) was created to assist in the growth of the venture industry in Michigan by increasing the number of viable venture funds in the state. The program is designed to invest in first and second generation funds in Michigan for the primary purpose of increasing their ability to raise additional funds and become viable funds that will invest more money into Michigan's venture stage companies.
Invest Detroit Ventures (Detroit) manages an early-stage Detroit Innovate Fund focused on assisting in the commercialization efforts of new technologies, scaling sales, and supporting MI-based companies that have secured initial market traction. The Fund has a desire to be inclusive to businesses owned by women, immigrants, and minorities and businesses with high potential to employ women, immigrants, and minorities. The Fund will make initial investments $100,000 - $250,000 in Series Seed and Series A financings with follow-on capital available. For additional details and to apply, visit the venture team's website at www.investdetroit.vc/funds.
Detroit Venture Partners (Detroit) backs seed and early stage startup teams with the grit, creativity, and passion to tackle and mold opportunity. Looking for investment opportunities in these sectors: internet, digital media, marketing technology, direct-to-consumer, sports & entertainment, social media, e-commerce, software.
Michigan eLab (Ann Arbor) is a seed to early stage technology venture fund focused primarily on IT and life science/health care companies from the University of Michigan ecosystem (faculty, students, alumni, university research and research partner institutions).
Resonant Venture Partners (Ann Arbor) makes seed and early stage investments in companies developing cloud infrastructure, software and services. Resonant invests in companies that have technologies essential to the backbone of the cloud infrastructure. The “cloud” is comprised of a vast array of hardware, software and communications platforms operating together to allow content and service providers to reach their customers.
Red Cedar Ventures the venture investment arm of the Michigan State University Foundation, focuses on growing startup companies created by MSU faculty, staff, and students. Red Cedar Ventures manages two funds—a $3.5M Pre-Seed Fund and a $5M Opportunity Fund—and participates at any financing stage.
300 N. Washington Sq., Lansing, MI 48913