Fund Facts: Chris Rizik, Renaissance Venture Capital

Courtney Overbey

Friday, August 28, 2020

On this episode of Fund Facts—a video series focused on venture capitalists, angel investors and other funders critical to Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem—we connect with Chris Rizik, CEO and fund manager of Renaissance Venture Capital.

By focusing on Michigan’s startup community, Renaissance Venture Capital is increasing entrepreneurial activity throughout the state and introducing startups to potential partners. Renaissance Venture Capital works with seed and angel funds, universities and accelerators across the state to identify early stage companies that have potential for growth. The organization has helped attract more than $1.7 billion of investments to promising young companies, curating hundreds of connections between Michigan startups and venture capital funds from around the country. Further, Renaissance facilitates over 1000 connections each year between startups and major corporations looking for innovative partners. Through investments and business guidance, Renaissance Venture Capital is continuing to help drive both financial returns and regional growth to startups across the state.

In this video, Chris sits down with the MEDC to discuss how Renaissance Venture Capital identifies promising startups and shares key questions investors ask themselves before making a funding commitment, among other key takeaways. Some of these include:

  • Each year, Renaissance Venture Capital creates what it dubs “The Hot List,” identifying startups that it will help connect with venture capital funds from around the country. To create the list, Renaissance Venture Capitalist works with about 30 universities, angel investors, accelerators and other organizations in the state to identify the 50 most promising startup companies in the state that need capital to take their concept to the next level.
  • To further support the state’s startups, Chris and his team advise startups on their business plans and how to position themselves to raise capital.
  • Every entrepreneur planning to start a company needs to make sure their innovation solves a problem. In order to get the attention of investors, Chris shared three of the biggest questions investors ask themselves when approaching a startup:
    • Does this technology work, and can it be turned into a product?
    • Are these the right people to advance this product and company?
    • Is there a need and a market for this product?

If you have a high-tech startup idea you’d like to explore further and don’t know where to start, contact the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Initiative at 888-522-0103 or visit

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