21st Century Investment Fund Invests in RPM Ventures II, LP to Spur High-Tech Job Growth

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Investment will support state’s diversification efforts

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James C. Epolito today announced Michigan Strategic Fund board approval of an investment of up to $3.75 million through the Michigan21st Century Investment Fund in the new RPM Ventures II, LP venture capital fund. The fund will focus on investments in information technology, alternative energy and other technology-based companies in the Midwest as well as high-tech firms spun out from universities.  

“Providing funding for high-tech Michigan companies and leveraging the cutting-edge technology coming out of our state’s excellent universities is part of our state’s strategy to grow the economy and create jobs,” Granholm said.  

Managed by Marc Weiser and Tony Grover, Ann Arbor-based RPM, formerly known as Waypoint Ventures, has operated in Michigan since 2000. They have a strong network of close relationships with universities, research institutions and companies in Michigan. Approximately one-third of RPM’s deals are first round spin outs from universities including the University of Michigan.

Weiser and Grover sit on a variety of boards and committees that support venture capital in the state. RPM created the Michigan Alumni Venture Partners Network and sponsored the University of Michigan Cleantech Conference. RPM has shown a commitment to building and growing technology companies in Michigan. To date, Weiser and Grover have invested $2.4 million in eight Michigan-based companies and RPM has yielded the only University of Michigan venture-backed information technology spin out in the last three years.

“This new fund with experienced principals connected with Michigan’s university, research and business communities will support our efforts to create and grow new high-tech companies and good-paying jobs in Michigan,” said Epolito, the chair of the MSF board.

The 21st Century Investment Fund is a major component of Governor Granholm’s 21st Century Jobs Fund, a $2-billion, 10-year initiative to diversify the state’s economy and grow high-tech companies and jobs. Commitments through the fund can only be invested in companies that have a strong Michigan presence. The program is focused on generating strong returns while creating and retaining Michigan jobs. Including this investment, the MSF has authorized up to $58.75 million of investments in venture capital, mezzanine, and private equity funds through the 21st Century Investment Fund.

"Credit Suisse is excited to support a dynamic local fund manager such as RPMVentures,” said Kelly Williams, co-head and managing director of Credit Suisse’s Customized Fund Investment Group. “The team has built close relationships with universities, research institutions and companies in Michigan and will continue to employ an investment strategy that supports the state’s entrepreneurs and high technology businesses.”

The $109-million 21st Century Investment Fund seeks to strengthen and diversify Michigan’s economic base by fostering the creation and growth of new jobs, new businesses, and new industries within the state through investments in private equity, venture capital and mezzanine funds, as well as potential co-investments in individual companies alongside these funds. The Michigan Strategic Fund contracts with Credit Suisse to develop and administer investment programs under the Michigan 21stCentury Investment Fund. More information is available at www.michigan21stcenturyinvestmentfund.com.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.