Michigan Innovate Capital Fund Program

The Michigan Innovate Capital Fund (MICF) Program will award incentives to multiple non-profit organizations that operate fund programs to invest in pre-seed and start-up stage competitive edge technologies that require capital in the earliest stages of the commercialization process.

Program Information

The primary objectives of the Michigan Innovate Capital Fund Program are to:

  • Increase the amount of capital being invested in Michigan-based competitive edge technology companies that are in the earliest stages of commercialization
  • Create a capital climate that supports the development, retention, and attraction of venture-backed competitive edge technology companies in Michigan; and
  • Build a pipeline of high-growth, competitive edge technology company deal flow for the subsequent stages of funding, attracting investments from inside and outside the State of Michigan.

The MSF created the MICF to provide awards to eligible non-profit organizations that will be used to make investments in pre-seed and early-stage companies in accordance with the Investment Criteria set forth below. The MSF intends to award multiple awards through two tracks under the MICF:

  1. A track for Eligible Applicants (eligibility requirements as defined below) that have previously received financial support from the MSF or Michigan Economic Development Corporation ("MEDC”) for pre-seed fund activities (“Established Applicants”)
  2. A track for Eligible Applicants that have not previously received financial support from the MSF or MEDC for pre-seed fund activities (“Emerging Applicants”).

Both Established Applicants and Emerging Applicants are eligible to receive initial awards of up to $5,000,000 with the option to increase the award amount during the term of the award, subject to available funding and approval of the MSF.

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants to the MICF must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be a Michigan nonprofit corporation, properly registered and in good standing with the State of Michigan.
  • Maintain a physical presence in Michigan, which may include a facility that is either owned or leased by the applicant.
  • Demonstrate an ability and willingness to invest in the earliest (pre-seed) stages of a company’s development, particularly in competitive edge technology-based companies with high growth potential in the very early phases of commercialization.

Additional Eligibility Requirements

Track 1: Established Applicants
In addition to the Eligibility Requirements listed above, Established Applicants MUST meet the following additional eligibility criteria:

  • Be a nonprofit entity that has previously received financial support from the MSF or MEDC for pre-seed and/or first capital fund activities.
  • Have a successful track record making and exiting from investments in Michigan-based entrepreneurial ventures.
    Actively deploy capital exclusively in the State of Michigan and provide mentorship support to portfolio companies.
  • Align the objectives of the Fund with the MEDC’s Strategic Plan.

Track 2: Emerging Applicants
In addition to the Eligibility Requirements listed above, Emerging Applicants MUST meet the following additional eligibility criteria:

  • Be established by a nonprofit entity that has not received previous MSF or MEDC funding in the pre-seed investment area.
  • Focus on industries that have strategic benefits regionally and to the State of Michigan.
  • Deploy capital exclusively in the State of Michigan.
  • Be able to show how this Fund will create jobs and commercialize product(s) within one or more of the competitive edge technology sectors where Michigan has a distinct competitive advantage to drive sustained, long-term growth as well as tools and sustainment programs in sectors that drive regional impact.

Preference will be given to fund(s) based in underserved locations and that clearly address the funding gap in underrepresented industries.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications for funding under the MICF will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Ability to originate, process, and monitor equity investments, loans, and other funding instruments to companies.
  • Strategy and/or prior experience in providing portfolio or grant management to companies that receive a pre-seed investment.
  • Prior record of statewide reach and collaboration with the existing MEDC SmartZone network and Michigan institutions of higher education.
  • Articulated strategy for identification of opportunities for investment into early-stage, competitive edge technology.
  • Ability to provide business acceleration services to companies.
  • Knowledge and experience with Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, strong relationships within the ecosystem, and a platform for collaboration that demonstrates an ability to market and promote Michigan entrepreneurial programs and services in order to expand the investment base in Michigan.
  • Experience leveraging a qualified volunteer network to deliver a screening and due diligence process from the investment community with successful experience in venture financing or growing competitive edge technology companies.
  • Applicant’s plan for supporting companies with activities that include, but are not limited to, prototype development and testing, customer and partnership sourcing, continued pre-clinical data compilation, achieving staffing requirements, and securing following on funding through a variety of sources.

MICF Award Terms & Conditions and Investment Criteria

For information on award Terms & Conditions as well as Investment Criteria, please review the Program Guidelines Document.

Application Submittal

Applications will be accepted until the budget is exhausted. To be considered, each Applicant must submit a COMPLETE application using the format specified in the Application Process Document.

Submit separately marked electronic versions of your Proposal to the MSF via email to [email protected]. Proposals will not be accepted via U.S. Mail or any other delivery method.


Frequently Asked Questions 

For more information about the program, please review the Frequently Asked Questions Document