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Renaissance Venture Capital Raises 2nd Fund, Passes $100 Million Mark

ANN ARBOR -- The Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, the venture capital fund-of-funds formed by Business Leaders for Michigan, Monday announced formation of a second fund with initial capital of $60 million, growing the RCVF to over $100 million.

When launched in 2008, the RCVF's Renaissance I was the first fund of its kind in the United States. Its $45 million was invested in 10 venture capital funds from around the nation under the condition that they actively look at Michigan opportunities. The investments to date by RCVF have led to venture capital firm investments of 15 times that amount into Michigan companies and the creation of over 200 jobs.

"Venture capital has been one of the principal drivers of economic growth around the nation," said Chris Rizik, CEO of RCVF.  "Venture capital-backed companies, as a whole, grow 50 percent faster than other companies and hire employees at eight times the national average. Michigan has the research and talent base to create these fast-growing new companies and the associated high paying jobs. RVCF marries these strengths with new capital and a network of collaboration between young companies, venture capital funds and many of Michigan's largest companies, which will lead to more innovative new companies and employment in the state."

Added Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan: "This fund demonstrates the commitment of Michigan's largest employers to growing jobs in our state by providing capital to new, innovative companies. It is making a real difference in making Michigan more attractive to entrepreneurs and growing innovation."

The financial and regional growth successes of Renaissance I led to interest around the nation in this new model of investment. It has also laid the foundation for the larger Renaissance II, which includes a diverse group of investors such as DTE Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Meijer Inc. and La-Z-Boy, as well as Wayne State University and three important Michigan foundations: the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the McGregor Fund.

Mark Heesen, President of the National Venture Capital Association, remarked that the Renaissance strategy "has been extremely positive for the state of Michigan which, like many states, has the right components for a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem but does not yet have the level of indigenous capital to grow to its full potential."

Added Heesen, "Renaissance has quickly and effectively demonstrated an approach which accelerates the process. Other states would be wise to carefully review the Michigan model when looking to attract venture investors to their region."

The Renaissance Venture Capital Fund is a fund of funds that supports the growth of venture capital in Michigan while serving as a bridge between Michigan's emerging innovation company community and its strong industrial and commercial base. Formed in association with Business Leaders for Michigan and with its initial support and investment from some of Michigan's most important organizations, Renaissance has grown to more than $100 million.

Through its investment in top tier venture firms that are active in Michigan, as well as its own co-investments in emerging Michigan companies, the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund is helping to drive forward both innovation and growth of emerging companies in the region. And it is again proving that Michigan, with its unique combination of scientific, engineering and business talent, is a great place in which to invest.

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