Venture Michigan Fund I to Begin Investing $200 Million in Michigan's Future

Contact: Heidi Watson 517-335-6397

August 28, 2006

Will grow 21st century jobs, increase venture capital

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that the Venture Michigan Fund I (VMF I) is now open to invest in venture capital funds focused on growing early stage technology companies in Michigan. The fund has reached its goal of raising $200 million. Distribution of the funds will target Michigan technology start-up companies that need access to venture capital to become successful job-producing businesses.

“This fund opens doors to good-paying jobs for the future and puts Michigan far ahead of all other states in our support for development of new tech companies,” Granholm said.  “Venture capital is vital to the growth of start-up technology businesses needed to diversify our economic base.”

Granholm first called for a new source of start-up funding for new businesses and entrepreneurs in her 2004 State of the State address with the following goals:  to grow and develop the venture capital community in Michigan and to grow technology firms in Michigan so we can develop 21st century jobs.

The VMF I will focus on venture capital funds that have a presence in Michigan and that target investments in Michigan-based start-up companies engaged in research, technology, and new product development.  Investments will benefit a variety of emerging technologies targeted by the governor’s 21st Century Jobs Fund, including advanced manufacturing and industrial technology, alternative energy, health care and the life sciences, homeland security and defense, and information technology. 

The Venture Michigan Fund I was established by the Venture Michigan Fund (VMF) board to supply capital for distribution by qualified venture capital funds in Michigan.

“The Venture Michigan Fund will play a dramatic role in strengthening Michigan’s capital markets and putting money to work to grow entrepreneurial companies,” said VMF Board President Thomas C. Kinnear. “We believe this fund will help accelerate the growth of venture capital in Michigan and will be a key resource in the transformation of Michigan’s economy.”

Credit Suisse was selected to manage VMF I and to structure its financing, which is supported by state tax vouchers.

“Credit Suisse is delighted to have been able to structure and execute this innovative financing for the state of Michigan, which is an extremely important client to us,” said Credit Suisse’s Customized Fund Investment Group Managing Director and Co-Head Kelly Williams.  “We believe that there are great opportunities for successful investing in Michigan.”

Credit Suisse has opened an office in Michigan staffed by Bob Payne, a respected veteran of the venture capital industry.  Fund managers will be selected to receive capital from VMF I through a competitive process.  Interested venture capital fund managers can access the application from the VMF website at www.venturemichiganfund.org .  Credit Suisse anticipates making the VMF I’s first commitments in the fourth quarter of 2006.

“The Venture Michigan Fund board has done an outstanding job steering this innovative program forward,” said Jan Garfinkle, president of the Michigan Venture Capital Association and Managing Partner of Arboretum Ventures.  “I believe the VMF I will have significant impact in stimulating entrepreneurial company development in Michigan for many years.”

The Venture Michigan Fund, a Michigan nonprofit corporation, promotes Michigan’s economic health by fostering job creation, retention, and expansion through the promotion of investment in venture capital funds specializing in early stage and seed investments. For more information, visit the VMF website at www.venturemichiganfund.org .

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