Welcome to Michigan eLab
founded by a team of passionate entrepreneurs and investors with ties to the University of Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem
venture industry veterans with demonstrated commitments to the Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem
located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor just two blocks West of the University of Michigan campus
The universities of Michigan and their partners inside and outside the State of Michigan are hard at work creating a world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Detroit and throughout the State of Michigan. The rapidly expanding entrepreneurship programs at UM, for example, and the spinouts from the $1.3 billion dollars of annual research expenditures are creating the seeds for disruptive innovation and business models that are truly unique in the world. This entrepreneurial ecosystem has experienced dramatic growth in the past five years and an unprecedented opportunity now exists to accelerate the creation of world-class startups in the ecosystem.
Michigan eLab is a technology venture capital fund created to capitalize on this growth of entrepreneurial activity and will seek startups with disruptive innovations, exceptional teams, and capital efficient business models that have the potential to serve large markets. Michigan eLab is strategically based both in Ann Arbor, to leverage innovation and talent, and in Silicon Valley, to leverage customers, business development, funding sources and a strong network of experienced advisors (our coaches). Michigan eLab’s mission is to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem by bridging valuable but scarce resources from the Valley to local entrepreneurs in Michigan. We are passionate about Michigan and nurturing world-changing ideas by connecting entrepreneurs to capital and expertise needed to build great, disruptive companies!
Similar to an accelerator, Michigan eLab will make small seed investments in early stage companies (typically $25,000 – $100,000) in return for equity. Unlike an accelerator, however, Michigan eLab does not fund companies in batches but instead takes a more focused strategy of working closely with our startup companies and will invest additional capital and lead Series A and Series B investment rounds. Additionally, we don’t restrict our involvement with startups to three months but instead we work side-by-side with startups given each of our deep operating and investment experience, as well as, leverage our customer, coaches and entrepreneurial network to bring the right connections to companies at the right time.
We believe “the team” is the most important aspect of a successful startup company and Michigan eLab partners and coaches will work with your company to help you put together the right team so you can nail product-market fit and make your first customers insanely successful (both critical for your success and for attracting additional financing).
Michigan eLab has experience in building strong investment syndicates with world class investors. We lead Series A investments either with companies that have already matured into Series A or those companies that have accelerated with eLab as part of the founding team.
Parallels between entrepreneurism in Michigan and Silicon Valley where the region that launched the automobile industry reinvents itself. Is Detroit the new San Francisco?
Michigan eLab Founder Rick Bolander is venture capital investor and director of Kajeet, a wireless service provider focused on education and child-friendly products. Detroit Public Schools use Kajeet to connect students who don’t have Internet access from home.
Michigan eLab invests in Michigan Startups. MVCA
Sandra Ali and Karen Drew of WDIV Detroit interview Michigan eLab coach David Tarver. 30 Years Ago Today
Michigan eLab was founded by a team of passionate entrepreneurs and investors with ties to the University of Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem and successful track records in venture capital and creating disruptive startups. Located strategically in both Ann Arbor and Silicon Valley, Michigan eLab’s mission is to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem by bridging valuable but scarce resources from the Valley to local entrepreneurs in Michigan.
Unlike an incubator or accelerator, Michigan eLab is a full venture capital fund that can support a startup beyond the seed round and all the way through to final liquidity. eLab also provides formal training in entrepreneurship and shared resources to improve capital efficiency for young companies. In addition to its experienced partners and staff, eLab has a committed network of
technology commercialization experts who are passionate about Michigan and have agreed to be coaches for aspiring new Michigan eLab startup companies. Michigan eLab is built on the basic premise that expanding the reach to customers, capital, and liquidity through this network can increase the pace of growth and greatly improve the chances of success for new companies.
The Partners of Michigan eLab are venture industry veterans with demonstrated commitments to the Michigan entrepreneurial ecosystem. Rick and Bob are University of Michigan alums with active involvement in the Schools of Engineering and Law. Doug was previously the Executive Director of the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship from 2009 to 2013. Scott has successfully spent the last 12 years in venture capital focused on spinning innovations out of university research and is a Michigan I-Corps instructor. Paul Brown recently joined Michigan eLab and was previously Vice President of CAPITAL MARKETS at the Michigan
Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), where he managed the bulk of the State’s $2 billion 21st Century Jobs Fund. The Michigan eLab Advisory Board is comprised of Michigan leaders committed to building leading companies leveraging the talent, innovation and customers in Michigan and Silicon Valley. Each of them have led business formation, technology development and built the Michigan ecosystem. The Michigan eLab Advisory board members, Ira Jaffe, Dave Munson and Dan Rhodes, provide guidance and insights to the partner team to build the next generation of innovative bushiness leaders.
San Mateo, CA
Ann Arbor, MI
San Mateo, CA
Ann Arbor, MI
Palo Alto, CA
Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor, MI
The coaches working with the eLab are both University of Michigan alums and a world-class group of successful technologists and business people dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship within the university and Ann Arbor ecosystem.
Former CEO, Napster; Former VC, Hummer Winblad; Partner, Sidley Austin;
San Francisco, CA
Is the eLab a venture fund or an incubator? Can companies that did not incubate with the eLab receive funding from the eLab? Is the eLab only open to graduates of the University of Michigan? How do I apply to get resources and funding from the eLab?
Q. Is the eLab a venture fund or an incubator?
A. The eLab is primarily a venture capital fund although it does have shared office and mentorship resources like incubators. Most incubators are essentially real estate or consulting businesses that only provide a small amount of seed capital and/or in kind services. In contrast, the Michigan eLab can provide capital funding through all rounds of growth for a startup company and does not charge for rent or business advice.
Q. Can companies that did not incubate with the eLab receive funding from the eLab?
A. Yes, the eLab is primarily a venture capital fund
Q. Is the eLab only open to graduates of the University of Michigan?
A. No, the eLab is open to any startup company with a significant operating presence within Michigan.
Q. How do I apply to get resources and funding from the eLab?
A. You can start by emailing us a business proposal. PowerPoint is the preferred format. If there is interest in your proposal, we will contact you for a meeting and take the rest from there.
The Michigan eLab is located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor just two blocks West of the University of Michigan campus. Being within walking distance of public transportation, amazing restaurants and that largest public research university in the country, this location represents an ideal place
to work and network.
Our facility can provide temporary office space for multiple startup companies at a time with high speed Internet, conference rooms, and a fun and energetic atmosphere.
We also maintain a business development office in the heart of Silicon Valley that maintains relationships with strategic partners and venture capital resources. eLab companies are welcome to leverage either facility for their business needs.