Vice President, Detroit Venture Partners
M@dison Building, Detroit
How does visibility and exchanging ideas out in the open impact entrepreneurship?
Solving problems in the open, as a general rule, is better than doing it in a bubble or a silo. Saying things out loud, getting feedback, seeing what other people are doing-- these behaviors lead to better solutions.
Henry Balanon at Detroit Labs told me his company got started because of a chance meeting with Josh Linkner at a coffee shop. Do start-ups and early investors need that sort of opportunity for serendipity to thrive?
For a startup, small opportunities often become big opportunities. Adding to that, as a startup you may not know enough to seek out all of the opportunities available to you. Putting yourself in an environment where you can capitalize on opportunities that you are not explicitly seeking out but that might present themselves through serendipity can be a game changer.
DVP averages an investment every month or two but the M@dison is at 100 percent occupancy. Where are DVP's future start-up investments going to set up shop?
For now we are busting at the seams here, but in the next six months there will be space up and down Woodward for DVP companies, for Bizdom companies, and for the much broader startup community.
How far away are we from seeing profitable exits from M@dison Building start-ups?
For now, we are focused on building great companies, over time the exits will take care of themselves.
What do you think the section of downtown Detroit around the M@dison Building will look like three years from now?
The Broderick Town opens in September next door (I'll be moving in, as a matter of fact), with restaurants and bars in the retail space. There are 4 buildings on this block of woodward that Bedrock is in the process of totally transforming, which will be full of retail and small businesses much sooner than three years time. Within three years we will have the Whitney across the street with a hotel, residential, and more restaurants. In short, it's obvious that it will look incredibly different, and those who haven't been paying close attention are going to be pretty blown away by the transformation.