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Microsoft Ventures opens office in Madison Building

Microsoft Ventures is opening an office in the M@dison Building, but not just for the opportunity to invest in downtown Detroit’s most promising startups. Microsoft hopes to get those startups to use the software giant's technology.

The Madison Building quickly made a name for itself as the Motor City's premier tech hub when it opened its doors in late 2011. Since then, the newly renovated building has served as the home to a number of tech startups, venture capitalists, and angel investors. So many new economy entrepreneurs flocked to the structure that it expanded to include several adjacent buildings and rebranded itself as the Madison Block.

That activity got the attention of Microsoft.

"Our goal is to work with every single startup in the Madison," says Drew Costakis, director of the Microsoft Technology Center in Southfield. "Our plan is to meet with every single startup and see what their needs are."

Microsoft has an office in Southfield off the Lodge Freeway that employs 200 people. As part of its plan to work at the Madison Block, Microsoft Ventures will make its tech talent, coaching, and cloud computing/software services available to the entrepreneurs whose companies are housed there. To date, Microsoft has established 200 partnerships like this one in 100 cities around the world, assisting 85,000 startups in the last six years.

Microsoft Ventures' work in the M@dison Block will revolve around its partnership with Detroit Venture Partners. Dan Gilbert, chairman of the Quicken Loans, is one of the founding partners of Detroit Venture Partners, which has proven to be one of the most aggressive venture capital firms in Michigan. Microsoft Ventures plans to invest in startups from downtown Detroit as part of investments led by Detroit Venture Partners.

"We're using them as a partner," Costakis says. “They're doing all the hard work and evaluating the startups."

Source: Drew Costakis, director of Microsoft Technology Center
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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