Sidewalk Ventures aims to connect Detroit’s entrepreneurs with investors

Jeff Aronoff worked for three years as the executive director of D:hive, the downtown Detroit-based nonprofit that, among other things, helped aspiring entrepreneurs realize their dreams and small businesses grow. That experience led him to his new venture, Sidewalk Ventures.

"I really discovered that there are a lot of entrepreneurs who are successful and have great products and revenues but still have difficulty finding access to money," Aronoff says.

Sidewalk Ventures aims to bridge that gap by helping local businesses leverage community-based investment. The 3-week-old company essentially pairs Detroit-based entrepreneurs and small businesses with local investors so the companies can grow and provide a smart profit to their backers.

The Midtown-based company will focus primarily on helping local retail businesses, but it is also looking to work with food companies and small-scale manufacturers. It will aim to help entrepreneurs raise anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million.

"Our sweet spot is $100,000 to $500,000," Aronoff says.

Sidewalk Ventures is already working with a handful of Detroit-based companies, and Aronoff expects that number to grow significantly as the year goes on and his firm establishes itself.

"Our goal is to start fundraising and close a deal by the end of the first quarter," Aronoff says.

Source: Jeff Aronoff, founder & principal of Sidewalk Ventures
Writer: Jon Zemke

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