Venture fund for underrepresented founders of Michigan tech firms receives $50K grant

What’s happening: Black, Latinx, Native American, and immigrant founders of new Michigan-based technology companies have a better opportunity to access capital and mentorship, this thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Revolve Fund, which was awarded to Invest Detroit Ventures in support of the organization’s FAM Program. The FAM (Funding, Access, and Mentorship) Program exists to aid underrepresented founders in preparing for their next round of investment.

Who’s eligible: Michigan-based tech companies with Black, Latinx, Native American and/or immigrant founders and founding teams can apply for the FAM Program. Those companies should be in the post-idea to early-MVP (Minimal Viable Product) stages, able to achieve proof-of-concept or early- demonstration with less than $25,000, and open to venture capital funding investment structure and future rounds of venture capital.

A growing FAMily: The grant from the Revolve Fund, a national organization, is the first external investment for the FAM Program. Invest Detroit Ventures (IDV), which itself was created by the Detroit-based nonprofit Invest Detroit, hopes to double the number of companies it funds with FAM, from three in 2021 to six this year.

How it works: FAM participants will receive investments that range from $10,000 to $25,000 and gain a mentor from within the IDV team, who will support the companies as they create and vie for agreed-upon milestones, provide access to key resources and connections, and prepare for the next phase of growth.

Why it’s important: “The FAM Program doubles down on our efforts across all of our funds to improve the odds for founders who have historic and systemic barriers to finding the capital they need to advance,” says Patti Glaza, managing director of Invest Detroit Ventures. “We believe that founders of all backgrounds should have an opportunity to contribute to Michigan’s thriving startup ecosystem. With a dedicated capital source like the FAM Program, we can help fill the friends and family financing gap these founders need at the earliest, most vulnerable startup stage and prepare them for future funding rounds.”

How to apply: Interested parties can visit Invest Detroit Ventures online to fill out an application and access more information about the application process itself.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.