Foundation research

Gilbert Family Foundation Launches $10 Million Venture 313 Program

Detroit entrepreneurs will now have the opportunity to participate in the Gilbert Family Foundation’s $10 million Venture 313 program. // Image bank

The Gilbert Family Foundation in Detroit today launched Venture 313, a three-year, $10 million commitment designed to help realize the city’s entrepreneurial potential and provide Detroit-based founders with more opportunities to participate. to the innovation economy.

“Venture 313 is a year-round, catalytic initiative that will provide Detroit-based entrepreneurs with access to the capital, mentorship and other supports they need to grow their business and achieve greater economic mobility for themselves. and their community,” says Jennifer Gilbert, co-founder of the Gilbert Family Foundation.

“In the nation’s largest black majority city, we are thrilled to work alongside such dedicated partners to help bridge the venture capital gap that sees only 1% of funds going to black founders.”

The engagement includes a mix of direct investments in startups, a web-based platform that provides guidance to entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey, innovative programming, and more.

The $10 million will be directed to partner organizations that will work with the Gilbert Family Foundation to invest directly in small business owners and develop programs to achieve Venture 313’s goals. In addition to increasing access to direct capital, Venture 313 seeks to simplify the entrepreneurial ecosystem by connecting multiple partners through a common platform.

Venture 313 founding partners include Invest Detroit, TechTown Detroit and the Detroit Development Fund.

Through partners, Venture 313 will invest between $500 and $250,000 in Detroit businesses through a combination of grants and capital investments, depending on each business’s size, location and needs.

Invest Detroit, a community development financial institution, mission-driven lender, and investor that supports Detroit businesses, will seek enterprise-ready or high-growth startups looking to scale. Selected companies will receive equity-like investments between $25,000 and $250,000. Invest Detroit staff will also provide coaching and other programs to help entrepreneurs achieve long-term success.

“ID Ventures is thrilled to partner with Venture 313,” said Martin Dober, senior vice president and managing director of ID Ventures, Invest Detroit’s venture capital team. “ID Ventures is committed to breaking down barriers and helping Detroiters turn their big ideas into venture-backed businesses and appreciates the Gilbert Family Foundation’s support of inclusive entrepreneurship in Detroit.”

TechTown Detroit, a nonprofit organization that provides programs, education, and resources for small businesses and early-stage and growth-stage technology entrepreneurs, will invest in small businesses primarily looking to move from ideation to creation of a minimum viable product (MVP). TechTown will provide grants ranging from $500 to $25,000, as well as ongoing support and coaching to entrepreneurs looking to maintain their presence in the market.

“It’s critical that we give founders the resources they need to turn a passion into a product and continue to invest in their entrepreneurial journey,” said Ned Staebler, Vice President of Economic Development at Wayne State University and Chief Executive Officer. general of TechTown. Detroit.

“The only way to achieve real, sustainable economic development is to invest on Main Street, and we’re thrilled to join the Gilbert Family Foundation and Venture 313 in supporting Detroit’s next generation of startups.”

The Detroit Development Fund provides loans and technical assistance to small business owners who cannot obtain all the capital they need from traditional financing sources.

Entrepreneurs piloting new models, seeking to enter industries in which Detroiters and minority founders are underrepresented, or otherwise do not fit the mold of traditional venture capital, will receive support from the Detroit Development Fund in the form of working capital, lines of credit, and other loans from $25,000 to $250,000.

“As a lender, we look at all aspects of a business when analyzing its potential, but often prioritize future growth over finances and big ideas over balance sheets,” said Ray Waters, president of the Detroit Development Fund. “We are thrilled to be a founding partner of Venture 313 and to collaborate with organizations like the Gilbert Family Foundation who, like us, understand that dreams are worth investing in.”

Together, these three founding partners will work to grow and simplify Detroit’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by demystifying the startup journey, aligning capital, mentoring founders, and improving the ability of Detroit startups to create new things. and win over customers.

To secure funding, as well as participate in the unique programming and networking opportunities, interested entrepreneurs can visit Venture313.comwhich was developed in collaboration with

Users will be able to create an account, build their user profile and complete their trip planner. This trip planner will provide entrepreneurs with a playbook specially tailored to their needs.

Playbooks, built by the Gilbert Family Foundation and founding partners, will empower entrepreneurs to engage in all facets of growing their business. This includes instructions on conducting market research, conducting competitive analysis, building an MVP, securing loans and other funding, preparing for demo calls, and more.

The playbook will also direct entrepreneurs to the partner who can best meet their needs and provide them with funding.

The next phase of the website, which will be rolled out by the end of the year, will allow small business owners to request mentors, invite team members and access important components and tools commercial.

“The venture capital world can be like a secret club, with its own set of rules and its own language. A business as usual approach won’t provide Detroit founders with the tools or funding they need to get in the game,” says James Feagin, director of economic mobility for the Gilbert Family Foundation.

“We need to be as disruptive and nimble as the businesses we seek to support, and these playbooks and other resources will enable us to make Venture 313 a catalytic platform that truly opens the door for entrepreneurs in Detroit.”

Venture 313 is the successor to Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day, an annual entrepreneurship competition that invests more than $1 million each year in businesses of various categories.

The Rocket Community Fund, the philanthropic partner of Detroit’s Rocket Cos., commissioned a study from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to understand the economic impact of Detroit Demo Day, which invested more than $5 million across five iterations of the event at dozens of Detroit businesses.

More than half of past winners of the event (28 out of 50) took part in the study, which was published today. The study found that participating Detroit Demo Day winners supported 531 jobs, contributed $15.8 million in labor income and $23.8 million in added value in 2021.

Of the 28 businesses surveyed, 18 (64%) are minority-owned, half are women-owned, and represent more than 17 ZIP codes in the city of Detroit. They combined over $20 million in revenue in 2021 across 26 unique industries.

“We are so proud of everything Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day has been able to accomplish in its five years. Today’s report confirms the impact of our investments on participating companies, their team members and our communities,” said Laura Grannemann, Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund and Executive Director of the Gilbert Family Foundation.

“Venture 313 doubles down on this approach by leveraging what we learned at a one-day event and creating year-round opportunities for entrepreneurs to receive capital and other resources.”