Renaissance Venture Capital Fund closes fund III with $81M in new capital


Michigan-based Renaissance Venture Capital Fund announced last week the closing of its third fund, with $81 million in new capital.

Renaissance has raised a total of $205 million with its three funds since its beginnings in 2008, with funds I and II closed at $45 million and $79 million respectively.

Renaissance’s network fund is now the largest of its kind in the United States. It supports the growth of venture capital in Michigan while serving as a bridge between Michigan’s emerging innovation community and its traditionally strong industrial and commercial base.

The first-of-its-kind investment model was designed to profitably attract capital to Michigan. The company invests in top tier venture capital funds around the country, and brings them, as well as their capital, into Michigan’s startup ecosystem.

Renaissance further connects those funds and their startups with major companies looking for innovation, creating a “win-win-win” result for startups, major corporations and Michigan’s economy.

“Through our Renaissance Funds, we’ve created a unique vision for how financial capital could grow a new economy in Michigan, and how our expanding network can increase connectivity in that new economy,” said Chris Rizik, CEO and fund manager at Renaissance.

For every $1 Renaissance has deployed during its past nine years, it has helped attract $17 back into the state of Michigan, for a total of $1.3 billion.

Renaissance’s strategy of deploying capital into more than 30 top tier venture capital funds around the U.S. has resulted in the emergence of 39 Michigan startup companies, accounting for an always-growing workforce of 1,300 employees and average salaries exceeding $75,000.

“Our economy needs innovation and creative ideas to thrive, and those ideas need capital in order to emerge and find success,” said Gerry Anderson, CEO of DTE Energy. “DTE has invested in Renaissance because its network of capital goes beyond financial investment, with innovative programs that connect Michigan startups with a national network to help them scale quickly and efficiently.”

Renaissance is seen as a national leader regarding impact on its community, and the company’s financial returns beat national benchmarks for performance. The financial and regional success of Renaissance’s investment model has gained interest around the country.

With the help of a counsel from the Renaissance team, similar funds have emerged in Houston and Cincinnati. More are planned for the future and will grow a national network of funds.

Renaissance’s success has been in partnership with a diverse group of corporate investors such as DTE Energy, AAA Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Meijer, Barton Malow, Burns & Wilcox, and La-Z-Boy, among others. Renaissance also has several university, foundation and pension fund investors.

“Startups often possess the right model and offerings to capitalize on emerging trends, but lack the access to capital,” said Ryan Maibach, the CEO of Barton Malow. “Meanwhile, many corporations have capital but are looking for new ways to innovate in their industry. Renaissance brings together the best from both worlds, in order to bring to market innovations that help its corporate partners and that create new growth opportunities for the region.”