Wednesday, 27 July, 2011 3:20 AM
'Magic' Johnson Joins Detroit Venture Partners
Entrepreneur and NBA Hall of Famer to join venture capital firm
launching tech companies in Detroit
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
is a photo of Earvin "Magic" Johnson as he addressed
graduates at Michigan State University on Dec. 11, 2010.
He also spoke on Thursday inside the Compuware Building.
DETROIT -- Earvin
"Magic" Johnson, Hall of Fame NBA star, philanthropist
and entrepreneur, announced today he will join Detroit Venture Partners
(DVP) as a general partner. DVP is a Detroit-based venture capital
firm that invests in seed and early-stage technology companies primarily
located in the heart of downtown Detroit. Mr. Johnson will also
be investing millions of dollars into the fund.
Launched in 2010 by entrepreneurs
Josh Linker, Founder & Chairman of ePrize; Dan Gilbert, Founder
& Chairman of Quicken Loans and Majority Owner of the NBA's
Cleveland Cavaliers; and Brian Hermelin, Founder & Chairman
of the private equity firm Rockbridge Growth Equity, Detroit Venture
Partners finances and lends operational expertise to budding entrepreneurs
who bring high-potential business opportunities.
Magic, a Lansing, Michigan
native who played basketball for Michigan State University before
being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, said:
"I am investing
in Detroit Venture Partners and the City of Detroit because I want
to have a positive impact on the biggest downtown in my home state.
I believe strongly in the Detroit 2.0 movement and creating opportunities
to help people get back to work.
"Dan, Josh and Brian
share my core values and are approaching their venture investing
with the 'hands on' style I am familiar with because that is how
I do business," added Johnson.
DVP is well on its way,
already investing in six of the 12 companies it expects to fund
in 2011. In the next several years, DVP plans to impact Detroit
by investing in early stage companies who are expected to create
numerous jobs, bring significant economic activity and occupy substantial
amounts of office space in downtown Detroit.
"Earvin brings so
much to the DVP team - entrepreneurial experience, a passion for
Detroit and Michigan, additional capital to fund businesses, and
the well-respected Magic brand," said Linkner, CEO and Managing
Partner of DVP.
"There is absolutely
nothing more important than transforming Detroit to an exciting
place for young, eager, wealth-creating entrepreneurs to embark
on their business journeys," said Gilbert. "More and more
great people, investors and businesses are joining the initiative
to build something very special downtown every single day. And Magic's
involvement will only accelerate this process further and faster."
DVP, along with some
of the businesses it invests in, will be located in Gilbert's downtown
Detroit Madison Theatre Building, which is currently being transformed
into a hub where tech and creative companies can collaborate and
DVP is "all digital"
- with investments exclusively in the areas of digital media, software,
cloud computing, e-commerce, marketing technology, mobile apps,
internet and social.
The company's investments
- FLUD, a news-reader
application for iPad, iPhone, and Android devices based in San
Diego, California, and soon to launch a business development office
- Hired My Way, a Birmingham,
Michigan, company that better connects job seekers and employers
- Are You a Human?,
a Detroit-based business providing a better alternative to the
difficult-to-read internet form "CAPTCHA"
- Detroit Labs, building
Web, iOS, and Android applications for businesses ranging from
local start-ups to Fortune 500 Companies, with offices in Detroit
- Gumshoe, based in
Detroit, is an alternative reality game of Clue right in your
back pocket where players compete against friends and a community
of sleuths to solve mysteries
- Favers, a Detroit
company providing a social shopping platform for specialty retailers
where consumers can share the products they "like" plus
"follow their faves" to get instant product updates.
In addition to DVP, the
real estate arm of Magic Johnson Enterprises is in talks with Gilbert's
real estate partnership, Bedrock Real Estate Services, exploring
potential investments in downtown Detroit real estate.
Detroit Venture Partners
is a venture capital firm that invests in seed and early-stage technology
companies with a strong emphasis on Detroit-based startups. In addition
to capital, the company provides hands-on coaching, mentorship,
support, and resources to help drive growth and success. Founded
in 2010 by Josh Linkner, Dan Gilbert and Brian Hermelin, the firm
aims to create jobs, urban density, and hope by backing the next
generation of Detroit entrepreneurs.
Source: Detroit Venture
Johnson speaks about the power of brands at Multicultural Media
Luncheon during NAIAS