Renaissance Venture Capital closes USD77.5m fourth fund

Renaissance Venture Capital has closed its fourth fund with USD77.5 million of new capital.  

Since it opened in 2008, Renaissance has raised over USD280 million, making it the largest "fund of funds" of its kind in the United States. Renaissance has become a role model for similar funds that have emerged in Cincinnati, Houston, and most recently Wisconsin.

Renaissance invests in top-tier venture capital funds around the county, bringing them into Michigan's vibrant startup ecosystem. It then connects those funds and their startups with major organisations looking for innovation. Startup companies are the life blood of a growing economy, and Renaissance uses its unique role to help startups connect with both potential investors and major customers.

As in the earlier funds, investors in the fourth Renaissance fund include a mix of corporate, foundation, institutional and family office partners.

"Through our Renaissance Funds, we've created a model that shows how a combination of capital and connectivity can grow the innovation economy in places like Michigan, and how by connecting innovators, investors and potential major customers, we can benefit all three groups as well as the region," says Chris Rizik, CEO and fund manager at Renaissance.  "I'm especially proud of Renaissance IV, because we did most of our fundraising during the uncertain days of 2020. Even with the pandemic, our investors still valued the innovation we brought and wanted to be part of our work going forward."

Renaissance Venture Capital has consistently focused on attracting capital to Michigan. To date, Renaissance has helped attract over USD2 billion to Michigan startup companies, or over USD13 for every USD1 it has invested, creating important high-paying jobs (average wage of more than USD80,000) in the process.

"We are pleased to be an investor in a fund like Renaissance that has supported innovation in areas such as health, security and technology," says Anthony Stefani, a director in the CFO office at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. "It also has enabled Michigan start-ups to play a bigger role in these economic sectors."

One of the most important Renaissance Venture Capital activities is its semi-annual UnDemo Day, designed to attract capital from all over the nation into Michigan startups. The gathering brings together hundreds of venture capitalists and connects them with 50-60 of the most promising Michigan startups. At each UnDemo Day, Renaissance arranges more than 500 one-on-one meetings between venture capitalists and Michigan startups. Last year alone, 15 local startups received venture funding from UnDemo Day introductions.  The next UnDemo Day is October 13 at Detroit's Ford Field.

"Renaissance connected Orbion Space Technology to its Series A lead investor, Material Impact Fund, at an UnDemo Day event," says Brad King, CEO of Orbion Space Technology, a manufacturer of electronic propulsion plasma thrusters used in satellites, located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. "Last month, we closed on a USD20 million Series B investment round. Renaissance's assistance with that early capital infusion through its UnDemo Day was an extremely important event in growing our company."

According to a recent Crunchbase report, Michigan has seen the greatest increase in venture investment of all 50 states. VC dollars in Michigan have spiked nearly 886 per cent since 2016, growing from around USD300 million to about USD3.1 billion last year.

Rizik says: "It has been gratifying to see not only the financial success of our work at Renaissance, but also the impact we've had in driving local economic growth, innovation and jobs. Like never before, the rest of the country is noticing the power of what is happening in the Midwest, and we believe our efforts with Renaissance IV can help to push the region to even greater heights."