Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Hall of Fame NBA star, philanthropist and entrepreneur, is to 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. Johnson will also be investing millions of dollars into the fund.
Launched in 2010 by entrepreneurs Josh Linkner, 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, says: "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."
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," says 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," says 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 innovate.
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.