Steve Case Announces Rise of the Rest and Michigan Looks Ready

By Amanda Lewan on April 7th, 2014 / Comments

Last week Detroit’s iRule received a $100,000 investment from the very first Google for Entrepreneur’s Demo Day.

The investment was part of a $1 million group of investments made by AOL Billion and Founder Steve Case as he announced a time for the “rise of the rest.” Startups from Detroit, Chicago, North Carolina, Canada, Nashville, Minneapolis and Denver all received investments.

“I’ve long known that great startups can be found everywhere, and not just in Silicon Valley,” said Case. “I was so inspired by the consistent quality of each of the pitches that I made an on-the-spot decision to support each company.”

In a press release that went out late last week Case said he hoped this investment would trigger further investments made across North America.

Detroit’s own iRule received $100,000 adding to funding already received by Compuware Ventures, Detroit Venture Partners and Roger Penske’s fund IncWell. The company allows for cloud and mobile based control for a home theatre, all without the technical program one might expect.

Check out the other the ten startups who received funding in last week’s press release and learn more about the Google For Entrepreneurs program. You can also watch the pitches from the demo day.

What does this message from Silicon Valley say for Michigan startups?

Is it Time for Michigan & the Midwest? A Look at the Numbers

This isn’t the first inkling of good news for startups in Michigan and the Midwest. A slew of reports this past year hint that investment is on the rise, and contrary to believed myths, that there is technical and entrepreneurial talent here. As long as the talent is supported and given reasons to stay, what couldn’t happen for Michigan’s tech and startup economy?

Michigan’s investments industry has been ranked in reports as growing, though much behind the mass amounts of investments in Silicon Valley. Crain’s reported last October that the State of Michigan ranked 12th in investment overall as reported by a Private Equity Growth Capital Council based in Washington D.C.

More recently, TechCrunch took a closer look at why tech investors cannot ignore the Midwest. Michigan’s ranks third for venture baked exits. Also, 52 companies from the Midwest gone public or been acquired for just north of $1 billion.

Looking closer at Michigan, the article cites Detroit Venture Partners Ted Serbinski describing a new startup scene in Detroit that includes over 40 startups and 10 investors.

Tech Talent Continues to Rise in Metro Detroitmetro detroit's tech hub

We’ve known for a long time that Southeast Michigan has the highest concentration of engineers. Automation Alley’s Technology Report for 2013 now shows some more exciting numbers about technology graduates, jobs, and the industry in Michigan.

The report takes a look at engineering, life sciences, and digital communications, and others showing the following:

  • The tech industry employment rate in metro Detroit is up 15 percent from the previous year’s study, while Silicon Valley had a 4 percent drop.
  • Metro Detroit’s technology sector added more than 30,000 jobs this past year.
  • Schools in metro Detroit graduated more students in areas of engineering and engineering technology than any other region in the study, with more STEM and computer-science graduates than Silicon Valley.
  • Detroit had the highest concentration of tech jobs in the Midwest and was second nationally only to the Silicon Valley region.

The report defines the Detroit region to include Genesee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties.
The report also looked at technology hubs centered around Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Austin, Seattle, and Silicon Valley.

View the complete 2013 Technology Report.

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Co-founder Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.