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End the duopoly

VC leaders call for more inclusive startup economy

There’s no way around it: Michigan’s startup and venture capital economies are dominated by white men.

The 2020 report from the Michigan Venture Capital Association makes that clear in stark numbers. Michigan has 144 venture-backed startups and 85 percent of them are run by white men, according to the MVCA report.

Nineteen companies are led by minorities, 15 are run by women and three are run by someone identifying as LGBTQ.

Stakeholders in the region’s venture capital and funding communities acknowledge that the makeup of who is receiving investment and who’s doing the investing is in serious need of overhaul. The growth of the startup economy largely depends on it, according to experts.

Patti Glaza, executive vice president at Invest Detroit Ventures — an organization that has made inroads with investments into minority communities — said it’s all about getting out of your comfort zone, particularly when it comes to the venture capital side.

“Team, team, team. Your next hire, whether at the partner level or the junior level, really make sure that you are extending your reach to find someone that is additive to your culture, not necessarily a full cultural fit,” Glaza said.And that stepping out of your comfort zone needs to […]

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