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McKeel Hagerty and Tim Streit McKeel Hagerty and Tim Streit COURTESY PHOTO

New venture capital fund launches in Grand Rapids to target early-stage companies

BY Sunday, February 12, 2017 11:05am

GRAND RAPIDS — A new venture capital fund based in Grand Rapids plans to target investments in early-stage companies in the Midwest, MiBiz has learned.

Grand Ventures I LP will invest $1 million to $3 million in early-stage capital in each deal and provide “strategic support” for startup businesses involved in agriculture, manufacturing and transportation. The fund will pursue investment prospects that are nearing or have entered the marketplace with an innovation and have the potential for high growth, said co-founder and general partner Tim Streit.

“The Midwest holds incredible potential for startups and early-stage venture capitalists,” Streit told MiBiz. “This is a great time to be an entrepreneur and Grand Ventures wants to help companies realize their full potential. We are trying to focus on entrepreneurs that are fundamentally trying to change the world, and in doing so will create a great business and they will create great outcomes for their communities and their investors.”

Streit previously joined with partners in 2010 to form Ann Arbor-based Huron River Ventures I that raised $16 million. He runs the Grand Rapids office for the venture capital firm, which has invested in 20 technology companies that went on to raise more than $200 million in follow-on funding.

After demonstrating through Huron River Ventures’ first fund that there are enough promising startups and entrepreneurs in Michigan needing venture capital, Streit set out to form Grand Ventures. The fund’s name — which has “a double meaning” — plays on the geographic identity of the Grand Rapids region and the notion of supporting startups that are “doing something grand,” Streit said.

Streit and McKeel Hagerty, a long-time friend and adviser for Huron River Ventures, partnered to create Grand Ventures. Hagerty is the president and CEO of Traverse City-based Hagerty Insurance Agency Inc., which insures classic cars. He started the company with 30 people and grew it to more than 840 employees with offices in the U.S., Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

“Combining Tim’s venture capital tenure with my experience building a global company and our shared passion for leadership development, we will be proactive partners to the businesses we support,” Hagerty said.

Grand Ventures plans to seek up to $50 million for the fund, according to a federal regulatory filing this morning.

Grand Ventures already is scouting for deals and Streit expects the fund to make four or five investments annually. The fund could close on its first investment in the first half of 2017, he said.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the fundraising target for Grand Ventures I, which was indicated in a filing with federal securities regulators this morning. 

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