Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 11

+ Four VCs,
four investment
philosophies
See Page 21

"Besides the exit profits going back into a state where the
investments come from or are made, successful founders
locally can support up-and-coming entrepreneurs," Brennan
said. "Some of those groups start their own venture funds, and
the system is a self-reinforcing community. If you have deals
where the majority of exit profits go elsewhere, you inhibit this
flywheel effect."
As the main home of the U.S. auto industry, Michigan might
suffer from this reality more than any other state, yet business
and political leaders have only begun addressing it substantively.
Trucks was an initial investor in Ann Arbor-based May Mobility,
which operates autonomous passenger shuttles. May has raised
about $84 million total, including a recent funding round of $50
million led by Toyota.
"I tried all the king's horses and all the king's men to get
Michigan investors to back that company" at the start, Brennan
said. Only one, Ann Arbor's Ludlow Ventures, joined Trucks.
Michigan Mobility Institute co-founders Jessica Robinson and
Chris Thomas are addressing the geographic imbalance in funding by launching Assembly Ventures, a venture capital company
based in Detroit, with a partner in Berlin, which is seeking worthy

mobility investments in traditional automotive ecosystems.
"We can bring things forward with our network that people
in Silicon Valley can't," Robinson said. "Companies must understand the end [OEM or supplier] customer that might integrate
their own hardware and software to get to market."
There also is the Landing Zone, an incubator and networking
space in downtown Detroit where more than 50 startups co-locate.
"We make introductions of those companies to in-state and out-ofstate VC firms to highlight the deal flow they can get by investing
in Michigan," said Josh Hundt, chief business development officer
for the Michigan Economic Development Commission, whose
PlanetM mobility group launched the incubator in 2017.
Still, it's not yet as if mobility startups are sprouting up everywhere in Michigan. "We haven't really seen a lot of companies on the EV and AV side," said Pat O'Keefe, CEO of Grow
Michigan, a mezzanine fund capitalized by Michigan banks that
has invested in startups.
Detroit-based automakers and their capital could become more
of a factor. "We're seeing [the OEMs] focus more on integrating their mobility efforts into master strategies," Robinson said.
"That's what could start to tip the market toward Michigan." ■
april 2020 * shift

11



Shift Magazine - April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shift Magazine - April 2020

Shift Magazine - April 2020
From the Editor
Did You Know?
Into the Unknown
Q &A
The Coasts With the Most
And the Honorees Are ...
Trategic Startups
Last Mile
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - Intro
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - Shift Magazine - April 2020
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - Cover2
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 3
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - From the Editor
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - Did You Know?
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - Into the Unknown
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 7
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - Q &A
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 9
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - The Coasts With the Most
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 11
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - And the Honorees Are ...
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 13
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 14
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 15
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 16
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 17
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 18
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 19
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - 20
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - Trategic Startups
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - Last Mile
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - Cover3
Shift Magazine - April 2020 - Cover4
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