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Bank of Ann Arbor/TechTown deal connects A2 to Detroit

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The Bank of Ann Arbor is now in the business of building bridges -- well, at least figuratively. That's thanks to a financing agreement it has recently brokered with Detroit-based TechTown, creating one more connection between Tree Town and the Motor City.

The downtown Ann Arbor-based bank closed a 10-year loan for an undisclosed amount that will pay TechTown's operations and administrative costs of the build out of its TechTwo small business incubator in Detroit's New Center neighborhood. The agreement also opens up a channel for Bank of Ann Arbor to provide financing for the rapidly growing number of startups in TechTown.

"How do we raise the level on collaborating more instead of competing for resources," says Michael Cole, president of the Technology Banking Group at Bank of Ann Arbor. "That's already happening with things like the University Research Corridor."

Bank of Ann Arbor has a reputation for working with local early stage companies, providing them with seed capital at crucial points, a la Silicon Valley Bank. Cole's group focuses on the technology and life sciences sector, as well as the growing population of nano-tech companies. Bank of Ann Arbor is the only bank in the state that specializes in the tech industry, like Silicon Valley Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada, where Cole paid his dues earlier in his career.

"We do a lot of work with early stage companies," Cole says.

Source: Michael Cole, president of the Technology Banking Group at Bank of Ann Arbor
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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