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Michigan eLab's portfolio company looks to open Ann Arbor office

Venture capital firm Michigan eLab made its first investment in a startup last year, and it’s now helping that company establish a presence in Ann Arbor.

Fonemine is headquartered in Silicon Valley. The software startup scored an investment from Michigan eLab last fall and is working to open a sales office in Ann Arbor.

"They have already hired one sales rep in Ann Arbor," says Doug Neal, co-founder of Michigan eLab. “They are partnering with (Detroit-based) VisionIT.”

Michigan eLab launched about a year ago with the idea of funding startups in Michigan and bridging the gap between tech super hubs like Silicon Valley and the Great Lakes State. The firm has five partners, one administrative staffer and an intern. That team has raised almost half of its first fund, which has a goal of $40 million, and hopes to finish fundraising before the end of the year.

Michigan eLab specializes in investing in early-stage tech startups. Its average investment is $1 million. Neal hopes to close on two more investments in the near term, including one with an Ann Arbor-based startup.

"The pipeline is great," Neal says. "It's amazing how many opportunities we are seeing."

Source: Doug Neal, co-founder of Michigan eLab
Writer: Jon Zemke

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