I’ve now been in Detroit for 882 days. Or roughly, 2 years, 5 months, and 1 day.
As an ex-Silicon Valley guy who co-founded and sold a company, I have a good sense of what makes the valley tick—and how it turns out bombshells like Whatsapp.
Since I moved to Detroit, I’ve noticed many things about this southeast Michigan startup ecosystem. From my perspective, there are 3 critical pieces we need (or rather, need much more of).
Building a startup community
Brad Feld wrote a book on this subject: Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City. After 20 years in Boulder, Brad, along with his partners at Foundry Group, have transformed Boulder into a top startup ecosystem in the country.
Brad’s basic thesis is that startup communities need to be led by entrepreneurs.
I agree completely with Brad’s thoughts and view myself in a bit of a hybrid role–both an entrepreneur and a service provider (e.g., I’m a venture capitalist). I moved to Detroit because I believe there is anentrepreneurial gold rush in Detroit (and the greater Midwest).
And what Detroit needs is more investors backing founders to discover startup gold in the region.
Discovering the missing ingredients
Startups are simply an experiment to find a repeatable business model. Once found, the business scales by applying this model to find customers and revenue. Eventually, the startup can be acquired, merge with another company, or go public.
Experiments, therefore, are the basic ingredient to create a rich ecosystem of startups.
Continue reading at Crain’s Detroit Business