In 2016, Time for Michigan Companies to Play for Long-Term Success


I believe that the most pressing issue for Michigan’s innovation community in 2016 is to think big. When the final numbers come in for 2015, we’ll find that it was a watershed year for fast-growth companies in the state. More venture capital came in than ever before, and more large investments than ever came into Michigan from both local and national venture capital funds. And this isn’t just large investments for the sake of large investments—it is a sign that more entrepreneurs here are working to create solutions to worldwide problems, and are seeking the scale to provide those solutions.

This is a positive development for a region whose entrepreneurs have too often thought too small, putting artificial ceilings on growth expectations for their companies or simply selling those companies too quickly, before they could truly reach their value and impact potential. We need emerging Michigan-based powerhouses like Llamasoft, Duo Security, and others to be role models for the next generation of entrepreneurs—playing for long-term success—and the challenge for 2016 will be to keep that momentum going. If we can meet that challenge, the result will be a new generation of innovative, fast-growing companies here that will have a transformational impact on the economy and culture of Michigan.


[Editor’s note: To tap the wisdom of our distinguished group of Xconomists, we asked a few of them to answer a question heading into 2016: “What is the most pressing issue for the innovation community?” You can see other questions and answers here.]

Chris Rizik is the Chief Executive Officer and Fund Manager of the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, a venture capital fund of funds formed by a consortium of several of Michigan’s largest corporations. Follow @ChrisRizik

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