Detroit Venture Partners opening doors for tech start-ups - KMSP-TV

Detroit Venture Partners opening doors for tech start-ups

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Josh Linkner Josh Linkner
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Do you have an idea that could be the next Twitter or Facebook? If so, Detroit Venture Partners is looking for you.

"Right here in metro Detroit, we have incredible ideas," says Josh Linker.

Linkner knows what it takes to turn an idea into a business. And easy isn't part of it. Linker founded ePrize, the world's largest interactive promotion agency, in 1999 when he was only 20 years old. "Everyone thought I was crazy."

But what some once called crazy has turned into a lucrative tech company based right here in southeast Michigan. Now, Linker is trying to help other local entrepreneurs create their own success. That's where Detroit Venture Partners comes into play. A venture capital firm Linkner founded with Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and ex-NBA star Magic Johnson, DVP invests in Internet start-ups by providing the initial investment of between $250K - $750K.

"In addition to capital, we provide coaching, mentorship, support. We're there deep in the trenches with these entrepreneurs to help them win, which in turn, will help our city win," says Linkner. "We're looking for the next Facebook or Twitter or Instagram."

And they may have found it.

UpTo is a mobile app that allows users to share a calendar full of appointments and upcoming events with whoever they choose. The point is, your followers will know what you're 'UpTo.'

Greg Schwartz is one of UpTo's founders. "We've had over 50,000 downloads over the past few months and we're growing," says Schwartz.

DVP not only provided the start-up cash, they've helped the company make serious connections and deals.

In less than two years, DVP has received over 1,000 pitches and funded 13 companies. They judge companies based on a wide-range of criteria, including whether or not the company is willing to commit to Detroit.

DVP and its start-ups are based in downtown's Madison Building which has been transformed into a space where work and fun go hand-in-hand.

"Big bangs can happen in tech start-up world and that's what we're hoping to happen here in Detroit," says Linkner.

Online: detroitventurepartners.com

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