The Michigan Growth Capital Symposium was held this past Tuesday and Wednesday in Ypsilanti. Xconomy’s Sarah Schmid reports that over 450 founders, entrepreneurs, VCs, and others in the Michigan startup community showed out for the event.
Among them was the managing director and co-founder of Foundry Group, Jason Mendelson who gave a keynote address entitled: “The Velocity of the Midwest Venture Capital Ecosystem: Sleeping Giants or Momentary Blips?”
During his speech he was very positive about the current startup scene in Michigan. Mendelson is no stranger to the state of Michigan. He was born in Detroit and graduated from the university of Michigan. While this weeks talk was all positive, it wasn’t always that way for Mendelson and his native state.
After graduating from law school at the University of Michigan, Mendelson wanted to stay in Michigan but he quickly found that the state, so deep rooted in the auto industry, didn’t care if someone had the next million dollar idea. At that time no one cared about anything except seniority.
So like any aspiring entrepreneur Mendelson made a pilgrimage to Silicon Valley, an experience he doesn’t speak to highly of.
Mendelson said that the competition in Silicon Valley was so harsh that the only pleasure in life came from relishing in others’ failure. Mendelson described Silicon Valley to Schmid as “toxic” ultimately causing him to leave in 2006 and head for Boulder Colorado.
More after the break
Boulder was where Mendelson laid down roots and through Foundry and it’s partnership with Techstars, among others, they’re seeing Boulder thrive. Boulder has grown to take the fourth place spot in the nation in terms of new company formations and startup funding.