There’s a new venture capital firm in town. Chicago-based MK Capital, an investor in digital media and application software, has established an office in Ann Arbor and recently closed on a second fund believed to be in the area of $100 million. Recently appointed Director Josh Beebe is tasked with scouring the Michigan landscape for good deals. MK, he says, considers Michigan to be fertile ground. “There’s a perception in the firm, and I think it’s an accurate one, that this is an underserved territory. As such, they wanted to expand their footprint and add some resources here. They’ve understood for a while that some of the most interesting deals are the deals that aren’t being fought over on the coasts.”
The firm has already found success in Michigan. The first investment under its new fund was Bingham Farms-based Outdoor Hub, a company specializing in digital media for outdoor enthusiasts.
MK recognizes many advantages in Michigan, including a good talent pool, low cost of living, and a hard-working entrepreneurial community. “You’ve got entrepreneurs that tend to be more pragmatic in their mindset and willing to slog through and do what it takes,” said Beebe, who was born and raised in Michigan. “The eco-system is emerging, it’s improving and it’s palpable. It’s not where it needs to be yet, but I think for the first time in a while, over the past couple of years, there’s a palpable improvement in the economic environment, and in particular the entrepreneurial environment here in Michigan.”
Beebe, who also serves as a Partner at Arbor Partners, has attended every Michigan Growth Capital Symposium since 2000. “It’s one of the relatively few opportunities for emerging companies in Michigan and the greater Midwest to get some real exposure to the venture finance community, both inside and outside the state,” he said. “It provides a fairly rare setting for collaboration and general support for the venture eco-system.”