According to intellectual property law firm Young Basile Hanlon & MacFarlane P.C., the number and quality of startups in Michigan is improving. The firm founded a not-for-profit incubator five years ago, and at the time quality tenants were scarce. Shareholder attorney Andrew Basile, Jr. notes that today there are more deals, and founders are more sophisticated with better funding. To further leverage this momentum, he said, Detroit needs to become more attractive to young talent. “We need vibrant, dense walkable towns and cities that are assembled together in close proximity to each other and large recreational open spaces,” he said. “The Woodward corridor is a start, especially in the city where vast tracts of empty land could be turned into parks.”
Young Basile has offices in Ann Arbor and Troy, Michigan as well as Palo Alto, California. About half of the firm’s legal work stems from the West coast, so it has a unique perspective on how the Midwest is perceived nationally. “I think Michigan is making progress but has long way to go,” said Basile. “People in Silicon Valley will be impressed by results in the form of great companies with substantial liquidity events. In the meantime, Michigan should do a better job positioning itself in Silicon Valley as a subject matter expert for vehicles. For example, autonomous vehicles could revolutionize society over the next several decades. Silicon Valley is already on top of this and will probably end up designing the next century’s transportation infrastructure. Incredibly, Michigan is hardly even in this game.” Michigan, he adds, should be willingly and openly challenging the status quo and embracing ideas that may seem impractical, but are at the cutting edge of technology.
Basile notes that events such as the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS) have added value to Michigan’s entrepreneurial eco-system, and the MGCS is “moving the needle”. Young Basile is a sponsor of this year’s Symposium. “We enjoy meeting the founders and investors. Some of our attorneys also are active angel investors,” said Basile. “We are always on the look out for new clients.”