Renaissance backs Next Coast Ventures

Austin, Texas-based Next Coast Ventures, a venture fund that focuses on early-stage tech businesses, has secured an undisclosed amount of funding. The investor is Renaissance Venture Capital Fund.


ANN ARBOR, Mich., Apr 25, 2017 – Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, Michigan’s venture capital fund-of-funds, today announced its investment in Austin-based Next Coast Ventures, a highly-regarded venture capital fund that backs early-stage technology businesses around the U.S.

This is the 25th investment made by the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund.

“We are excited to be partnering with Next Coast Ventures as they begin supporting fast growing, innovative leaders in Michigan’s entrepreneurial community,” said Chris Rizik, chief executive officer of Renaissance. “Tom Ball and Mike Smerklo have a strong national reputation as great investors and mentors, and we believe that they will be a terrific addition to our portfolio and our community.”

Renaissance was formed to invest in many of the best venture capital funds in the nation and to engage them in Michigan. To date, Renaissance’s first fund has helped attract $24 of investment into Michigan companies for every dollar it has invested.

“Many of the fastest-growing businesses in the nation over the past three decades have one thing in common: They have had venture capital investors take a chance on them when they were start-up companies,” Rizik said.

“Companies ranging from Google to Starbucks to Michigan’s Llamasoft and Esperion Therapeutics all raised millions of dollars from investors early in their lives to help them go from concept to product to successful company and major employer.” Rizik noted, “Venture capital-backed companies grow faster and pay higher than average wages, and they help bring innovation and new industries to the areas where they invest.”

Next Coast officials expressed optimism for Michigan’s entrepreneurial climate. “Michigan is a great example of a Next Coast market for venture capital,” said Mike Smerklo, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Next Coast Ventures. “The region has a strong innovative mindset, great entrepreneurs and amazing universities but has not received a lot of attention from coastal venture firms in the past. We’re extremely pleased to have a strong vote of confidence from Renaissance, and plan to bring our mantra of ‘bringing Silicon Valley DNA to Next Coast markets’ as part of this partnership.”

About the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund
The Renaissance Venture Capital Fund is a fund of funds that supports the growth of venture capital in Michigan while serving as a bridge between Michigan’s emerging innovation company community and its strong industrial and commercial base. Formed by Business Leaders for Michigan, the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund boasts as its members many of Michigan’s most important organizations. It has become a national model for strategic, financially successful regional investing. Through its investment in top tier venture firms that are active in Michigan, as well as its own co-investments in emerging Michigan companies, the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund is helping to drive forward both innovation and growth of emerging companies in the region. And it is again proving that Michigan, with its unique combination of scientific, engineering and business talent, is a great place in which to invest.

About Next Coast Ventures
Next Coast Ventures was born in 2015 with a simple vision to create a different kind of venture capital firm focused company building, thought leadership and giving back to the community. With a dedication to investing in entrepreneurs building disruptive companies in big markets, Next Coast Ventures is pursuing a new model of VC “built for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs.” For more information, visit

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