File this under "why I still love Magic Johnson." Legendary NBA star for the Lakers and—what's more germaine to this posting—Michigan State alum, Earvin "Magic" Johnson has announced he has joined a tech start-up VC group, Detroit Venture Partners, and will be infusing millions of his own personal dollars into Detroit-based tech start-ups.
Detroit Venture Partners (which was co-founded by Josh Linkner, another Inc.com columnist) primarily incubates and funds early-stage companies working on mobile apps, cloud computing, and social networking.
Johnson joins the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers (and Quicken Loans founder), Dan Gilbert, and Linkner, who founded ePrize, as one of the partners in Detroit Venture Partners.
Gilbert made headlines when it decided to relocate Quicken Loans, along with 1,700 jobs, to Greater Detroit a few years ago.
While the companies that built Detroit continue to build cars somewhere else—and occasionally take a government bailout—these are some corporate citizens at least trying to do something for a grand old city on the brink of utter collapse.
VC groups like Detroit Venture Partners, and the small businesses who choose to pursue their dreams in places where others need to share in it the most, are truly my heroes.
We need a whole generation of patriots like you. Good luck in your endeavors.
Last updated: Jul 21, 2011
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio