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Founders

Company

Quicken Loans

1050 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226

Dan Mullen

Dan Gilbert and his team have a vision of reinventing Detroit's economy through social entrepreneurship, a task that is much easier said than done. What type of timeline are we looking at before the city reaches a critical mass of entrepreneurs?
It's hard to say. In the next 18 months you will see some huge changes. By this fall we're going to have another 2,000 team members from Quicken Loans moving to downtown. And we have a lot of other real-estate that we're trying to fill. We're going to fix them up and start recruiting people heavily to come downtown. Within a year, you will see a lot of these businesses say, 'Wow. Look at Detroit and what's happening.'

Give us a beginner's guide to Gilbert's "Webward" vision and how it relates to Snyder's Michigan 3.0 vision?
We have coined from Jefferson to Grand Circus Park, Webward Avenue. That's our Phase 1 for recruiting and retaining as many creative businesses in that area as we can. We want that area of Woodward to be known as the place where you can graduate from college and go to work in this area because it has cool technology and creative jobs.

The Madison building is the catalyst for Webward. That's going to have a co-working space where you can literally walk off the street and work in the Madison for the day. We talk about living, working and playing here. This will give them an outlet for working here. It will also have a 150-person auditorium where we host lots of cool technology events and cool creative summits. It will also have a roof-top deck that overlooks Comerica Park. We're building it out to be a really cool, beautiful space.

Gov. Snyder talks about Michigan 3.0 as his vision of transforming the state's economy from it's industrial roots (Michigan 2.0) into a new economy based on innovation, entrepreneurship and technology. It sounds an awful lot like Gilbert's vision.
Both of those visions parallel very nicely.

Conventional wisdom says Michigan too often ends up with the fuzzy end of the lollipop when it comes to promising homegrown start-ups that receive investments from out-of-state venture capital firms. Do you think Detroit Venture Partners can flip that dynamic on it's head?
Absolutely. Not only is it a capital investment, but it's a lot of hands-on mentoring. They're actually going to be headquartered inside the Madison building. The idea is to scale those businesses so they move somewhere else in the Webward corridor.

Two years from now, can we expect to see that produce a large concentration of businesses here?
I can't speak for Detroit Venture Partners, but I know their strategy is to do just that. Group-on got its start in Troy and Ann Arbor. If we would have had this in place then, we could have taken a stab at them and brought them down here.

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