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Magic Johnson joins Detroit venture capital firm

Sarah Hulett
Michigan Radio
From left, Brian Hermelin, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, and Josh Linker. All but Bing are partners in Detroit Venture Partners.

NBA Hall of Famer and Michigan native Earvin “Magic” Johnson is joining a venture capital firm committed to helping early stage tech firms.

Detroit Venture Partners was founded in part by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert. It plans to invest in 12 to 15 companies a year, at up to $3 million per company.

Johnson says right now, talented young people are leaving Michigan and Detroit because they don’t see a future for themselves.

"So we want to create opportunities for them. We want to keep the talent right here, and we’re here to say, 'Look, if you have a great idea or a great small company, we’re here to invest in you.'"

Detroit Venture Partners has so far funded six companies, with six more deals expected in the next month or two. The firm’s partners say they expect over 10 years their investments will yield 4,500 new jobs in Detroit, and fill 1.3 million square feet of downtown office space.

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Radio’s Director of Amplify & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.