NBA Hall-of-Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson today announced he has joined forces with Quicken Loans founder and chairman Dan Gilbert as the newest member of Detroit Venture Partners (DVP).

The surprise announcement was made at the Quicken Loans headquarters on the Cavaliers-themed court on the 10th floor of the Compuware building in Detroit.

“I couldn’t sleep yesterday thinking about the press conference today,” said Johnson who is the fourth partner of the Detroit-based venture capital firm which includes:

  • Dan Gilbert – Chairman and founder of Quicken Loans and majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Josh Linkner – Managing partner at DVP
  • Brian Hermelin – Partner and chairman of Rockbridge Growth Equity, LLC

Johnson, who won a State Championship in basketball at Lansing Everett High School and a NCAA National Championship at Michigan State University, said “It’s an exciting time in Detroit right now, I have invested a lot of money in the state and this is an opportunity to invest even more.”

The purpose of DVP is to help rebuild the Detroit area through entrepreneurial efforts.  A statement on the organization’s website says, “We are street fighters and are willing to get down and dirty with our entrepreneurs in order to drive results.  We are passionate entrepreneurs that know how to build successful companies from the ground up.”

“We don’t just invest, we bring operational expertise to the company,” said Dan Gilbert to a crowd which included Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Detroit City Council member James Tate, Compuware Corporation executive chairman Peter Karmanos, and media from several television and radio stations.

Magic Johnson Joins Detroit Venture Partners

“With so many bright people in college and out of college (in the Detroit area) we just want to give them an opportunity,” continued Gilbert who will house DVP in his recently purchased Madison building.

Linkner added, “We want to transform Detroit into a technology hub.  We have reviewed 400 deals since November and we plan on approving 12 to 15 projects this year for up to three million each.”

Growing entrepreneurial opportunities suggest that “Detroit 2.0” is not just a concept, but a vision being brought to life daily with the help of community leaders, media, and a shift in thinking when it comes to urban renewal.

“I believe in Detroit and this is just a scratch of the scratch on the surface,” said Gilbert.  “We can’t do it alone,” he added.

Thus, if you’re an entrepreneur and live in Detroit, take notice of the movement going on, apply for the fall session at Bizdom U or pitch your idea to the Detroit Venture Partners and perhaps you will be the next entrepreneur to contribute to “Detroit 2.0.”