Bizdom, the Startup Accelerator Founded by Dan Gilbert, Is Effectively Shutting Down

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In an email today to Bizdom founders, Bizdom executive director Ross Sanders announced that "Bizdom will move away from an accelerator model and begin serving as a platform for connecting entrepreneurs to resources within the Rock Ventures Family of Companies, as well as non-profit partners supported by the Family." The startup accelerator founded by Dan Gilbert, which operated in Cleveland and Detroit, had been in existence since 2007.

A formal announcement, the email said, is coming tomorrow.

The growth in the tech scenes of both cities since then, the reasoning went, meant that Bizdom wasn't needed in its current form any longer, according to the email (which you can read in full below.) People that found a home in the offices will have to find homes elsewhere and support going forward will only include networking, particularly, as the email says, within Rock Ventures and the "Family." One view of that confluence of events is that they're simply trying to save face by keeping the Bizdom name around even though it's effectively shutting down. Anyway, we'll let you know when we find out more.

Dear Bizdom Founders,

We would like to share with you some updates regarding Bizdom’s future plans in Detroit and Cleveland. A formal announcement will be made tomorrow, but we wanted to communicate our news to you first.

When Bizdom was launched in 2007, there was a clear lack of resources for technology startups operating in Detroit and Cleveland. Now, however, there are over 15 such organizations in the Detroit and Cleveland areas. Given this positive growth, Bizdom will move away from an accelerator model and begin serving as a platform for connecting entrepreneurs to resources within the Rock Ventures Family of Companies, as well as non-profit partners supported by the Family.

Starting in early 2016, Bizdom will engage individually with interested businesses to identify fitting connections within the Family of Companies and its network of non-profit partners. Bizdom will work flexibly on a case-by-case basis to support both local entrepreneurs and scalable, high-impact technology startups. Programming will include:

· Capital investments

· Classes for entrepreneurs

· Events that celebrate and connect entrepreneurs

· Connectivity to the Rock Ventures Family of Companies
On a day-to-day basis, you will continue working with Lee Burnstein as your portfolio manager, but we will be making some changes to the Bizdom team in order to prepare for this transition. Additionally, if you occupy the space in Cleveland or Detroit, you will be able to stay until January 15th, 2016, and we will be happy to work with you to find an appropriate space for the future. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to either Lee (LeeBurnstein@Bizdom.com) or Laura Grannemann (LauraGrannemann@Bizdom.com).

Over the past eight years, we have worked together to build a strong foundation for entrepreneurial communities in our two cities. Our success is a reflection of your hard work and dedication, and for that, we thank you.

Bizdom (Cleveland) was given $2.8 million last year, according to this story, by Ohio Third Frontier, a state economic development organization.

4. Bizdom Fund, in Cleveland, was awarded $2.8 million for its Bizdom Cleveland Pre-Seed Fund. Fund collaborators include Rock Ventures LLC and the Quicken Loans Family of Companies.

"The State of Ohio is committed to creating opportunities for technology startups to launch, fund and thrive in the region," said Bizdom Cleveland Leader Paul Allen, in a statement. "Bizdom is excited to use the grant to further strengthen the rich environment and continue to attract talent from across the country."



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