Ann Arbor startups still strong during pandemic, report finds

38% of Michigan high-tech startup companies call Washtenaw County home

Ann Arbor's Main Street. (Destination Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Despite the coronavirus pandemic impacting local businesses, Ann Arbor can add the title of startup leader to its many accolades, according to a new report.

Released on Aug. 17, by Ann Arbor-based entrepreneurial research nonprofit EntryPoint, the 2020 Ann Arbor Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Report report found that Ann Arbor’s high-tech ecosystem is going strong and that 38% of Michigan high-tech startup companies call Washtenaw County home.

That means that the concentration of high-tech talent and research in the county has led to 55 active venture-backed startups, a number that has risen 31% over the last six years. Just over half of those companies, 53%, are in the information technology industry, while 36% are life science or health care companies. The remaining 11% are either in the mobility or alternative energy sectors.

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These companies have raised $996 million in venture capital with 35 of those companies attracting $198.4 million in investment from venture capital firms in 2019.

However, only 15% of these venture-backed startups are led by people of color and only 13% are led by women, according to the EntryPoint report.

Of those surveyed, 94% of all high-growth, high-tech startup companies in Washtenaw County felt somewhat prepared to operate during times of shelter-in-place. However, 36 of the 55 active venture-backed startups have reported feeling impacted by the pandemic, according to the report.

Read the full report here.

Founded by Emily Heintz, EntryPoint is a nonprofit research institution that promotes entrepreneurship across the Midwest through research insights and data-driven programming.


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About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.