The basketball court inside Quicken Loans headquarters seemed to be a natural fit for Earvin “Magic” Johnson to announce he has joined the Detroit Venture Partners (DVP) with a significant investment in the fund. It was homecoming of sorts, he said, since most of his family still lives in the Lansing area.
Magic said the commitment to Detroit that Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, has demonstrated and his passion for revitalizing downtown played a big factor in his decision to invest in DVP initially. He’ll also potentially partner with Gilbert on real estate projects in Detroit through Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services. He also credited Detroit Mayor Dave Bing with providing inspiration to him as a basketball player and then as a businessman.
“The reason I’m a business man is because of Bing Steel. He set the example that you could wear the little tight shorts and from that you can wear a suit and become a businessman,” he quipped.
One of the things that convinced Johnson to become the fourth investor in DVP is the organizational expertise the partnership brings to every investment. Businesses funded by DVP are not just given money and turned loose. Instead, they have access to the experience of each of the partners in how to run a company. He feels this approach gives startups a much better chance at success.
“As you know, the investment process can be tough at times but we will be investing in the brightest young talent in the state and keep them right here. I think with this technology space venture that we have, we will have people that will want to come and join us in this great project,” Johnson said.
While he has made a significant investment into the city through DVP, Johnson said he is also committed to building a movie theater in Detroit.