Young Basile: Michigan Startups Improving

Shannon Beeman
May 8, 2012

According  to intellectual property law firm Young  Basile Hanlon & MacFarlane P.C., the  number and quality of startups in Michigan  is improving. The firm founded a not-for-profit incubator five years ago, and  at the time quality tenants were scarce. Shareholder attorney Andrew Basile,  Jr. notes that today there are more deals, and founders are more sophisticated  with better funding. To further leverage this momentum, he said, Detroit needs to become  more attractive to young talent. “We need vibrant, dense walkable towns and  cities that are assembled together in close proximity to each other and large  recreational open spaces,” he said. “The Woodward corridor is a start,  especially in the city where vast tracts of empty land could be turned into  parks.”

Young  Basile has offices in Ann Arbor and Troy, Michigan as well as  Palo Alto, California. About half of the firm’s legal  work stems from the West coast, so it has a unique perspective on how the Midwest is perceived nationally. “I think Michigan is making  progress but has long way to go,” said Basile. “People in Silicon   Valley will be impressed by results in the form of great companies  with substantial liquidity events. In the meantime, Michigan  should do a better job positioning itself in Silicon   Valley as a subject matter expert for vehicles. For example,  autonomous vehicles could revolutionize society over the next several decades. Silicon Valley is already on top of this and will  probably end up designing the next century’s transportation infrastructure.  Incredibly, Michigan  is hardly even in this game.” Michigan,  he adds, should be willingly and openly challenging the status quo and  embracing ideas that may seem impractical, but are at the cutting edge of  technology.

Basile  notes that events such as the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium  (MGCS) have  added value to Michigan’s  entrepreneurial eco-system, and the MGCS is “moving the needle”. Young Basile  is a sponsor of this year’s Symposium. “We enjoy meeting the founders and  investors. Some of our attorneys also are active angel investors,” said Basile.  “We are always on the look out for new clients.”