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History

We were startups before startups were cool.

It all started in 1999, when Wayne State University President Irvin D. Reid decided the city needed an accelerator that could help stimulate the local economy but also further the region’s economic diversification efforts by initially serving technology businesses, especially university spin-outs.

To get the ball rolling, he negotiated partnership agreements with General Motors and Henry Ford Health System. Start-up funding came from a public, private coalition of local and national sources, with investment totaling approximately $35 million.

As part of its involvement, GM contributed its approximately 140,000-square-foot facility at 440 Burroughs Street. The structure, designed by famed Detroit architect Albert Kahn in 1927, was first a service department for Pontiac then later the Chevrolet Creative Services building. The Corvette was designed on the third floor and auto show displays were built here as well.

TechTown Detroit incorporated in 2000 and officially opened its doors to a renovated facility in 2004. Today our work supports industry verticals that are specific to the region’s inherent assets and address the city’s identified needs, supporting not only tech businesses but also retail and wholesale enterprises for a more holistic approach to economic development.