Paul Riser Jr. named inaugural director of Detroit Urban Solutions

Date: February 11, 2019

Contact: Brianna Batton

Phone: (313) 577-3122



Paul Riser Jr. named inaugural director of Detroit Urban Solutions

TechTown exec to lead smart cities consortium founded by TechTown, WSU and NextEnergy


Paul Riser Jr. has been named the inaugural director of Detroit Urban Solutions, a technology innovation consortium dedicated to advancing the growth of Detroit’s technology ecosystem and developing cutting edge solutions to challenges facing Detroit and other urban areas.

Since 2014, Riser has served as Managing Director of Technology-Based Entrepreneurship at TechTown Detroit, one of the founding partners of Detroit Urban Solutions. During his tenure, Riser has played a seminal role in building Detroit’s entrepreneurial culture, supporting nearly 500 tech, cyber, mobility and life sciences startups develop, launch, grow and secure more than $30 million in capital.

A partnership between Wayne State, TechTown, NextEnergy and numerous other organizations, Detroit Urban Solutions will focus primarily on mobility, digital health, civic technologies and smart city technologies. The consortium announced its first major investment last May, with Wayne State University’s $6.6 million purchase of the former NextEnergy Center, now renamed the Wayne State Industry Innovation Center. The building offers office, laboratory, and event and demonstration space and will serve as a location for university faculty, researchers, and students to co-locate with industry to work on a variety of cutting edge technology projects.

“We are eager to work with Paul to accelerate Detroit  Urban Solutions and link the work we are doing in smart mobility and smart grid to other pillars of the smart cities consortia,” said Jim Saber, president and CEO of NextEnergy.

Cluster development is a core focus of Detroit Urban Solutions, and Riser brings a depth of experience in this area. Most notably, he led the formation of the MedHealth Innovation Cluster, a regional collaboration connecting, convening and educating the medical innovation ecosystem in Southeast Michigan and Southwest Ontario. Its goal is to accelerate the adoption of technologies that improve quality of care and contribute to economic growth in the region. With Riser’s appointment, the innovation cluster will fall under the Detroit Urban Solutions umbrella. He has also played a key role in driving regional innovation competitions such as ErieHack and the FinTech Challenge.

“Paul is the ultimate connector and a tireless champion of the Detroit region’s great potential to be a true tech hub,” said Ned Staebler, vice president for economic development at Wayne State and president and CEO of TechTown “As Paul’s leadership of the MedHealth Innovation Cluster attests, he is quick to identify key growth areas in the region and pull the right people and resources together to move the work forward and put Southeast Michigan on the map.”

Riser has more than 20 years of professional experience working with start-up firms to global enterprises in the areas of IT systems administration, systems architecture, technology integration, technical pre-sales support and medical device development. Prior to joining TechTown, Riser served as chief technology and information officer for Innovative Health Technologies, a Detroit biotech startup developing regenerative, biomimetic medical devices. Riser is also the president and CEO of the Riser Group, a Northville-based IT and business development consulting firm.

Riser assumes his new positon on March 1, 2019.




TechTown is Detroit’s entrepreneurship hub, with a full suite of programs for both tech and neighborhood small businesses. TechTown works with businesses at all stages, helping startup, emerging and established companies develop, launch and grow. Since 2007, TechTown has supported 1900 companies, which created more than 1400 jobs and raised more than $130 million in startup capital. For more information, visit