Firm partners with Detroit organizations on educational seminar series for startups

To celebrate of the opening of its downtown Detroit office, the Varnum law firm will partner with several Detroit-based entrepreneurial organizations to present a series of educational seminars for business startups.

Eastern Market Corporation, Build Institute, and Detroit Creative Corridor Center are partnering with Varnum on a series of seminars for entrepreneurs in the food, retail, and creative sectors. The series, which launches this year and will extend into 2016, is an extension of the firm’s MiSpringboard program, offering $1 million in free legal services to qualified startup and second-stage businesses in Michigan.

“Varnum has been serving the start-up community for many years, assisting clients in a variety of sectors,” said Varnum Partner Matt Bower who works extensively with startup clients and is based in the firm’s new Detroit office. “This educational series combines our commitment to entrepreneurship and economic growth in Michigan with an exciting way to give back to the community.”

The educational series is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2016, with details on the events and registration to be announced before the end of the year. Those interested in receiving more information can email

MiSpringboard was launched in 2011 as a way to help Michigan businesses get off the ground by removing barriers often associated with starting a business. Clients in the program receive services according to their specific needs, but typical legal services focus on formation and early stage documents, as well as working with clients through various financing rounds.

Participant companies represent a wide range of industries, including energy, technology, food, and subscription-based software businesses. More than 180 Michigan-based startups have benefitted from legal services through MiSpringboard, including:

—Benefit Mobile, a mobile fundraising platform that returns a percentage of everyday retail purchases back to users, to donate to the cause of their choice.

—TurtleCell, started by mechanical engineering students at the University of Michigan who developed cell phone cases with built-in, retractable headphones.

—Tome, developers of connectivity software and sensor-based tracking, now being used in the automotive and office furniture industries.

—CribSpot, started by University of Michigan graduates who came up with a better way for students to find college housing. CribSpot is now launched in dozens of campuses
across the country.

—Stratos Technologies, developers of a sleek and secure smart card that combines credit, debit, gift, loyalty and membership cards into one.

—Mountain Labs, developers of software that helps healthcare providers share data securely and efficiently.

The kick-off of the educational series follows the opening of the law firm’s newest office, located in the Federal Reserve Building at 160 W. Fort Street in downtown Detroit.
Varnum now operates from six full service offices across the state and a satellite office in Ann Arbor.