Ludlow Ventures has closed its second fund with $45 million

Ludlow Ventures, a young, early-stage venture firm in Detroit, has closed its second venture fund with $45 million in capital commitments, founder and managing partner Jonathon Triest tells us.

Ludlow’s team, which includes partner Brett deMarrais and associate Blake Robbins, was originally targeting $40 million; its investors, or limited partners, include four institutions, along with numerous family offices and high-net-worth individuals.

One of them is Stemcentrx co-founder Dan Reiner, whose company was acquired last year for $10.2 billion.

Another is Dan Gilbert, the billionaire founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gilbert also owns Bedrock Real Estate Services, which has been actively buying up and refurbishing buildings in downtown Detroit as part of the city’s ongoing revitalization.

Ludlow was among the first tenants in one of Gilbert’s buildings, but Gilbert was also seemingly impressed with Ludlow’s ability to identify and invest in far-flung opportunities from Detroit. Indeed, slightly more than half of the 52 investments made from Ludlow’s first, $15.5 million fund, which closed in late 2014, are Bay Area companies that drew interest from a wide number of investors. (A smaller percentage are located in L.A., New York, Detroit, and elsewhere.)

Among the firm’s high-profile bets: the product discovery service Product Hunt, which sold to AngelList for a reported $20 million late last year; and the heads-up display maker Navdy, which received a strategic investment from the infotainment system company Harman in December. (Harman is itself owned by Samsung.)

Ludlow has also had at least one miss with the organic meal delivery service Sprig, which shut down last month.

It’s also an early investor in the wireless power startup uBeam, which has stirred controversy over its six-year history, with some physicists questioning whether its core technology will ever work.

Ludlow’s early checks have historically been in the $150,000 range, with follow-on checks ranging from $250,000 and $750,000. With the firm’s newest fund, which the firm began investing last year, check sizes now start around $250,000, with more money reserved for follow-on fundings.

Some of those newer investment include the Boston-based on-demand notary service Notarize, which we’d written about here; Hooked, a Bay Area-based horror story fiction app, where tales are told in text message form; May Mobility, which is an Ann Arbor, Mi.-based autonomous vehicle startup; Dwolla, a Des Moines, Ia.-based bank transfer platform, and Skurt, an L.A. -based next-generation rental car service.

To learn more about Triest and deMarrais, you can check out their occasional and often very amusing video show,, here.

Photo courtesy of Ludlow Ventures. Left to right, deMarrais and Triest.