Renaissance_2016_002

Christopher L. Rizik

Christopher L. Rizik

CEO & Fund Manager

Christopher L. Rizik is the Chief Executive Officer and Fund Manager of the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund. With three decades of experience in technology, finance and law, he has played a principal role in dozens of multi-million dollar venture capital transactions.

Prior to forming Renaissance, Chris served as a co-founder, partner, and Board member of Ardesta, LLC, an industry accelerator dedicated to the development of microsystems and other small technologies. Chris also co-founded and served as Managing Director of Avalon Investments, then Michigan’s largest venture capital firm. During his tenure at Avalon and Ardesta, he accepted four consecutive “Deal of the Year” awards from the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

Prior to joining Avalon, Chris was a senior partner with Dickinson Wright PLLC, one of the Midwest’s oldest law firms, where he led the firm’s Emerging Company department. He also passed the Certified Public Accounting examination and worked at PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Chris is also the founder of SoulTracks.com, America’s most popular soul music online magazine.

Chris currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee and is the Finance Subcommittee Chair of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (the state’s economic development organization), and chairs the Executive Committee of the high tech accelerator TechTown and the Investment Committee of the innovative First Step Fund. Chris also serves on the Steering Committee of the New Economy Initiative, the National Advisory Board of the University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer, and boards or advisory boards of Invest Detroit, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan, University of Detroit Jesuit, and several venture capital funds, including the Procter & Gamble-led fund of funds, Cintrifuse. Chris is a 2017 EY Entrepreneur of the Year winner and a past Crain’s Detroit Business magazine “Newsmaker of the Year.”

Jeffrey Rinvelt

Jeffrey Rinvelt

Principal

Jeffrey Rinvelt is the Principal for the Fund. Jeff’s diverse background in venture capital and technology along with his experience working in various start-up ventures uniquely positions him for this role. In addition, Jeff is quite active in the Michigan start-up community, volunteering his time to mentor young entrepreneurs, judge pitch competitions, and guest lecture student classes and organizations. Through Jeff’s work on the Fund, his volunteer efforts and his role on the Michigan Venture Capital Association’s board of directors, his passion for fostering a productive environment for venture capital investment in the State of Michigan is clearly evident.

Jeff was previously part of Ardesta, where he was Director engaged in sourcing, evaluating, and conducting due diligence on investment opportunities, as well as monitoring and providing assistance to the companies in Ardesta’s portfolio. Prior to joining Ardesta, Jeff was a co-founder of GrapeVINE Technologies, providing Product Management and Marketing for their knowledge management product, eventually resulting in an acquisition by Sun Microsystems. Jeff was also part of the start-up team for MAXfunds.com, an Internet company providing complete coverage of the mutual fund industry, including hundreds of funds not available on any other site. In addition, Jeff spent five years with Ernst & Young’s Information Technology group as a senior consultant.

Jeff is a proud trustee of Western Michigan University and also lends his expertise to a number of local non-profits.

Vince Nystrom

Vince Nystrom

Vice President of Business Development

Vince Nystrom is the Vice President of Business Development with Renaissance. In this role, Vince leads the connection of Renaissance stakeholders with new technologies and start-up companies.

Vince was previously with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, where he led MEDC’s in state business development initiatives including the Pure Michigan Business Connect program, the most successful business connection program in Michigan history. Through the PMBC initiative, Vince helped facilitate over $3 billion in contracts between major corporations and Michigan companies.

Prior to the MEDC position, Vince was the Program Director at the University Research Corridor which is an alliance of the state of Michigan’s three research universities, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. Vince was also the Vice President of Business Development for Ann Arbor SPARK, an innovation-based economic development initiative in the greater Ann Arbor region. Other roles included the Director of Technology Business Development at the MEDC during the creation and launch of the $2 billion 21st Century Jobs Fund, focused on growing Michigan’s competitive-edge technology businesses and the entrepreneurial sector.

Vince has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Michigan State University and worked for over a decade in the manufacturing sector with an emphasis on automation, robotics and machine vision. This experience included work for a Fortune 100 company, a high-tech NASDAQ firm, and a technology start-up.

Jessica Ives

Jessica Ives

Chief Administrative Officer

Jessica joins RVCF as Chief Administrative Officer and will handle office operations, marketing and financing, as well as business development support to reinforce RVCF’s mission of helping to drive forward both innovation and growing of emerging companies in the region. Jessica previously worked for the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) as an analyst for the IT Talent Systems Department where she managed the Michigan Virtual Career Fair events, social media accounts for Pure Michigan Talent Connect and supported the marketing and outreach for the Pure Michigan Talent Connect system. Prior to working with WDA, Jessica worked for the MEDC’s Talent Enhancement Division on the Escalated Services Team where she assisted Michigan employers with finding talent for hard to fill positions and driving talent to utilize Pure Michigan Talent Connect.

Christopher L. Rizik

Christopher L. Rizik

CEO & Fund Manager

Christopher L. Rizik is the Chief Executive Officer and Fund Manager of the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund. With three decades of experience in technology, finance and law, he has played a principal role in dozens of multi-million dollar venture capital transactions.

Prior to forming Renaissance, Chris served as a co-founder, partner, and Board member of Ardesta, LLC, an industry accelerator dedicated to the development of microsystems and other small technologies. Chris also co-founded and served as Managing Director of Avalon Investments, then Michigan’s largest venture capital firm. During his tenure at Avalon and Ardesta, he accepted four consecutive “Deal of the Year” awards from the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

Prior to joining Avalon, Chris was a senior partner with Dickinson Wright PLLC, one of the Midwest’s oldest law firms, where he led the firm’s Emerging Company department. He also passed the Certified Public Accounting examination and worked at PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Chris is also the founder of SoulTracks.com, America’s most popular soul music online magazine.

Chris currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee and is the Finance Subcommittee Chair of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (the state’s economic development organization), and chairs the Executive Committee of the high tech accelerator TechTown and the Investment Committee of the innovative First Step Fund. Chris also serves on the Steering Committee of the New Economy Initiative, the National Advisory Board of the University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer, and boards or advisory boards of Invest Detroit, the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan, University of Detroit Jesuit, and several venture capital funds, including the Procter & Gamble-led fund of funds, Cintrifuse. Chris is a 2017 EY Entrepreneur of the Year winner and a past Crain’s Detroit Business magazine “Newsmaker of the Year.”

Jeffrey Rinvelt

Jeffrey Rinvelt

Principal

Jeffrey Rinvelt is the Principal for the Fund. Jeff’s diverse background in venture capital and technology along with his experience working in various start-up ventures uniquely positions him for this role. In addition, Jeff is quite active in the Michigan start-up community, volunteering his time to mentor young entrepreneurs, judge pitch competitions, and guest lecture student classes and organizations. Through Jeff’s work on the Fund, his volunteer efforts and his role on the Michigan Venture Capital Association’s board of directors, his passion for fostering a productive environment for venture capital investment in the State of Michigan is clearly evident.

Jeff was previously part of Ardesta, where he was Director engaged in sourcing, evaluating, and conducting due diligence on investment opportunities, as well as monitoring and providing assistance to the companies in Ardesta’s portfolio. Prior to joining Ardesta, Jeff was a co-founder of GrapeVINE Technologies, providing Product Management and Marketing for their knowledge management product, eventually resulting in an acquisition by Sun Microsystems. Jeff was also part of the start-up team for MAXfunds.com, an Internet company providing complete coverage of the mutual fund industry, including hundreds of funds not available on any other site. In addition, Jeff spent five years with Ernst & Young’s Information Technology group as a senior consultant.

Jeff is a proud trustee of Western Michigan University and also lends his expertise to a number of local non-profits.

Vince Nystrom

Vince Nystrom

Vice President of Business Development

Vince Nystrom is the Vice President of Business Development with Renaissance. In this role, Vince leads the connection of Renaissance stakeholders with new technologies and start-up companies.

Vince was previously with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, where he led MEDC’s in state business development initiatives including the Pure Michigan Business Connect program, the most successful business connection program in Michigan history. Through the PMBC initiative, Vince helped facilitate over $3 billion in contracts between major corporations and Michigan companies.

Prior to the MEDC position, Vince was the Program Director at the University Research Corridor which is an alliance of the state of Michigan’s three research universities, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. Vince was also the Vice President of Business Development for Ann Arbor SPARK, an innovation-based economic development initiative in the greater Ann Arbor region. Other roles included the Director of Technology Business Development at the MEDC during the creation and launch of the $2 billion 21st Century Jobs Fund, focused on growing Michigan’s competitive-edge technology businesses and the entrepreneurial sector.

Vince has a Mechanical Engineering degree from Michigan State University and worked for over a decade in the manufacturing sector with an emphasis on automation, robotics and machine vision. This experience included work for a Fortune 100 company, a high-tech NASDAQ firm, and a technology start-up.

Jessica Ives

Jessica Ives

Chief Administrative Officer

Jessica joins RVCF as Chief Administrative Officer and will handle office operations, marketing and financing, as well as business development support to reinforce RVCF’s mission of helping to drive forward both innovation and growing of emerging companies in the region. Jessica previously worked for the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) as an analyst for the IT Talent Systems Department where she managed the Michigan Virtual Career Fair events, social media accounts for Pure Michigan Talent Connect and supported the marketing and outreach for the Pure Michigan Talent Connect system. Prior to working with WDA, Jessica worked for the MEDC’s Talent Enhancement Division on the Escalated Services Team where she assisted Michigan employers with finding talent for hard to fill positions and driving talent to utilize Pure Michigan Talent Connect.