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Antonio Luck’s next act: Launching $100 million global venture fund

Antonio Luck is departing Endeavor Detroit to take his venture capital skills global.

Luck is helping launch a $100 million fund with four other former leaders of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit organization that operates business mentorship programs in 30 countries. His last day as managing director of Endeavor Detroit is Oct. 31, though he will help advise as to the job transitions to successor Diana Callaghan.

Luck will carry the same title to the new fund, MatterScale Ventures, formed this summer. The fund plans to focus on disrupting highly regulated industries such as finance, health care, and manufacturing by investing in tech companies positioned to scale up. Luck will oversee the Midwest from his base in Detroit. The other managing directors are in San Francisco, Mexico City, Istanbul and Bogota, Colombia.

“We have the connectivity in the ecosystem that comes from Endeavor and our previous lives,” Luck said. “We thought that continuing to do what we’re doing and adding a layer of capital on top was the next step.”

Luck said the new venture is in its early stages, and he did not want to put a time stamp on the fundraising goal. Incorporated in Delaware, the fund is being marketed to high-net-worth investors from around the world and will be administered primarily from the West Coast.

It has raised $2 million so far from more than a dozen venture partners, including Joe Hessling, CEO of Troy-based 365 Retail Markets, and Jason Wenk, CEO of Grand Rapids-based FormulaFolios who participated in the Endeavor Detroit program.ADVERTISING

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Luck said he has several other soft commitments from investors elsewhere in the fund’s footprint. He said $100 million in the capital would provide seed investment for 40 companies — two companies in each geography per year — as well as follow-on support. He said he is looking to invest in companies in Southeast Michigan but declined to give names before conducting due diligence.

There’s nothing obvious linking Detroit, San Francisco and the capital cities of Mexico and Colombia, but Luck believes entrepreneurs run in a tight circle even across borders.

“We’ve been seeing the pipeline. We know the entrepreneurs, we know the investors,” he said. “It seemed obvious to give (the fund) a shot.”

Luck, included in Crain’s “20 in their 20s” in 2008, has been Endeavor Detroit’s managing director since its inception in 2015. Under his watch, it has helped 17 member companies generate $140 million in revenue and raise $83.5 million, according to the organization.

Prior to Endeavor, Luck served as director of business acceleration, entrepreneurship, innovation and venture capital at the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Callaghan, who started with Endeavor Detroit last Wednesday with 15 years of experience in business consulting, said she intends to take the baton and run.

“I’m looking to scale some of our services to reach more entrepreneurs, and I’m excited about going on a little bit of a learning journey,” she said. “I’m really going to be building off of what Antonio and his team have already created.”

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