Automation Alley Funds Hybrid Power Trains, Religious Social Networking, and Clean Diesel

Automation Alley, a technology business association based in Troy, MI, has invested $300,000 in Southeast Michigan technology companies, the group announced Thursday.

Automation Alley invests a maximum of $250,000 in seed money per company to help them accelerate the growth of their technology-based businesses.

Companies receiving funds this time around are:

Cargo Solutions Group: $250,000 for the Sterling Heights, MI, company researching hybrid power trains and solar recharging systems. Paul Chapman, president and CEO, said the seed money is key in helping to close a “comprehensive investment deal with several partners,” according to a prepared statement.

CircleBuilder Software: $25,000 for the Franklin, MI, company that produces social networking software for faith-based and other “cause-related” organizations. CircleBuilder was one of 30 startup companies selected to present at an Angel Venture Fair at the Union League in Philadelphia on April 6. Howard Brown, company founder and CEO, won the 2010 Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship “Elevator Pitch” competition, an event that celebrates innovation in the Great Lakes. Brown said in a statement that CircleBuilder will use the funds to execute its market and distribution strategy.

Clean Emissions Fluids: $25,000 for the Detroit company that develops biofuel and clean diesel systems. The company has developed a patent-pending system called FAST (Fluids Affordably STored), which stores and blends variable-ratio biofuels and fuel additives designed for clean diesels.

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