Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition Winners Announced

Yesterday, the winners of the annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition were announced after a two-day competition at the Book Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit.

At stake was  more than $1 million in cash prizes, plus awards of services, staffing, and software. More than that, Accelerate Michigan winners are usually considered among Michigan’s most promising startups and companies to watch.

The $500,000 grand prize went to Varsity News Network, the Grand Rapids-based Web platform that makes it easy for high school athletic directors to manage social communication with teams and the community, and automatically generates media coverage for athletics in the process.

The second prize of $100,00 went to Covaron Advanced Materials, an Ann Arbor company that has created a patent-pending technology called Petraforge, a thermosetting material that can provide advanced physical properties comparable to advanced ceramics but more durable, relatively low cost, and able to use raw materials from industrial waste.

The $50,000 third prize went to the Upper Peninsula’s REL Inc., the high-tech manufacturer of lightweight metal matrix composite components and custom equipment.

Other sponsored and sector-specific prizes of $25,000 each went to:

Inmatech, a University of Michigan spinout startup focused on commercializing its next-generation supercapacitors for power management.

Wave Aircraft, which has created an amphibious aircraft that reduces total travel time, being equally comfortable on land or water.

LiteBrake Tech, the developer of a patent-pending vehicle braking component targeting applications for consumer cars and light trucks.

PlanReaction, a company that has developed a proprietary, cloud-based software that automatically generates building floor plans and furniture layouts.

Pindrop, an app that provides indoor mapping and location technologies to assist consumers in finding products and places using their mobile devices.

AutoBike, the designer of a bicycle that shifts automatically, allowing riders to go up and down hills with ease and a controlled speed.

—ENT Biotech Solutions, which has developed a surgical tool for adenoid, tonsil, and soft tissue removal.

CureLauncher, online service that helps connect patients to clinical trials, translates the language describing the trials into lay terms, matches patients to trials, and contacts the trial site on behalf of patients.

TurtleCell, the maker of an iPhone case that includes retractable headphones, won the $10,000 people’s choice award.

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