Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0 Invests $325K in Five Startups

The Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0 (MPSF), a $6.8 million statewide investment fund that backs early-stage technology companies, has announced its latest batch of capital deployments.

The five companies receiving a total of $325,000 range from an Ann Arbor startup that has developed a smart skylight, to a new online tool for college students looking for housing, to a fuel injection system that improves engine performance. Read on for details.

Arborlight, Ann Arbor: The Michigan Angel Fund announced in March that it led Arborlight’s $1.7 million investment round; the MPSF participated in the round with a $125,000 contribution. Arborlight’s daylight emulation system uses algorithms and LED technology to create WiFi-enabled fixtures that mimic traditional skylights and can be “tuned” to match a user’s preferences or weather conditions in real time.

Cribspot, Detroit: This startup, focused on the student rental market, has been a roll lately. The company won the Techweek Detroit startup competition last month and is in the middle of a national expansion of its services. The MPSF added $50,000 to a round led by angel investors.

ENT Biotech Solutions, Detroit: The MPSF is a return investor in this medical device startup. ENT Biotech has created the Elasso, a single-use tool that cuts, cauterizes, and removes tissue during surgery to remove tonsils or adenoids. Last summer, the MPSF chose ENT Biotech for its first investment, worth $100,000. This time around, the pre-seed fund contributed $50,000 to an angel funding round.

NanoRETE, Lansing: NanoRETE aims to replace the current diagnostic tests for tuberculosis with a single, point-of-care test at a price it deems affordable. The MPSF pitched in $50,000 in a round with the Michigan Accelerator Fund the Michigan State University Foundation.

—PicoSpray, Ann Arbor: Founded in 2012 by engineering students at the University of Michigan, PicoSpray has developed a patent-pending fuel injection system for small-engine vehicles (like scooters) that helps make the engine run cleaner and more efficiently. The MPSF co-invested to the tune of $50,000 in a round that also included funding from an undisclosed “major” manufacturer and Invest Detroit. (A bit of unsolicited advice here for the company: Please use a fraction of this money to create a website—you’ve been around too long not to have one.)

The Pre-Seed Fund 2.0 is managed by Invest Michigan, a Detroit-based nonprofit, with funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. All companies that receive funding are required to secure a minimum of 1:1 in matching co-investment funds.

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