MI Roundup: BlueWater Angels, Hygieia, FastTrack Awards, Grand Circus & More

Here’s a look at innovation news across Michigan:

—Thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan‘s Detroit Auto Dealer’s Association Fund, Grand Circus is teaching after-school coding classes to local kids as part of the Detroit Boxing Gym Youth Program. The twice-weekly classes began in November, will teach a range of skills, and are designed to be accessible to all, even beginners.

“Last school year, we participated in Hour of Code, a program by Grand Circus, and we saw an extremely positive response from the kids,” said Sarah Sorenson, the Detroit Boxing Gym’s academic coordinator, in a statement. “It was a catalyst for us to seek out further opportunities to partner with them. We had so many students who really loved the Hour of Code and wanted to continue being involved with coding.”

Comcast is using the city of Detroit to test its gigabit Internet offerings as part of a consumer trial, the company announced last month. Comcast is deploying high-speed Internet across its existing network infrastructure in the city. So far, Comcast has rolled out gigabit Internet speeds using new technology in Detroit, Atlanta, Nashville, and Chicago; the company expects to offer gigabit Internet elsewhere in Michigan in 2017.

—Dixon Doll, a University of Michigan alum and venture capitalist, has gifted the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship with $2 million to endow the position of executive director. It is the largest donation in the center’s history. Doll is considered to be among the “founding fathers” of Silicon Valley as we know it today. He co-founded and served as a general partner at DCM, a VC firm focused on the computer, communications, and Internet industries.

Ann Arbor SPARK is in search of quickly growing “gazelle” companies to honor at its annual FastTrack Awards. Nominees for the 2016 award are required to have had revenue of at least $100,000 in 2012, with annual growth of 20 percent for the next three years. Recipients of the 2017 award will have had revenue of at least $100,000 in 2013, with annual growth of 20 percent for the next three years. Both FastTrack Award applications are available on SPARK’s website and are due on January 31, 2017. The awards will be presented at SPARK’s annual meeting on April 24.

Hygieia, an Ann Arbor-based digital insulin therapy startup, is now offering its d-Nav insulin guidance service as part of a one-year demonstration project with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Medical staff at the newly opened d-Nav Care Center in Livonia began seeing patients in July. The company says its cloud-based technology enables personalized adjustments to simplify insulin dosing, maximizing effectiveness. The 1,000-patient Blue Cross demonstration project will evaluate cost savings associated with the d-Nav service compared to the traditional standard of care among people with type 2 diabetes.

Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC), Michigan’s leading health information exchange (HIE), has announced a partnership with Massachusetts-based iSpecimen to help advance precision medicine research. All GLHC participating providers (129 hospitals and over 4,000 other members) will now have the option to donate their patient-consented biospecimens to scientists doing diagnostic and clinical testing. The partnership is run through electronic medical records, meaning researchers will be able to view and select the specific samples they need in real-time and see clinical data associated with the patient’s medical history.

—The co-working craze has come to Northern Michigan in the form of a shared office building at 128 Columbus Ave. in Grand Haven. The space has 22 private offices and conference rooms available for daily rentals or short- or long-term leases. Amenities include 24-hour keyless entry, a fitness room, showers, and a “party patio.”

—The BlueWater Angels Investment Network has invested an undisclosed amount in Dental Recycling North America, a dental waste management company. BlueWater Angel funds will be used to accelerate sales growth nationally, which are expected to increase by $120 million in the next four years, according to CEO Marc Sussman.

“As a result of moving all our manufacturing activities to the Bay City / Midland area, we will be adding around $20 million in revenue to the area during this time period,” Sussman said in a press release. “We look forward to this growth for both our company and the region.”

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