Roundup: Kyyba Pitch Club, Hygieia, W. Michigan Startup Data & More

Here’s a look at startup news, business competition deadlines, new products, and more from around Michigan’s tech ecosystem:

—Detroit’s WeWork location will host UPS’s X-Port Challenge, where startups can pitch their products or solutions and win up to $10,000 in export shipping credits. Each regional winner will then have the opportunity to participate in a national pitch-off, where the first-place prize is $25,000 in cash. The X-Port Challenge will be held at 1001 Woodward Ave. on Nov. 2; click here to apply.

Kyyba Xcelerator, a Detroit-based incubator for early-stage startups, is hosting a series of events called Pitch Club across the state. At Pitch Club, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from seasoned founders and investors. During the event, experts will discuss the necessary personality traits and business acumen all entrepreneurs should understand in order to be successful in their fundraising efforts.

At each event, three participants will be chosen to practice their pitch by discussing their business plans. Pitch Club will be held at TechTown Detroit on Oct. 18, and at Ann Arbor SPARK on Nov. 29. There will also be stops in Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids in 2018. Click here to register.

EmpowerHER, a partnership between the Ford Motor Company Fund and the Michigan Women’s Foundation, is seeking entrepreneurs working on ventures to solve societal problems to participate in a business plan competition being held next February. At stake is $50,000 in cash and in-kind services. To apply, click here; the deadline is Oct. 6.

—Thanks to a $5 million sponsorship, Ford is the newest member of the American Center for Mobility, an Ypsilanti facility dedicated to testing autonomous and connected vehicles, which is currently under construction. Ford’s contribution brings ACM’s fundraising total to $95 million.

Hygieia, an Ann Arbor medtech startup specializing in digital insulin therapy, has inked a deal with Spirit Healthcare in the U.K. to distribute its d-Nav insulin guidance product. The financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Hygieia already has a presence in the U.K., where d-Nav has been available in Northern Ireland since 2015. As of next month, Spirit will make d-Nav available to more than 3 million patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in England, Scotland, and Wales. The company said in a press release that in 2016, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust presented data demonstrating that National Health Service patients using d-Nav experienced a significant drop in average blood glucose and a substantial reduction in diabetes care costs within 12 months.

The Michigan Venture Capital Association has released some data highlighting findings from its 2017 West Michigan entrepreneurial study. In the last three years, West Michigan experienced a 20 percent increase in the number of venture-backed startups, and the region is now home to a total of 28 such companies. The study also found that 50 percent of the startups receiving venture capital funding in the region are life science companies, and 29 percent are information technology companies. In the past year, 13 startups in West Michigan received more than $58 million from venture capital firms.

—Last month, Holland-based Genesis Innovation Group announced a strategic partnership with Spectrum Health Innovations to bring a new shoulder brace to market. This is the first partnership between the two organizations, and the financial details were not disclosed.

Developed by James Lebolt, a Spectrum Health orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, the dynamic tensioning shoulder brace is designed to properly support patients recovering from shoulder injuries to the rotator cuff, labrum, or other muscles or tendons supporting the glenohumeral joint. Genesis will work with Lebolt and the Spectrum Health team to develop up to 10 functional prototypes that will be tested for marketability through feedback from potential patients. The 26-week project is intended to provide the framework for a product launch in mid-2019.

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