Roundup, Part One: NextEnergy, Application Deadlines, U-M News, More
Even though we’re hardly two months into the year, 2018 has already been packed with local innovation news. In fact, we have so much material that we’re splitting this roundup into two parts; the second part will run later this week.
Here’s a look at some of the recent tech news unfolding across Michigan:
— The results are in from this year’s Michigan Business Challenge, a student startup competition sponsored by the University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute. More than $100,000 in prizes were awarded this year, the competition’s largest haul so far, according to U-M. ClotBuster, which is developing a device to quickly dissolve blood clots in the treatment of stroke patients, won the $25,000 grand prize. PedalCell, which creates bike-powered phone chargers for the bike-sharing industry, took home the $15,000 Impact Track award.
Another medical device startup, MedKairos, won the $10,000 runner-up prize and a $2,000 outstanding presentation award for its platform to test and verify the quality of tissue collected during biopsies. Two more companies won $2,500 finalist awards: Advanced LiDAR Semantics, a self-driving car startup, and Sonodontics, which is developing an intra-oral 3D ultrasound device for the early diagnosis of gum disease.
—Effective this week, NextEnergy has a new president and CEO. Outgoing CEO Jean Redfield is headed back to Fordsell Machine Products, the precision manufacturing company she co-owns with her husband. Stepping in to replace Redfield is Jim Saber, who has been in charge of NextEnergy’s business development and technology commercialization efforts since 2004. As part of the transition, Angella Durkin has also been promoted from vice president of finance and administration to the newly created position of chief operations officer.
—Last month, 30 teams of graduate students from U-M’s’s Ross School of Business participated in the university’s annual Leadership Crisis Challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to prepare students for real-world corporate crises, testing their ability to think quickly under intense pressure. The student teams assume the identities of a company’s senior leadership group and are tasked with navigating an ever-changing, negative event unfolding in real time over 24 hours.
Sponsored by PNC Bank and organized by U-M’s Sanger Leadership Center, this year’s challenge involved a fictional crisis with an autonomous vehicle startup. After facing questions from a panel of real journalists at a mock press conference, the winning team took home a $3,000 scholarship. A second crisis challenge for undergrad students will take place March 22-23; you can follow the action on Twitter and Instagram through the hashtag #CrisisChallenge2018.
— Midwest startups interested in pitching to the more than 400 national investors and tech transfer professionals expected to attend this year’s Michigan Growth Capital Symposium have a few more days left to apply for a spot. Those applying should be seeking seed or Series A or B rounds of funding; applications from all industries are welcome. Click here to apply before 11:59 p.m. ET on March 6.
—Genomenon, the U-M spinout responsible for Mastermind, a database of publicly available scientific literature to help clinicians more accurately interpret genomes, has struck another partnership deal. Last week, Genomenon announced that GenomeNext, a genome informatics company, will embed search results from Mastermind in its Olympus platform to simplify and speed up variant curation for genomic analysis. The financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed. The companies also announced that they have entered into a reseller agreement, where GenomeNext will sell Mastermind Professional Edition to its Olympus users as part of the Olympus suite.
—DTX Launch Detroit, a 10-week tech startup accelerator for Michigan college students and recent graduates, is now accepting applications for its summer 2018 program. Participants will receive a stipend of $2,500 per individual (up to $7,500 per team), and the program culminates with a showcase and pitch competition. This year, one team will be awarded a $10,000 grand prize sponsored by General Motors. Click here to apply; the deadline is April 6. DTX Launch Detroit is a programmatic partnership between TechTown Detroit, the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, Grand Circus, the Henry Ford Innovation Institute, Invest Detroit, and NextEnergy.
—Endeavor Detroit, the nonprofit connecting Michigan’s entrepreneurs with a global network of mentors, service providers, and investors, has selected five new local Endeavor Entrepreneurs to join its network. Endeavor Entrepreneurs are provided with custom programs and resources to spark growth in their mid-stage startups. Endeavor’s new members are Jan and Sassa Akervall of Akervall Technologies, Jason Wenk of FormulaFolios, and Tom Brady and Danny Ellis of SkySpecs.