Roundup, Part Two: Venture Fellows, IoT Pitch Contest, Clinc, More

On Tuesday, we published a roundup of innovation briefs from across the state. The year has gotten off to such a busy start that we’re back with part two. Without further ado, here’s a look at Michigan’s recent technology news:

—Last month, the Michigan Venture Capital Association kicked off its annual Venture Fellows program, which matches emerging talent with local VC firms in an effort to increase the number of venture professionals working in Michigan. Once on the job, the fellows are tasked with finding promising early-stage companies in need of growth capital. New this year: candidates are required to have a track record of actively helping to build a diverse, inclusive community and a commitment to diversity issues. In addition, venture firms participating in the program will be asked to submit a statement regarding their firm’s commitment to building an inclusive entrepreneurial and investment community in Michigan.

“Participating in the Venture Fellows program helped open the door to opportunities that were critical to advancing my career in venture capital,” Reda Jaber, director of business development at Gemphire Therapeutics and partner at IncWell, said in a statement. “With this program, we have the opportunity to help build leaders and advocates who will shape the future of the venture capital industry in Michigan.”

IoT Tech Connect and Kyyba Innovations are hosting an IoT pitch competition on April 4 at the IoT Tech Connect event. The competition is open to IoT companies working in the areas of autonomous and connected vehicles, augmented and virtual reality, connected tech, smart cities/smart homes, industrial IoT, and cybersecurity. During the contest, six finalists will compete before an audience of investors, technologists, and industry executives. The winner will be eligible for $50,000 in investment and support services from Kyyba, as well as mentorship from the organization’s network. The deadline to apply is March 4; click here for details.

—Wayne State University has appointed Charles Shanley as vice-dean for clinical affairs for the university’s medical school. Throughout his career, Shanley has served in a number of clinical and academic management roles, including senior vice president for surgical services and co-medical director at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, one of the largest surgical enterprises by volume in the U.S.

—In February, Ann Arbor fintech startup Clinc announced it surpassed $4.5 million in annual revenue in 2017. To keep the company’s momentum going, it has hired Helen Yu as its chief growth officer, who will oversee marketing, sales, and customer success. Yu comes to Clinc from Marketo, where she was group vice president handling enterprise account management and professional services. She has more than 20 years experience in the tech industry, and has also worked at Hyperion, Oracle, and Adobe.

—App developer Detroit Labs has partnered with audio equipment manufacturer Electro-Voice to build a companion app to the ELX200 speaker system. Called EV QuickSmart Mobile, the app allows DJs, musicians, and other audio professionals to control and adjust up to six ELX200 portable loudspeakers with a mobile phone or tablet, simplifying the audio equipment setup process. You can find EV QuickSmart in the iOS app store and Google Play.

Ashe Media has launched new podcast called Michigan Makers, which seeks to highlight local “entrepreneurs, investors, makers, movers, and shakers.” Podcast guests so far include MySwimPro’s Fares Ksebati and SkySpecs’ Danny Ellis. Michigan Makers is available on Stitcher and in the iTunes store.

—Thanks to Comcast’s recent acquisition of MIcom’s Highland Park cable system, residents will soon have access to Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. Internet Essentials is a high-speed Internet adoption program for low-income Americans, and will be available to eligible households as soon as the transaction closes. The program provides participants with high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase a computer for less than $150; and several ways to access free digital literacy training.

TechTown Detroit has appointed four new board members: Jill Ford, principal at Toyota AI Ventures; Kathryn Levine, vice president of corporate marketing and customer experience at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; Mike Rafferty, vice president of small business services at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation; and Jim Saber, NextEnergy’s new president and CEO.

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