Sonodontics, Locker Lifestyle Win Big at GreenLight Competition

We have a smaller startup ecosystem in Michigan, and that sometimes makes it seem like the same companies are always pitching at startup competitions. That was not the case with this year’s installment of the GreenLight Business Competition, which featured 20 startups from around the state presenting their business plans to a panel of expert judges drawn from small-business and venture capital communities.

Co-created in 2013 by Spartan Innovations and the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, GreenLight is the second-largest annual startup competition in Michigan. Nine winners were selected from the 20 finalists—two companies, Locker Lifestyle and Smart Staffing, won in multiple categories—and they split cash prizes worth a total of $100,000.

Here’s a bit more on the winners:

—Sonodontics ($40,000): A University of Michigan student startup, Ann Arbor-based Sonodontics is developing an intra-oral 3D ultrasound scanning device for early diagnosis of gum disease.

Locker Lifestyle ($25,000 and $6,000): Locker Lifestyle, founded by Grand Valley State University student athlete Kat Samardzija, was born out of her frustration with having to take her entire wallet when she went to the gym. All she really needed to take was her student ID, so she searched for a small, wearable pouch to hold her valuables. Finding nothing that suited her purpose, she started Locker Lifestyle. The company sells patent-pending “wrist lockers” online for people heading to concerts, sporting events, the gym, and other places where carrying a wallet or purse isn’t practical, yet the need to stash a few crucial items remains.

MedKairos ($10,000): Another team made up of U-M students, MedKairos is on a mission to reshape the future of digital pathology. According to the company’s website, one in five biopsies fail to return a diagnosis and have to be repeated. MedKairos’s Bioptic device verifies the biopsy sample’s quality at the point of care so patients will only have to do the procedure once.

AgHelp ($7,500): With uncertainties in federal immigration policy affecting the number of migrant workers available to harvest U.S. crops, it’s become harder to find steady agricultural labor. AgHelp is a bilingual, all-in-one website connecting workers to jobs and social services providers to workers.

Smart Staffing ($5,000 and $2,500): Smart Staffing optimizes the matching of caregivers and clients for private duty home healthcare companies. Its map-based tools provide staffing recommendations based on location, client needs, personality, and caregiver background.

Just Duckin Hunting Chair ($2,500): Did you know that many duck hunters simply park it on an overturned bucket and wait for their quarry to appear? Brighton-based Just Duckin knew there had to be a better, more comfortable way, so its hunter-founder built a lightweight, easily transported “duckin chair” that features cushioned seats and back and foot rests, but is also stable alongside the muddiest banks.

—Every Two Minutes ($1,000): A reference to the statistic that indicates how often Americans are sexually assaulted, Every Two Minutes is a mobile learning platform with prevention education, skills, and on-demand tools to help young people fight sexual violence.

For a complete list and descriptions of all 20 GreenLight finalists, click here.

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