Business Plan Competition Displays Talent, Diverse Technologies
2014 marked the 5th annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, where Michigan’s top entrepreneurs and startups compete for $1 million in prizes. Every year I’m blown away by the startups’ innovative technologies and the level of competition, but what impressed me most this year was the outstanding diversity present throughout the competition.
This year’s Accelerate Michigan competitors hailed from all across the state and presented technologies that spanned all industries, from energy to consumer to defense. Neuvokas Corporation, for example, is an advanced manufacturing company from Calumet in the Upper Peninsula that developed a high-speed process to produce reinforced rebar – an essential material for construction. As Neuvokas made its pitch to the judges, presenting just down the hall was Sisu Global Health, a Grand Rapids startup that connects modern medical technology to developing nations in Sub-Saharan Africa.
SkySpecs, the Ann Arbor-based startup that develops sensory technology for drones to avoid collisions, took home the grand prize of $500,000 in seed capital. With the ability to make drones safer and easier to use, SkySpecs’ technology has applications in markets ranging from consumer to infrastructure inspection. Cribspot.com, the competition’s runner-up, is an online housing marketplace the helps college students find and manage off-campus homes. The wide collection of startups competing in Accelerate Michigan proves exactly why Michigan’s ecosystem is the perfect destination for any entrepreneur to start a business. Anyone with great ideas and a strong work ethic is capable of doing great things in Michigan. As successful as this year’s competition was, it was only get better and better. See below for the startups that joined SkySpecs and Cribspot.com as finalists. The full list of competitors can be found here. Akervall Technologies Inc. (Saline) – Akervall Technologies invented, developed and manufactures ultra-thin, comfortable low weight mouth guards – SISU™ — for sports, dentistry, military and hospitals with superior protection against dental injuries. TurtleCell (Ann Arbor) – TurtleCell developed the world’s first smartphone case with retractable headphones offering premium audio. Ornicept (Ann Arbor) – Ornicept’s flagship product, SPECTEO®, is an end-to-end fieldwork collaboration platform that is reinventing the way that field data is collected. Surclean Inc. (Wixom) – SurClean’s laser technology selectively removes paint, debris, oxides and other surface coatings from various surfaces. AMACS (Ann Arbor) – AMACS supplies environmental monitoring and control solutions for specialty applications. Levanto Financial (Troy) – Levanto is a software and service platform that provides easy access to dedicated personal finance experts through. Movellus Circuits, Inc. (Ann Arbor) – Movellus developed technology to make clock generators for electronics smaller, cheaper, more powerful and more energy efficient. FreeStride Therapeutics (Ann Arbor) – FreeStride Therapeutics is a veterinary pharmaceutical company with a novel and safe therapy for a broad spectrum of veterinary bone and joint diseases in multiple species.