| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter

Emerging Technology : News

958 Emerging Technology Articles | Page: | Show All

Henry Ford Health System chooses Ann Arbor-based software to manage clinical trials

Research pharmacists at Detroit's Henry Ford Health System should soon be able to spend more time supporting clinical trials of cutting-edge drugs and less time pushing paper thanks to automation software from Ann Arbor's McCreadie Group.

The research hospital recently chose McCreadie's Vestigo system to manage its Investigational Drug Service (IDS) for clinical trials as it looks to increase its number of active studies over the next few years.

HFHS spokesperson Brenda Craig says an initiative to expand the hospital pharmacy's offerings, and a new cancer center planned to open in 2018, will drive the uptick in clinical trials.

"Vestigo is a necessary tool for that expansion," Craig says. "[It] will increase efficiency through the use of automation for many of the day-to-day activities in our [IDS], including dispensing, drug accountability, and revenue generation."

While Vestigo had all the functionality the hospital was looking for, not having to look very far for it didn't hurt. Craig says McCreadie's close proximity to Henry Ford made it easier to talk about the project and see the system in action.

"We have also collaborated with the McCreadie Group for other systems in the past and have maintained a great working relationship with them," she says.

Launched in 2005, Vestigo is a web-based software designed specifically for hospital pharmacies that do clinical research trials. By providing a standardized workflow, simple user tools, and accurate data collection, Vestigo automates labor-intensive processes and helps keep pharmacies compliant with regulations. And since Vestigo is a web-based application, there's no hardware or software to maintain.

Henry Ford Health System is McCreadie Group's second Michigan client for Vestigo; the first was the University of Michigan Health System. Vestigo is used by more than 70 clients nationwide.

Michael Schlesselman, McCreadie Group's director of research products, says Vestigo will provide HFHS with flexibility and efficiency as it grows its pharmacy program and involvement with clinical trials.

"It allows the hospital pharmacy to focus on providing great service to the clinical research team and patient rather than manually completing required paperwork," he says.

Logicdrop expands, set to launch new product

Earlier this year, technology startup LogicDrop was crammed in a tiny space in Berkley, its founders finding every which way to fit up to 15 employees and computers and work desks. 
 
Things are a little roomier now that Logicdrop has moved into a spacious second-floor space on the same block as popular nightspots Sneakers, the Loving Touch, and Woodward Avenue Brewers in Ferndale. And that's been a boon to the organization.

“We have a very close-knit team. We spend a lot of time working on the culture of our company," says Logicdrop co-founder KimJohn Quin. "We try to bring that startup mentality to our team."

Logicdrop co-founders KimJohn Quinn, John Shuell, and Jared Grabill met each other 10 to 12 years ago, each coming from a long history of working at startups. They've been working on some form of their flagship technology product, Logicdrop Studio, for almost two decades now.

The technology has finally caught up to the vision they first shared nearly twenty years ago. It's a business rules platform that allows users to customize data analysis. They say their platform cuts weeks of computing time down to mere minutes.

Logicdrop is gearing up for the release of Logicdrop Studio and the bigger space is a reflection of how the company feels about its future. They've opened up their signature intelligence platform to a round of beta tests and expect to release a final version in the second quarter of 2017. The cofounders say that no matter their future growth, they want to maintain their startup mentality. 

The workplace culture is decidedly loose. There's no dress code, and there are no titles. Employees don't have to punch in and out, don't have to put in for vacation days; all that Logicdrop expects of its employees is that they complete the tasks they've been assigned.

Startups are trial-and-error enterprises, Shuell says, but they've worked it out to where Logicdrop is now growing. The team has discovered that while the Logicdrop Studio product is their goal, maintaining a service-based model to complement the development process of Studio allows them to keep the lights on. 
 
And it's their reputation that has carried them through; each of their clients have come to them, and not the other way around, says Shuell. Clients have included automotive companies, hospitals, law firms, banks, and Fortune 500 company Nestle.

Another way Logicdrop has kept the lights on is to hire college students. The company believes strongly in this practice; it allows them to keep costs down without having to outsource offshore talent. While it's not an official internship program, the company contends that the students it hires are better prepared for the workforce—should they decide to leave the company after graduation, which is not often the case.

"We expect everyone to understand why they do something, not to go online and say, I found the solution, place in your code and say I'm done," Quinn says. "We want our developers to understand why they did that. And that's been a huge feather in our cap."

Though they first may be leery of the age of some of the developers, clients recommend and return to Logicdrop because of the team's successes, according to Quinn. With the pending official release of Studio and expected growth, Logicdrop is currently hiring.

A closer look at U-M's new driverless vehicle startup tenants

Peter Brink has thought a lot about cars that drive you places instead of the other way around.

"The day of the truly automated vehicle where you get in and say, 'Take me to this location,' ... might be 10 years off, but it's probably not as far as off we think it is," says Brink, director of engineering at the driverless vehicle startup PolySync.

University of Michigan students will begin working with Brink and other developers and engineers in the driverless vehicle field on research that could help make that forecast a reality.

The joint incubator program by U-M's Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) and Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) is bringing three West Coast startups in to work with 11 engineering students for the fall semester. Portland, Oregon-based PolySync and San Francisco-based Zendrive and CivilMaps will move resources into the TechLab incubator at U-M's Mcity autonomous vehicle test facility. The initiative aims to help develop both students' careers and the startups' own new technologies.

Jay Ellis, director of the CFE's Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program, and MTC deputy director Carrie Morton led the yearlong search for partner companies, narrowing over 30 candidates down to three. Candidates had to do work that either transfers drivership from humans to machines, or makes vehicles and infrastructure more connected. More importantly, they needed a program that put student development first.

"All three of these companies got that right away," Ellis says.

In the case of CivilMaps, students will help map and then localize the Mcity environment for a car's robot "driver" to read. The 3-D mapping company's focus is on making self-driving cars enjoyable and trustworthy for passengers, says Sravan Puttagunta, CEO and co-founder. Maps generated by sensor data and CivilMaps' technology are meant to replicate the human experience of navigating the physical world autonomously.

"Mcity is a great test bench for our technology stack," Puttagunta says. "A controlled environment lets us create very specific scenarios to stress-test our technology stack while having a captive audience that comes from the automotive industry."

Zendrive returns to Mcity this fall after a successful pilot run with the TechLab program back in February that led to summer internships for two students. The mobile technology company was founded by Google and Facebook veterans, and specializes in data and analytics for improving road safety.

Ellis says students will help identify and validate vehicle maneuvers using smartphone data and use that to quantify drivers' risk. They will also compare vehicle and phone data to confirm that they correlate—for instance, noting how a phone registers a hard right turn when a vehicle makes one on the road.

A driverless tech company for other driverless tech companies, PolySync's middleware platform collects and presents data from a variety of vehicle sensors. The software is meant to help developers easily obtain data useful for writing code for new autonomous vehicle applications.

Brink and the team at PolySync will work with students to produce an autonomous vehicle that can get to a predetermined destination. Part of the process will involve watching their calculations fail, which is harder to do in the real world.

"When you're driving out on the streets of Portland or Chicago or Ann Arbor, you don't want to drive the wrong direction on a one-way street, or constantly be crossing lane lines," Brink says. "Mcity provides us a captured enviroment where we can collect a lot of this 'driving badly' data, because that allows us to test the automatic drive algorithms."

Brink's initial interest in the program was to get involved with what students were doing while also exposing them to the work going on at PolySync. The research potential became apparent as something of a bonus.

"I realized after the fact what a great opportunity it was to do all this other stuff," he says. "I hesitate to use the term, but it really is synergy."

 

Akervall Technologies makes Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies

Akervall Technologies started out slow and steady, but a recent growth spurt has landed it a spot on Inc. Magazine's latest Inc. 5000 ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

The Saline-based mouthguard manufacturer came in at No. 1,130 on the 2016 list, released last week, with a three-year growth rate of 342 percent and $2.5 million in revenue for 2015.

Sassa Akervall, CEO of Akervall Technologies, says the ranking helps tell the story of the business and its products.

"Getting recognition this way is beyond fantastic and a great way of getting the word out that we are a company in it for the long run," she says.

Akervall's husband, Jan Akervall, got the idea for the company's flagship product, the SISU mouthguard, while working his day job as an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Unimpressed with the guards used to protect patients' teeth in the operating room, he wanted to find something better and ended up designing his own.

After launching in 2008, the Akervalls kept overhead low early on by operating out of their basement and requiring payment up front from retailers and distributors. Sassa Akervall attributes the company's tremendous growth to a number of factors: recent award wins (including 50 Companies to Watch in Michigan in 2014 and Accelerate Michigan's advanced materials track in 2014 and 2015), creative marketing and sales efforts, and product research and innovations.

"I always say that we grew very slowly and very mindfully," Sassa Akervall says.

The Akervalls permanently relocated their family to Ann Arbor from Sweden in 2004. They fell in love with the area a few years before that, when they had moved here temporarily for Jan's post-doctoral work at the University of Michigan. A job offer in the area helped bring them back, but launching a startup wasn't part of the original plan.

Today Akervall Technologies is run from its own facility in Saline with a staff of 20 and openings for an electrical engineer, accounting assistant, and more production workers. There are also new products on the way, with the first of them launching this fall. Sassa Akervall says the company is planning to expand its facility in the near future to accommodate continuing demand for its product.

Delphinus Medical Technologies lands in larger HQ in Novi

Newer, bigger and better offices often come to startups that lock down a multi-million-dollar venture capital raises. Add Delphinus Medical Technologies to that list now that it has moved on up to a newer, bigger and better headquarters in Novi.

The biotech startup has called Plymouth its home for most of its five years. Then it landed one of the largest rounds of venture capital in Michigan history last fall. The $40 million Series C round (led by Farmington Hills-based Beringea) will go toward developing and selling its whole breast ultrasound system, growing its team and finding a bigger place to house that team. At 21,000 square feet, the company's new home in Novi is three times larger than its previous office in Plymouth.

"It's just a fabulous facility," says Mark Forchette, president and CEO of Delphinus Medical Technologies. "It has a great, inspiring cultural vibe to it."

Delphinus Medical Technologies is creating a new way to detect breast cancer utilizing technology spun out of Wayne State University and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. SoftVue is a whole breast ultrasound system that allows physicians to image the entire breast, including the chest wall. The technology platform incorporates a circular ultrasound transducer, producing cross-sectional ultrasound cross-sections through the entire volume of breast tissue. 

The new headquarters will provide more space for research and development of SoftVue. Delphinus Medical Technologies has hired eight people so far this year, growing its team to just shy of 50 people.

Delphinus Medical Technologies signed a lease on its new office with the idea of providing enough room for R&D and also to act as a showcase for that technology. Forchette expects to host frequent visits from healthcare leaders, customers and vendors, so the company has added a dedicated demonstration room.

"We have room to grow," Forchette says. "We have a facility here that is multifunctional. We have lab space and office space and demonstration space."

NextChallenge aims to smarten up urban infrastructure tech

Technology upgrades are an everyday part of our lives. New phones, computers, and entertainment centers are practically a rite of passage in the 21st Century. Cutting edge technology in public infrastructure, not so much.

It's why NextEnergy is hosting NextChallenge: Smart Cities, a competition to find new hardware and software solutions that address unmet challenges facing urban areas. 

"These are 15 to 30 year assets," says Jean Redfield, president & CEO of NextEnergy. "People expect a return for their decisions. And it can be hard for tech companies to penetrate these environments."

NextEnergy is partnering with DENSO, DTE Energy, and Wells Fargo to launch the challenge. The winner will receive up to $80,000 in seed capital from the Wells Fargo Foundation to demonstrate and validate its solution. Potential winning ideas could range from developing smart parking technologies to smart building solutions.

Developing those technologies is one thing. Getting the market to adapt to them is another. Most of those technologies are big-ticket items with, at best, a limited track record. It's a bet most aren't willing to make on their largest purchases.

"People have to see that they work in the context of the existing system before they are willing to try it," Redfield says.

NextChallenge: Smart Cities wants to bridge that gap. It is accepting applications through July 28. An information webinar will take place on June 9 between 2 and 3 p.m. For information, click here.

Nexcess adds two more data center support facilities in Southfield

Nexcess is doubling down on its commitment to Southfield, adding two new data center support facilities this spring and making plans for a new data center.

The 16-year old company specializes in providing IT, data center, and managed hosting services to companies large and small. It is currently in the latter stages of building out two data center support facilities that would double its footprint in Southfield.

"We like having our data centers near our people and our people near our data centers," says Chris Wells, CEO of Nexcess.

Nexcess has has data centers around the world, including in Dearborn, the United Kingdom, Australia and the Netherlands. While it's grown internationally, most of those jobs have been added in Metro Detroit. It currently employs 112 people and expects to add another 35 after it opens and staffs up its new facilities on Melrose Avenue in Southfield this spring.

Nexcess averages about 30 percent annual revenue growth. It has spent the last six years on the Inc 5000 list and the last three years on the Deloitte Fast 500 list. Because of this growth, its data center facilities working capacity has begun approaching its limits. 

"We're going to need to build a new data center soon," Wells says. "Our current Southfield data center is approaching 60 percent usage. It's starting to get a little tight."

Plymouth-based Celsee finds customers for its cancer-detection technology worldwide

Plymouth-based Celsee Diagnostics firm is currently building out its team and growing revenue streams that support its cancer-detection technology.

The life sciences startup formerly known as DeNovo Sciences employs 11 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees after hiring two more over the last year. Those new hires include a new chief science officer and vice president of commercial operations.

"We're building out a leadership team to get our commercialization up and moving quickly," says Kalyan Handique, CEO of Celsee Diagnostics.

Celsee Diagnostics is developing a platform for early detection of cancer from blood samples. Its fully automated system can detect cancer, primarily breast and colon cancers. The idea is to create a less-invasive method than the traditionally painful route of biopsies. Celsee is in the midst of starting clinical trials on this platform. The trials for European approval are expected to be done within six months. U.S. trials are expected to run into next year.

Celsee Diagnostics also raised a small amount of money from investors last year, but it is focusing on generating more revenues to cover its expenses, selling its platform to researchers in the U.S. and overseas.

"We expect to cross $1 million this year," Handique says. "It will make investing in our product easier."

Celsee Diagnostics is also selling its platform in Israel and some developing countries, including Brazil and China.

"We're starting to get more traction in those countries," Handique says.

Source: Kalyan Handique, CEO of Celsee Diagnostics
Writer: Jon Zemke

Online Tech aims to hit 100-employee mark by 2018

Online Tech is on track to hit some big numbers in the not-too-distant future. The biggest milestone might be the size of its staff within the next two years.

"We expect growth close to 30 percent a year," says Yan Ness, CEO of Online Tech. "In fact we expect that over the next three years. We expect to be at 100 people by 2018."

The Ann Arbor-based company runs data centers and specializes in providing software for cloud infrastructure for large companies. It has five data centers across the Midwest, including two in Ann Arbor, one in Flint, one in Westland, and another in Indianapolis. It also runs two cloud-computing infrastructures in mid Michigan Indianapolis.

The cloud infrastructures allow Online Tech’s clients to more safety and maneuverability for their IT needs. That way they can either back or switch their IT needs from one infrastructure or another with a few key strokes.

"A customer can run their applications in our cloud infrastructure in mid Michigan and a fail copy in Indianapolis," Ness says. "Or it could have two resilient copies in both infrastructures."

Online Tech also recently introduced a new product called disaster recovery as a service, which allows its customers to essentially back up their IT and data infrastructure in case of a system collapse or hacking. The idea is to help offer its clients a robust set of data center services that would take years of work and millions of dollars for clients to set up themselves.

"We now have IT infrastructure that rivals a Fortune 500 company," Ness says.

This has allowed Online Tech to continue to grow steadily in recent years. It had a top-line revenue growth of 25 percent last year and it expects to do that again this year. Online Tech also hired 23 people over the last year, expanding its staff to 68 employees. It is also looking to hire another three people in sales, digital campaign management, and software development.

Source: Yan Ness, CEO of Online Tech
Writer: Jon Zemke

Growth spike pushes Portal Architects to release new software

The team at Portal Architects have enjoyed so much success with their software that they have begun to focus on the next generation of their technology. The Ann Arbor-based company launched SkySync a couple years ago. The platform helps companies better connect IT systems to the cloud through a Windows app. The end result is a smoother, shorter ride when it comes from synchronizing and moving files across digital storage systems.

"We solved a major pain point," says Mark Brazeau, CEO of Portal Architects. "Anytime you can solve a major pain point and do it in a way that people can just download and install, you will get a lot of traction."

That means 357 percent revenue growth over the last year. It now has nearly 2,000 clients, including a lot of Fortune 500 clients. The company has hired 16 people, mainly software professionals, expanding its staff to 27 employees.

"The lion's share of your growth is from new clients," Brazeau says.

Portal Architects is now working toward the release of the second generation of its software. Brazeau describes it as a federate search of digital files that enables users to find what they’re looking for in a matter of a few clicks.

"If you think of what we do is enabling then this is game changing," Brazeau says. "Jaws dropped when we have shared the concept."

Portal Architects is working to release the new platform as part of a rolling roll out in April.

Source: Mark Brazeau, CEO of Portal Architects
Writer: Jon Zemke

Digitization drives Image Data Conversion growth in Saline

The world is full of more paperwork than anyone could, or want to, read in a lifetime. Image Data Conversion is building a business by digitizing all of it for the 21st Century.

The Saline-based company owns three subsidiaries that digitize documents. It acquired eBeam Film in 2011, launched Reveal Digital in 2011, and acquired NA Publishing in 2013. All of them are working to corner the digitizing markets, such as helping libraries put large collections online.

"Now they are generating more service offerings to help libraries solve the problems they have today," says Joe Mills, managing director of Image Data Conversion.

Specifically NA Publishing is working to digitize every issue of Publishers Weekly. That means cover-to-cover of each issue dating from 1872 to today.

That sort of work has allowed Image Data Conversion to notch double-digit revenue gains in each of the last couple of years. It has more than doubled its staff since 2010, going from 32 employees to 70 people today. It expects that growth curve to remain steady as it keeps moving forward this year.

"We are adding a lot of staff," Mills says. "We are investing a lot in these businesses."

Source: Joe Mills, managing director of Image Data Conversion
Writer: Jon Zemke

Football helmet designed at U-M may decrease head injuries

For those of you who weren't put off by Steve Almond's provocative "Against Football: A Reluctant Manifesto" but still worry about the concussions that plague football players, researchers at U-M are developing a more shock-absorbing helmet system for players.

Excerpt:

"The engineering researchers making the system, called Mitigatium, were recently funded by a group that includes the National Football League. Their early prototype could lead to a lightweight and affordable helmet that effectively dissipates the energy from hit after hit on the field. Current helmets can't do this, and that's one of the reasons they aren't very good at preventing brain injury."

Read the rest here.
 

Red Panda starts selling next generation of digital guitar pedals

Red Panda's claim to fame is building the next generation of guitar pedal that relies on digital technology. After this year it's going to have several claims to fame as the Midtown-based startup releases a new line of products.

Guitar pedals normally utilize analog technology. Red Panda started selling digital guitar pedals four years ago as a way of bringing the technology into the 21st century. They sold well, enabling the company's owner to quit his day job as an electrical engineer and focus on growing Red Panda.

"We have a couple more in the works," says Curt Malouin, owner of Red Panda. "This year we will release 2-3 more products."

One of Red Panda's most recent product releases is the Raster, guitar pedal with a digital delay with a pitch shifter integrated into the feedback loop. The company's website describes the Raster as delivering "a wide range of sounds including harmonized delays, reverse delays, chorus, arpeggios, infinite descents, chaotic self-oscillation, and continuously evolving soundscapes."

Red Panda's guitar pedals are built in the company’s recently expanded space in the Green Garage by a staff of four people. Growing demand for the guitar pedals has prompted Red Panda to add a new hire over the last year and fill out its 600 square feet of space.

"It's getting a little more crowded in there now," Malouin says.

Red Panda has been profitable over the last year after clocking consistently strong sales growth of 60 percent. It sells its guitar pedals directly to retailers in North America, but recently moved to selling to distributors in Europe. The company is looking to increase sales by beefing up both sales channels in 2016.

"We're expanding production and adding new dealers," Malouin says.

Source: Curt Malouin, owner of Red Panda
Writer: Jon Zemke

LLamasoft moves into Google space shows best value comes from local firms

Drive through downtown Ann Arbor and it's hard to miss the giant Google sign atop one of the city's premier office buildings. For years it has been one of the corporate names locals like to point to with pride. Now it's coming down as the tech giant plans to build its own office on the city's outskirts.

And that's a good thing.

LLamasoft, an Ann Arbor-based supply chain software firm, is taking up the lions share of prime downtown office space Google is leaving behind. The move is necessary to accommodate the firm’s rapid growth. Yes, rapid growth is a term thrown around much too often in today's media but LLamasoft is the real deal.

The 13-year-old company has raised tens of millions of dollars in seed capital, including $50 million from Goldman, Sachs & Co to fund its growth. It has hired nearly 100 people in the last year, rounding its staff out to 400 folks around the world. The bulk of them, 220 people, are in Ann Arbor. Its downtown offices are so cramped the company’s leadership doesn’t know where it’s going to put its new hires between now and when it moves into the new space later this summer.

"The 6-month wait we have is painful," says Toby Brzoznowski, co-founder & executive vice president of LLamasoft. "I am looking at ways to give up my office so 2-3 more people can cram into it so we can make it work until we move."

LLamasoft will take up the second and third floors of the McKinley Towne Centre, at 401 E. Liberty. That’s 60,000 square feet in one central location. Today, LLamasoft’s downtown Ann Arbor headquarters is split between several floors of the 201 S Main St building. Brzoznowski expects the new headquarters will give it the headroom the company needs to grow.

"There is absolutely room for growth," Brzoznowski says. "We have averaged 50 percent growth every year."

Betting against LLamasoft growth is not where the smart money is going these days. The company is one of the handful of tech darlings that is surpassing its big expectations. Google's AdWords office in downtown Ann Arbor never really lived up to its expectations. Where people expected a growth leader of a company that would be the center of the local tech scene turned into a side note in elevator pitches.

Yes, Ann Arborites are happy Google is here and prefer it in Tree Town, homegrown startups like LLamasoft are the real future. LLamasoft's executives are the ones who will create gobs of jobs and serve as one of the main leaders in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Homegrown companies like LLamasoft are the ones that deserve to have their names in big lights atop Ann Arbor's skyline.

Source: Toby Brzoznowski, co-founder & executive vice president of LLamasoft
Writer: Jon Zemke

Millendo Therapeutics scores big VC round, Duo Security clocks record growth

A couple of tech startups in Ann Arbor are making a splash with some big headlines. Millendo Therapeutics reports that it has raised a $62 million Series B investment round, setting a new record for venture capital investment in Michigan. Duo Security also is reporting 200 percent revenue growth for 2015 over the previous year. Both are banner headlines for a couple of Ann Arbor’s most promising growth firms.

Millendo Therapeutics, formerly Atterocor, is a biopharmaceutical firm working on treatments for endocrine diseases. The University of Michigan spinout is focused on developing novel, disease-modifying treatments for specialty and orphan endocrine diseases caused by hormone dysregulation. It recently signed an exclusive license agreement with AstraZeneca for the worldwide development and commercialization rights to test a new compound for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Millendo Therapeutics Series B investment round will fund clinical trials for that new compund and expand its testing of the drug ATR-101, a treatment for adrenal cancer patients. Among the investors in the Series B is the University of Michigan MINTS (Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups) program.

Duo Security also announced some big growth news in its recent revenue gains. The downtown Ann Arbor-based company specializes in providing cloud-based access security through two-factor authentication. Last sprung Duo Security launched its Platform Edition, which builds on two-factor authentication to offer cloud security and endpoint visibility.

Over the last year, Duo Security has doubled its customer base, serving a broad spectrum of companies and institutions including American Public Media, Duke University, DraftKings, and King.com, the makers of Candy Crush. Duo Security analyzed nearly 2 million devices with 1 million users, and handled nearly 2 million authentication events per day by the end of last year.

"It's all about ease of use and keeping our customers happy," Dug Song, CEO and co-founder of Duo Security, said in a press release. "We're passionate about continuing to be the most loved company in security. People are feeling the pain of the cumbersome security products and we're here to make it painless for them."

Source: Millendo Therapeutics and Duo Security
Writer: Jon Zemke
958 Emerging Technology Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts