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Ann Arbor's Park n Party expands online parking biz across U.S.

Park n Party got its start five years ago helping tailgaters find an easier way to party at Michigan football games, specifically helping them reserve that perfect parking spot online. Today, the Ann Arbor-based company is helping tailgaters across the U.S..

Park n Party has partnered with LAZ Parking to offer its online parking reservation services at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Indy 500 this spring. The company also has brokered partnerships to offer its services in downtown Detroit; Lincoln, Neb; Pasadena, Calif, and South Bend, Ind.

"We're hoping to get into Lansing," says Jason Kapica, co-founder of Park n Party. "We have some contacts there and we hope to get in there this fall."

Park n Party specializes in helping people attending events find and reserve a parking spot online. That way they can avoid driving around a traffic-choked venue looking for a parking spot.

"We make your event day a lot less stressful," Kapica says.

Park n Party started with a few hundred parking spaces near Michigan Stadium. Today it manages about 10,000 spaces in five cities, primarily towns with big college football followings. However, Park n Party doesn’t limit itself to any one sport. Users can utilize Park n Party’s online platform for any sort of game, concert or event.

Usually Park n Party and its team of four people rely on partnerships with parking lot owners near these venues to grow. Its work with these parking companies has allowed it to grow to other markets and create a density of parking offerings there. That's how its current expansion into Indianapolis took place and how the company plans to keep growing the future.

Source: Jason Kapica, co-founder of Park n Party
Writer: Jon Zemke

Ann Arbor's Park n Party expands online parking biz across U.S.

Park n Party got its start five years ago helping tailgaters find an easier way to party at Michigan football games, specifically helping them reserve that perfect parking spot online. Today, the Ann Arbor-based company is helping tailgaters across the U.S..

Park n Party has partnered with LAZ Parking to offer its online parking reservation services at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Indy 500 this spring. The company also has brokered partnerships to offer its services in downtown Detroit; Lincoln, Neb; Pasadena, Calif, and South Bend, Ind.

"We're hoping to get into Lansing," says Jason Kapica, co-founder of Park n Party. "We have some contacts there and we hope to get in there this fall."

Park n Party specializes in helping people attending events find and reserve a parking spot online. That way they can avoid driving around a traffic-choked venue looking for a parking spot.

"We make your event day a lot less stressful," Kapica says.

Park n Party started with a few hundred parking spaces near Michigan Stadium. Today it manages about 10,000 spaces in five cities, primarily towns with big college football followings. However, Park n Party doesn’t limit itself to any one sport. Users can utilize Park n Party’s online platform for any sort of game, concert or event.

Usually Park n Party and its team of four people rely on partnerships with parking lot owners near these venues to grow. Its work with these parking companies has allowed it to grow to other markets and create a density of parking offerings there. That's how its current expansion into Indianapolis took place and how the company plans to keep growing the future.

Source: Jason Kapica, co-founder of Park n Party
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Humax Corp launches app to take paying it forward into 21st Century

Wayne and Cheryl Baker have long believed in the concept of paying it forward. The Ann Arbor couple believe in it so deeply they launched Humax Corp, which specializes in creating social capital, more than 20 years ago.

They also created the Reciprocity Ring exercise in 2000, which helped push the practice of paying it forward to a broader scale. Today they are taking their concept into the 21st Century with the Give and Get mobile app.

"We have always wanted to," says Wayne Baker, chief scientist of Humax Corp. "There has always been a need for it. We just needed technology to catch up."

Wayne Baker is a professor of management and organization at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. Cheryl Baker, Humax Corp's CEO, is a research at U-M.

The Reciprocity Ring creates an environment where the practice of paying it forward fulfills personal and professional requests from strangers. So instead of people paying it forward to specific people for specific reasons, the Reciprocity Ring broadens the giving so users pay it forward to strangers because they want to do good. You can check out Wayne Baker's TED Talk about it here.

The Give and Get app takes those good deeds and the requests for them to the digital realm, helping groups people with the ease of using a mobile app. Humax Corp's team of four people (it recently hired two people) launched the app in a private beta in February and is testing it out with pilot groups of 40 to 100 people.

"The app can support much larger groups than that," Wayne Baker says.

The Bakers plan to keep working out bugs of the app and streamline its efficiency this spring and summer. A launch date for a public beta has not been set, but Wayne Baker expects that to happen before the end of this year.

Source: Wayne Baker, chief scientist of Humax Corp
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

U-M senior tackles global hunger and overfishing with insect feed

Eric Katz and Viraj Sikand were working at a salmon hatchery on a Native American reservation last year when they came up a business idea that called for making food with fewer fish and more insects.That was the day Kulisha was born.

Katz, a University of Michigan senior studying business, and Sikand, a Brown University senior studying environmental science, became fast friends last summer. Sikand spoke about a small village he visited in Kenya that had a big problem with overfishing. Essentially, the inhabitants were fishing not only for their own food but to also produce animal/fish feed to sell. This put a huge stress on the local aquatic ecosystem.

"We wanted to think of ways to help stop that from happening," says Katz, co-founder of Kulisha.

Kulisha, Swahili for "to feed," is their attempt to do just that. The company is creating a business model where villagers can create the animal and fish food from local insects instead of fish. They came up with the idea to use insects during a hike through a local reservation.

Today they have built out a team of five people and are planning a trip to Kenya to set up their operations this summer. They hope to begin production by July and expect to be on-site through September.

Source: Eric Katz, co-founder of Kulisha
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

U-M Desai Accelerator announces 2016 cohort of startups

The University of Michigan's Desai Accelerator announced its second cohort of startups> A group of six promising young companies were selected from more than the 80 that applied.

The Desai Accelerator is a joint venture between the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business (Zell-Lurie Institute) and the U-M College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship. Last year it welcomed five startups to its 16-week program, its first cohort.

The startups have to spend at least four of the six weeks working in Ann Arbor, leveraging U-M's network. This is what sets Desai apart from other startup accelerators. The U-M Alumni Association has 540,000 living alumni and tens of thousands of students, making it one of the deepest talent pools in the world.

"These are people we tap for mentors, strategic advisors, investors and partners," says Kelly LaPierre, managing director of the Desai Accelerator. She adds that many U-M students could also serve as potential early employees for these startups.

The six startups chosen for the accelerator’s 2016 cohort are:

Ash & Anvil, an affordable, stylish, everyday clothing provider for shorter men co-founded by Venture for America Detroit fellow Steven Mazur and Eric Huang.

"It's not a traditional tech business like most people are doing," LaPierre says. "But what they are doing is truly innovative."

Clash Audio, a neuroscience-based streaming service that uses human curation, neuroscience research and popular music theory to analyze new music and distill millions of songs into a small, optimized database.

Gaudium, a creator of anime-style mobile games; runner-up of 2016 Michigan Business Challenge.

MySwimPro, a social fitness platform for swimmers and triathletes.

Roomations, an online platform and subscription service that provides homeowners easy access to interior design services online, including 3D room designs, shopping lists, style boards and personal design advice, by crowdsourcing freelancer designers.

Sultant, a cloud-based SaaS platform that acts as a digital financial "advisor" for small businesses by providing quick and meaningful insights, actionable recommendations and intuitive visualizations

Source: Kelly LaPierre, managing director of the Desai Accelerator
Writer: Jon Zemke

Personal tragedy inspires launch of U-M spin-out, Neurable

Making the world a better place is the kind of warm and fuzzy rhetoric tech entrepreneurs use when launching their new startup.

Ramses Alcaide wants to make the world a better place, too, but his inspiration comes from personal experience.

The University of Michigan PhD candidate is dedicated to developing technologies to assist people with physical disabilities because he witnessed first-hand the challenges of living with such disabilities. In particular, the hardships that faced his favorite uncle. That uncle, also a scientist, suffered an accident that immobilized his legs when Alcaide was a young man. His struggles stuck with the U-M grad student.

"I remember seeing him struggle to relearn how to walk with the archaic technology of the time," Alcaide says. "I thought there has to be a better way. But I had no idea what that was."

Those memories served as the inspiration for Alcaide's post doctorate studies and a new startup called Neurable. The University of Michigan spin-out is developing a non-invasive brain-computer interface that allows for real-time control of software and physical objects, allowing people to control wheelchairs, robots and even a car with no training.

Neurable currently has a working prototype of its technology and is working toward commercializing it next year. The startup aims to raise $500,000 in seed capital to make that happen and more.

"We have much bigger dreams," Alcaide says. "We want to make it into a full-fledged company."

It's off to a good start. Neurable, with the help of U-M's Zell-Lurie Institute, took second place in the Rice Business Plan Competition. That gave it $50,000 in seed capital, as well as up to $280,000 for the competition's OWL Investment Prize.

"I really wanted to bring this technology to the next level so I can help as many people as possible," Alcaide says.

Source: Ramses Alcaide, founder & CEO of Neurable
Writer: Jon Zemke

PreDxion Bio's tech helps tailor treatments to patient's immune system

The team at PreDxion Bio isn't just trying to come up with new technology to help sick people. It's trying to help really really sick people. The University of Michigan spinoff is in the early stages of developing a diagnostic device to help create custom diagnosis. The technology is coming from U-M's Pediatric Critical Care Precision Laboratory.

"One of the main thrusts of our lab is to develop new diagnostic tools to treat these really sick patients," says Walker McHugh, co-founder of PreDxion Bio and a biomedical engineering graduate student at the University of Michigan. He is launching the startup with Dr. Timothy Cornell, a physician at U-M, and Caroline Landau, an MBA student at U-M's Ross School of Business.

PreDxion Bio's technology is a patent-pending diagnostic device that gives doctors the information they need to precisely tailor treatments to a specific patient's immune response. The idea is to make precision care more available to people in intensive care.

The team has created a prototype and is currently entering it into a variety of high-profile business plan competitions. It is one of two U-M startups to make it to the Rice Business Plan Competition next week where it will compete for $1 million in prizes.

The company plans to use any winnings from business plan competitions and any seed capital it can raise to develop a next generation version of its technology that will be manufacturing grade. It hopes to then submit it for clinical trials that will eventually lead to FDA approval in 3-5 years. In the meantime PreDxion Bio's team is looking for interested parties to help it get to the next step.

"We're talking with strategic partners," McHugh says.

Source: Walker McHugh and Caroline Landau, co-founders of PreDxion Bio
Writer: Jon Zemke

Revenue growth spike inspires HookLogic to increase its high-tech staff

This reporter got a tour of HookLogic's Ann Arbor office in downtown a little more than a year ago. At the time the software firm had taken over the old home of Leopold Bros Brewery and was filling it out with techies of all stripes. The front half was full and bustling while employees were just starting to take desks in the back half.

That has changed since then.

"It's pretty full now," says John Behrman, chief product officer of HookLogic.

HookLogic creates software for paid product listings on commerce sites that help influence online shoppers. Its three verticals include retailers (Target), online travel agencies (Expedia), and automotive dealerships. The firm is based in New York City, but its leadership team has deep roots with Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, prompting it to set up shop here.

HookLogic took over the old microbrewery/distillery at 523 S Main St a few years ago. It turned the 11,000 square foot former industrial space into a startup hotbed, preserving the historic aesthetic of the circa-1927 building while modernizing its infrastructure for the new economy of the 21st Century.

Today 62 of HookLogic's 140 employees work from there. The company has hired 15 people in project management and software development at the Ann Arbor office over the last year and it's looking to hire another 16 now. It also plans to welcome 10 new summer interns later this year.

"The space can hold 100 people," Behrman says. "This summer it will definitely get cozy. It will open up later this year. We will have to start to get creative with our space in 2017."

A significant growth spurt has powered this expansion in Ann Arbor. HookLogic had a goal of hitting the $100 million revenue milestone in 2015. It hit $115 million.

"We're shooting to double up our revenue with $200 million this year," Behrman says.

Source: John Behrman, chief product officer of HookLogic
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.
 

U-M researchers are developing injectable radios

Yeah, it brings to mind creepy science Fiction movies, but U-M researchers are developing implantable radios. And that could mean big advances in medical devices like pacemakers and health monitoring sensors.

Excerpt:

"Implantable medical devices usually have to trade smarts for size. Pacemakers and other active devices with processors on board are typically about a cubic centimeter in size, and must be implanted surgically. Smaller implantable electronics tend to be passive, lacking computing smarts and the ability to actively broadcast signals, says David Blaauw, a professor of electrical engineer and computer science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor."

Read the rest here.
 

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

Oxford Companies plan more murals as part of growth plan

Art is an afterthought for most real-estate companies. For Oxford Companies, it's a critical part of its business plan. The Ann Arbor-based company made a splash last year with the creation of one of the largest murals in downtown Ann Arbor. This year it's making plans to add two more significant pieces of public art in downtown. The idea is to raise both the quality of life in the city and the value of its real-estate portfolio.

"It (public art) is part of our core values," says Jeff Hauptman, CEO of Oxford Companies. "We are very much a part of the community. Anybody can be a landlord, but what are you going to do with it? ... How can we use our success to improve our community?"

What the two new murals will look like or where they will specifically be placed has not been released because the finer details about them are still being worked out. But Hauptman (a former chair of the Ann Arbor Art Center) did say they will go up in the area of State and Liberty streets.

"Our goal is to get another mural launched each year over the next few years," Hauptman says.

Oxford Companies has recently become the largest landlord in Ann Arbor. It manages more than 1,000 units of student rentals next to the University of Michigan. It invested a lot in upgrading the rentals, earning the designation of best landlord from The Michigan Daily last year.

The 18-year-old company also purchased $115 million in commercial real-estate in Ann Arbor last year, and refinanced another $50 million worth of local properties. That accounted for a 50 percent growth in its commercial holdings and the company is eyeing more this year. Oxford Companies also hired 10 people over the last year, expanding its staff to 60 people.

"We are focusing on improving out internal systems," Hauptman says. "We put a lot of emphasis on the people of our company. If we take care of our people and they are happy they will take care of our tenants. If our tenants stay then our investors are happy."

And at the center of that philosophy is making Ann Arbor a better place through public art.

"Art is important to us," Hauptman says. "Public art, if done well, can have a great influence on the community."

Source: Jeff Hauptman, CEO of Oxford Companies
Writer: Jon Zemke

Siemens chooses Ann Arbor as "Center for Intelligent Traffic Technology"

Siemens has been using Ann Arbor as a guinea pig for traffic flow management research, and now intends to expand its program to include more than 50 intersections.

Excerpt:

"The 10-year relationship with the city wasn’t the only reason Siemens chose Ann Arbor to be its first Center of Excellence for Intelligent Traffic Technology. Welz said U-M’s work in developing connected and autonomous vehicles, particularly at its MCity vehicle research center, made Ann Arbor especially attractive.

“Because of the research being done at the university, there are 3,000 or so cars getting traffic congestion information from traffic controllers,” Welz explained. “The university has a separate program for connected vehicles, but because they’re doing the testing in and around Ann Arbor, they’re using some of our controllers."

Read the rest here.
 

University of Michigan Credit Union opens new branch in Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan Credit Union has opened a new, stand-alone branch on the south side of Ann Arbor. The new branch was built from the ground up at 2725 S State St, near the I-94 exit and Briarwood Mall. Maybe you've seen it? It has a big, blue roof and large windows.

"We wanted to have a branch that is easily accessible to all of our members," says Julie Wigley, vice president of human resources and talent at the University of Michigan Credit Union. "State Street is a popular street. It's well-driven. Having it on State Street makes it easier for our members to find us."

The University of Michigan Credit Union's previous branch was located in the ground floor of an office building overlooking South Main Street and East Eisenhower Parkway. The credit union wanted a stand-alone branch to make it easier to find and more readily accessible to its members.

The new branch include contemporary architecture, maize-and-blue furniture, and a mural that spans the entire wall of the community room. This mural showcases photos of the many different people, places, and objects that represent the University of Michigan and it's clearly visible from the outside.

As far as functionality goes, the branch offers a drive-thru, self-service kiosks, wireless technology including a tablet system, and video conferencing. The idea is to incorporate the latest technology into its branches for the use of its members.

"We wanted to make sure every branch serves our members," Wigley says. "Our members are the focus."

Source: Julie Wigley, vice president of human resources and talent at the University of Michigan Credit Union
Writer: Jon Zemke

Lawrence Tech hopes to set new national standard for stormwater management with innovative pilot

In an effort to curb water pollution caused by stormwater runoff, Lawrence Technological University in Southfield will become the first demonstration site in the U.S. of a new green drainage system.

The conventional drainage system in one of Lawrence Tech's parking lots will be replaced this month with a system that uses a green technology called energy passive groundwater recharge products, or EGRPs.

Polluted storm runoff and flooding are serious problems facing most, if not all, developed cities that have paved over much of their natural land, which would normally absorb the water and filter it of pollutants.

Lawrence Tech is partnering with Detroit-based Parjana Distribution LLC to test the new green technology, first on its own grounds before replacing systems at universities in Ohio, California, Florida and Washington, D.C., by the end of September 2016.

The goal is to create a new national standard in storm water design.

The partners have received a $100,000 grant and are working to raise $300,000 more in order to complete the pilot project.

Lawrence Tech is home to the Great Lake Stormwater Management Institute. Civil engineering professor and project director Donald Carpenter says the new system is designed to handle up to an inch of rain during a 24-hour period.

“The first inch of rain represents the stormwater runoff volume with the highest pollutant loads, so capturing and infiltrating that volume will improve the water quality downstream,” says Carpenter.

The campus master plan calls for the installation of stormwater treatment wetlands, additional porous pavement, rain gardens, naturalized riparian buffers, an infiltration basin, and an integrated drainage system that mitigates storm water runoff from all the parking lots.

Source: Lawrence Technological University
Writer: Kim North Shine
617 Higher Education Articles | Page: | Show All
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