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Ann Arbor start-ups dominate Accelerate Michigan semi-finals

Ann Arbor-based start-ups are dominating the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, taking half of the 50 spaces in the semi-finals.

Elizabeth Parkinson, director of marking and public relations for Ann Arbor SPARK, says this sort of showing isn't an anomaly. Tree Town-based start-ups regularly take half of the cash from Michigan's statewide Pre-Seed Capital and Microloan funds.

"We used judges from across the state," says Parkinson. Ann Arbor SPARK is the lead organizer behind the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. "Everyone has three looks from three different judges. Everybody got a fair look."

And Ann Arbor firms shined through. On top of that another three startups are based in (Saline-based Sensors and Brighton-based Spinal Ventures) or have ties to (ShadePlex started in Ypsilanti) communities nearby. The list includes a number of firms that are well known for a variety of reasons, including Discera, which emerged as an issue in the recent gubernatorial race.

Among the companies are Accio Energy, Advanced Battery Control and POWERleap in alternative energy, along with Arbor Photonics and ePack in next generation manufacturing. The medical device companies include Compendia Bioscience, Epsilon Imaging, Hygieia, OcuSciences, Vir(Sn) and ImBio. The life science firms are FreeStride Therapeutics, Life Magnatics, NextGen Metabolomics, and RetroSense Theraputics. The rest include Current Motor Company (advanced transportation); ElectroDynamic Applications and Mayaterials (both in advanced materials); Evigia Systems and Pixel Velocity (both defense & homeland security); Ix Innovations and Monarch Antenna (both products and services); TherapyCharts, and Reveal Design (IT).

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is offering $1 million in prizes to start-ups in Michigan or planning to move to Michigan. The idea is to showcase the state's entrepreneurial ecosystem to a large audience of investors in town for the Big Chill hockey game at Michigan Stadium on Dec. 11.

Source: Elizabeth Parkinson, director of marking & public relations for Ann Arbor SPARK
Writer: Jon Zemke
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