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The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.
 

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Doing business differently: IdeaLab returns Nov. 14

Over the last five years, IdeaLab has showcased dozens of Detroiters on the vanguard of community and economic development, and this year's Nov. 14 event is no exception.read on…



The 21st century body is being built in Washtenaw County

With advances in the medical device industry, Ann Arbor is proving to be more than just a place for entrepreneurial innovation and growth, it's producing startups that are helping to shape the future of the human body. read on…










#EATING: U-M football stars plant new seeds

The news is filled with examples of sports figures behaving badly. Well, here's something a little different: a trio of U-M football players have started the #EATING Project, which seeks to establish community food gardens in underserved communities.read on…










Olark, Breaking the Silicon Valley Mold

Olark is a Silicon Valley-style startup that didn't raise venture capital, isn't run by Stanford and MIT grads, calls Ann Arbor its home and has employees scattered across the country... heck, the globe. And yet it's grown exponentially over the last three years. How does it do it? Funny you should ask...read on…









Where Did the Fiber Fever Go? The Case for Ultra High Speed Internet

Three years ago Ann Arbor was gung-ho about being the opportunity to become one of Google's fiber-to-premises communities. Now we're not even on the list of 34 potential sites. What happened since and why is ultra high speed internet important for a community like ours? Concentrate's Natalie Burg digs in.read on…






Duo Security: More Than Just a Workplace

Can a cutting edge startup be both success-minded and fun? According to Duo Security's Dug Song, the answer is an unequivocal "yes." Achieving astounding growth over four years, this Ann Arbor Internet security firm has not only become the local company to watch, it has developed a family-like workplace that's creative, supportive and innovative.read on…

















Ann Arbor: Birthplace of the Ultimate Mobile Device?

Are you ready for your car to go driverless? While it's arguable as to whether Michigan will remain the international manufacturing center for auto bodies and interiors, the Ann Arbor area is likely to become the industry's brain center as research ramps up on wirelessly connected, self-driving car systems. read on…





Exit Interview Part Two: Mayor John Hieftje

Concentrate continues its interview with out-going Ann Arbor mayor John Hieftje. Last time we chatted with the mayor about his time in office and the upcoming final year. In this installment we get his long-term outlook on the city and its challenges.read on…










IdeaLab: A look into the future

We're excited to partner again with the Revitalization and Business Conference on Dec. 6. Presented by the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, "IdeaLab" is a fast-paced, two-hour session with a stellar line-up of Detroit innovators.read on…











Dearborn Nurtures Tween Entrepreneurs

If chess club, violin lessons and Little League haven't already taken over your kid's after-school schedule, the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce has the next must-attend extracurricular activity: the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. It's a weekly program that teaches teens and tweens how to launch their own start-up. read on…


You Say You Want an Entrepreneurial Revolution? Just Do It.

Cultivating the entrepreneurial ecosystem requires talent, density, and quality of life. Or so says Thomas Zurbuchen. The founding director of the U-M Center for Entrepreneurship believes that Ann Arbor needs more size, collision and shots on goal if it truly wants to be a community that builds and sustains robust local entrepreneurship. read on…


The State of Ann Arbor's Start-Up Culture

Serial entrepreneur and U-M lecturer Jim Price is not your everyday homegrown entrepreneur. He's a transplant who came to Ann Arbor in 1988 for a business opportunity and stayed, facilitating the success of several local companies. In a candid Q&A, Price weighs in on the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem.read on…
















IdeaLab 2013 recapped

Detroit social innovators and entrepreneurs were day tripping in Ann Arbor last Friday, preaching what they practice to students at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. Matthew Lewis reports from the first row.read on…


Five Really Cool Technologies Being Developed Here

It's no surprise that folks in the Ann Arbor area are an inventive bunch. Having one of the top universities in the country in your backyard helps. So, what's in the works? How about a telescope that listens to outer space? Or cars that learn how to avoid crashes? Or, best of all, head phones that won't tangle in your pocket?read on…















Big House Businesses

Half a dozen Saturdays a year Ann Arbor's population practically doubles, as U-M football brings in Big Ten gridiron fans. Some see the game day influx as an inconvenience. Others see it as an economic opportunity.read on…







Modern Yet Historic, Vintage Yet Sustainable

When Ann Arbor's most prolific Modern architect, Robert C. Metcalf, completed his first commission, it was on the forefront of energy efficient design. Now, sixty years later, our standards have evolved and the house is being lovingly revived in a way that improves the efficiency without compromising the design.read on…



Student Powered Investments

What happens when you give 24 college students a few million dollars to invest in start-ups? They double their investment value within a few years. The Wolverine Fund is one of three venture capital programs created by the University of Michigan to give students an insider's view of investment and entrepreneurship.read on…










Ann Arbor's Studentpreneurs

The University of Michigan's TechArb and Center for Entrepreneurship are fostering a new class of student entrepreneurs, from a food truck operation to a note-taking app developer to a maker of unmanned aerial vehicles. As such, these young founders are deciding between business, books -- or both.read on…













Limiting Transit Options Limits Opportunities For Kids

In the conversation about mass transit and whether or not we develop a county-wide service one type of rider often gets overlooked - kids. What do limited transportation options mean for students without easy access to after-school activities and programs? What about the car-less volunteers who can't reach those who need help the most?read on…














Shifting Gears: A Conversation with Sean Simpson

Sean Simpson isn't just the co-founder of a lean, mean start-up, he lives his life like his start-up. As one of the brains behind Autobike, a company working to make a smarter, more intuitive gear shifter, Simpson chucked the 9-5 grind of corporate engineering to enter the burn-the-candle-from-both-ends world of entrepreneurship. He couldn't be happier.read on…










Re-think everything: Stimulating IdeaLab recapped

The two-hour program was filled with lively, quotable conversation by a diverse group of presenters willing to step outside the box to talk about entrepreneurship in Detroit. It was a "wow" kind of afternoon at U-M's Ross School of Business. Walter Wasacz reports from the student section. read on…

Got Talent? A Conversation with Kurt Riegger

When it comes to building a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, Kurt Riegger, COO of OcuSciences, argues that there's no lack of ideas or innovations in Ann Arbor. Talent with enough experience to execute on those ideas may be another question. Riegger has launched, funded, and advised 26 companies, and chats with Concentrate about what our community needs to succeed.read on…

Model D TV: Inspiration for business, one idea at a time

Our cameras were rolling as the ideas continued flowing at last Friday's Idealab in Ann Arbor. Tom Hendrickson captured the presenters on stage and tracked them down backstage for this episode of Model D TV.read on…



Are You Satisfied? A Conversation with ForeSee Result's Larry Freed

Ann Arbor-based ForeSee Results has seen growth every quarter of its existence. That's a pretty impressive track record for this U-M spin out. CEO and co-founder Larry Freed talks about his home grown approach to hiring, our area's startup climate, and what we need to keep and attract more young talent.read on…

Are You MPowered?

The student-run MPowered is U-M's startup for startups. Living up to its name, it has not only prodded the university into offering more classes in entrepreneurship, it has also attracted a community of business-minded students through its 1000 Pitches Summit and annual Career Fair. This year they debut "Startup Weekend," a 54-hour event which seeks to create a web or mobile applications business in a weekend.read on…



Game Day Entrepreneurship

The mantra for many an entrepreneur is: Where there's a need, there's a dollar to be made. So, what do you get when twenty five thousand cars are looking for a parking space at the same time? A business opportunity. Concentrate's Jon Zemke chats with Taylor Bond, co-founder of the game day parking finder ParknParty.read on…







A Conversation with Vaughan Taylor

Vaughan Taylor wants to establish Motown 2.0, an interface of music and social media that changes the business landscape for musicians. And he wants to do it in Ann Arbor. Jon Zemke talks promotion, hip-hop, and Michigan's start-up culture with the rapper/entrepreneur.read on…





Is MGoBlog The Future Of Sports Journalism?

By some accounts Brian Cook is running the largest independent team-specific sports blog in the U.S. MGoBlog pulls in 200K readers per month, a passionate community of fans, and the kind of demographics that make advertiser's mouths water. So, how does the site's iconoclastic voice and style fit in today's media landscape, and what are its implications for the future? read on…

Roll the tape and refresh good ideas for Detroit business

Earlier this year Model D and the University of Michigan Ross School of Business presented IdeaLab, part of a two-day conference called "Revitalization & Business: Focus Detroit." Beginning today and continuing over the next few months, we bring you video evidence of what came out of this exciting collaboration. read on…




Make Don't Chase: LLamasoft's Don Hicks and Toby Brzoznowski

The founders of Ann Arbor logistics firm LLamasoft don't mince words when it comes to attracting professional talent, developing their business, or expressing their disdain for VC culture. Hire smart, be fiercely competitive, create a good product, don't be a jerk (only they didn't say jerk). Concentrate's Jon Zemke puts the partners through the paces and even gets them to talk football. read on…




Incubating Metro Detroit's Health Care Economy

Business incubators and accelerators are all the rage. Communities see them as a vital new tool in economic development. Southfield, in its attempt to capitalize on the region's growing reputation for medical excellence, is hoping to launch its first health care incubator. read on…

Cooler By The River: Yan Ness, CEO of Online Tech

Every day more and more data is being stored in the cloud. But what does that mean for our local economy? Yan Ness, CEO of Online Tech, answers questions about what's next for his industry, what would bring more start-ups to Ann Arbor, and why he opposes policies that rely on economic incentives. Oh, and his advice for naming your next company? Stick to two syllables. read on…













Garbage In, Energy Out: A Q&A with the Founders of ReGenerate

Paul Davis, Bobby Levine, Hunt Briggs, and Nolan Orfield are your everyday overachieving U-M grad students. And then some. They've founded ReGenerate, a company that is developing technology to convert food waste into energy. Sound pie-in-the-sky? Not to the half dozen business competitions they've won. read on…





The Power Of Disruptive Thinking

"Game changing technologies". "Thinking outside the box". "Bucking the status quo". Business is big on innovative jargon, but what does it really take to remake the economic landscape? Whether it was the automobile a hundred years ago or last year's iPad, disruptive thinking is more than just risk-taking entrepreneurship, it's the business of course-altering creation. And the financial impacts are staggering. read on…


Game Theory: A Q&A with Matt Toschlog

The computer gaming industry rakes in nearly $9 billion each year. Michigan has only a very small sliver of that pie, and part of that sliver is Quantum Signal in Saline. Concentrate chats with Matt Toschlog, who heads up the company's simulation and gaming division. He weighs in on the state of the industry in Michigan, our film and video game incentive program, and the strategic advantage of having dreadlocks. read on…






The Re-Investors

With the successful exits of Esperion and Accuri, CEO's Roger Newton and Jen Baird could have taken the money and run. Instead, they're establishing new local ventures, reinvesting in Michigan's future, and helping to grow our entrepreneurial ecosystem. read on…














MASTERMIND: Dr. Jeff Masters

"Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get."-Mark TwainAnn Arbor is home to the first (and second biggest) weather website in the country – Weather Underground. The brainchild of weather guru Jeff Masters, it's the culmination of a life-long love affair with that most temperamental of subjects. read on…




Groupon comes to Ann Arbor




Purpose Driven: A Q&A with Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb

Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb is an unabashed entrepreneur, a true believer that business is the ultimate engine for change. He also believes that corporations must have a deeper purpose than just profit. Concentrate chats with Robb about the way those seemingly disconnected impulses come together and why the next generation of business leaders should embrace them.read on…

Ann Arbor: Targeted For Acquisition

As Ann Arbor evolves its stable of start-ups, acquisition will be the inevitable fate for more than a few. Last month Accuri Cytometers joined the list of successful exits. But how did it happen and what does it mean for the city's entrepreneurial ecosystem? Concentrate's Jon Zemke surveys the landscape.read on…




Total Investment: A Q&A with Bhushan Kulkarni

From an engineering job with Ford to a serial entrepreneur in the process of launching his fourth company, Bhushan Kulkarni epitomizes the immigrant success story. A passionate booster for his community, family, and the state's economic future, Kulkarni chats with Concentrate about the challenges of start-up culture and the need for more mentorship.read on…







Venture Partners: A Q&A with Michael Godwin and Jason Townsend

The small scale of Michigan's venture capital community means many ground-floor opportunities for investment. Bay Area boomerangs Michael Godwin and Jason Townsend of Resonant Venture Partners wax on the need for a new generation of VC investors and peek into the realm of "dirty tech".read on…







Natural Intelligence

It's not quite artificial intelligence but it sure comes close. Named one of the ten "World Changing Ideas" of 2010 by Scientific American, swarm intelligence is a biology-inspired computer algorithm that's starting to see commercial application. And most of that development occurred here, in Ann Arbor area research labs.read on…




Strange Brew: A Q&A with Rene and Matt Greff

If gung-ho could be bottled, Matt and Rene Greff would probably put it in a microbrew. Owners of ever-popular Ann Arbor Brewing and Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, the couple are practically poster children for the region's unique personality. Quirky, entrepreneurial, civic-minded, and opinionated, Concentrate talks business, politics, downtown development and, oh yeah, beer with this dynamic duo.read on…











It's a wrap: U-M Business School, Model D fab collab in review

Conference in Ann Arbor had a little bit of everything: Detroit entrepreneurial star power, great ideas and, best of all, a call to action. Model D most valuable player Claire Nelson delivers the news from the academy to the streets.    read on…


Concentrate Speaker Event: The Business Of Making Music

It used to be, if you wanted to be in the music industry you had to head to the coasts. Sam Valenti IV didn't like those rules so he followed in Berry Gordy's footsteps and made a few rules of his own. Today he runs Ghostly International, Ann Arbor's highly successful and hipper than hip music label. Sam kicks off Concentrate's 2011 Speaker Series with a talk about the evolution of his company here in Ann Arbor. The event is Thursday, January 27th. Sign up today!read on…

More Than Just Good Timing: A Q&A with Ben Kazez

Ben Kazez defines the new economy lifestyle. He's the founder of a successful mobile app start-up, lives near Kerrytown, and walks to his downtown office. With promises that success won't lure him away (Mobiata was acquired by Expedia last fall), Concentrate chatted with Kazez about good food, apps, and launching a start-up.read on…










Model D Speaker Series: Focus on future of Detroit business

Our monthly speaker series kicks off 2011 in impressive fashion with this collaborative effort with U-M's Ross School of Business. It's a one-day conference on the elusive what's next with star power from all over the region. Read all about it and register now.read on…








Accelerating SE Michigan's Business Ecosystem

In the shadow of this past weekend's Big Chill hockey extravaganza, The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition --an American Idol-style contest for start-ups-- was held in Ann Arbor. More important than the $1 million in cash and support handed out was the collaboration exhibited by regional business leaders. Is there a new age of cooperation dawning in SE Michigan?read on…









A Mighty Wind: Q&A with Jen Baird

While the U.S. is just starting to accept that wind power can help us move toward a more sustainable future, Ann Arbor-based Accio Energy is already reinventing the technology that harnesses it. Concentrate chats with Jen Baird, the company's CEO, about Wind Power 2.0, entrepreneurship, and what's next for Michigan's new economy.read on…




Regenerating Our Economy With Stem Cells

Not only does stem cell research offer a lifeline to patients with life-threatening diseases, it may also provide an economic lifeline to Southeast Michigan by growing our life sciences industry. read on…





Founder Q&A: Bill Wagner and Dianne Marsh

With over 100 start-ups, Bill Wagner and Dianne Marsh of SRT Solutions see Ann Arbor as a worthy contender to Silicon Valley for talent and jobs. Concentrate gets the duo's view of employee-friendly work spaces, active learning, and the TED talks.read on…



U-M tops in number of Fulbright students

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently came out with its annual list of "Top Producers of U.S. Fulbright Students," and the University of Michigan tops the bunch. The university had the most applicants (144) and the most award winners (40), easily outpacing the runner-up (Yale) by nine winners. Check out the complete list here.read on…





Ann Arbor, Chelsea get 5 stars for entrepreneurial growth

Lots of cities and communities like to talk about how they're "open for business" and ready to help companies wherever they can. Ann Arbor and Chelsea now have the credibility to back up those claims. The two burgs were listed as 5-Star Cities (top rankings) by the University of Michigan-Dearborn iLabs program for their efforts with listening to local businesses and acting upon their needs. See the whole list here.read on…

NanoBio adds 12 people in two years, looks to hire more

What does $30 million buy a start-up these days? If it's NanoBio it's a dozen new employees (including seven Pfizer refugees) and a couple of products very close to commercialization.The Ann Arbor-based firm received $30 million in private equity from Perseus in 2006. That allowed the spin-off from the University of Michigan's Center for Biological Nanotechnology to expand its staff to 20 employees and three interns. "We pretty much doubled in size right away," says John Coffey, vice president of business development for NanoBio.It's also playing a major role in financing the second phase of clinical trails for two of its drugs. Those drugs help treat herpes and nail fungus. NanoBio expects to begin licensing them to major pharmaceutical companies in 2009. It's also developing products for vaccines. Those are also going through clinical trails and could be up for licensing as soon as late next year or 2010. "There is some significant interest in the vaccines," Coffey says.That type of success would allow NanoBio to do more hiring, but Coffey was a little coy about how much. He said it would happen, but probably not at the same speed as when the Perseus made it investment two years ago.Source: John Coffey, vice president of business development for NanoBioWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

The Girl With the Curl: A Q&A with Lisa Kurek

Lisa Kurek has the kind of can-do, grab life by the horns attitude that inspires (and fascinates) the people around her. She channels that same energy and outlook toward local entrepreneurs as the director of Biotechnology Business Consultants, helping them to achieve their full start-up potential. Concentrate gets her views on entrepreneurship, scoring seed capital, and government grants.read on…

Business Insider ranks Ann Arbor as Top 20 Most Innovative City

Ann Arbor makes yet another list: This time Tree Town has been ranked as one of the Top 20 Most Innovative Cities in the U.S. by Business Insider. It joins the ranks of Raleigh, N.C., and Los Angeles.Excerpt:Are you having a mental block? Maybe it's not you, it's the city you're in.Innovation analysts at 2thinknow released a list of the most innovative cities in the world. They evaluated 289 cities based on three factors: cultural assets, human infrastructure, and networked markets.Cities were ranked on a one to ten scale in each category for a total possible index score of 30. Once index numbers were determined, cities were given the label of "node," "nexus," or "hub."Christopher Hire, executive director of 2thinknow, explains the process:"Cities that have a high index score are nexus cities, followed by hub then node cities. A node city is a globally "competitive" score, so all cities should aim to be node cities. Node means they are hooked into global networks and connected to the backbone of the global innovation economy.Read the rest of the story here.read on…

NanoBio nails down $22 million to finance future growth

NanoBio has some breathing room research-wise now that that it has locked down millions of dollars in new financing. The Ann Arbor-based firm is expected to use its latest $22 million investment to fund the next two years of its clinical trails."It will fund several activities," says John Coffey, vice president of business development for NanoBio.That funding includes different phases of clinical trails of new drugs for acne, herpes and influenza. Right now the company's staff of 20 people (at the same level as when we checked in last fall) will handle that research. Coffey sees the company adding another 4-5 people within the next year or two.NanoBio, a University of Michigan spin-off, has taken in $60 million in private equity since 2006, including $30 million late last year. Source: John Coffey, vice president of business development for NanoBioWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

NanoBio lands $1.5M Defense grant, to add positions

It's a growth pattern rather than a holding pattern for NanoBio, as evident by its handful of new hires and a $1.5 million federal grant.The biopharmaceutical company has made five hires in the last year, expanding its staff to 25 employees and three interns. It expects to add five more staffers in the next 12 months. They will be kept busy with the 10-year-old company's new $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Dept of Defense.NanoBio will partner with the University of Michigan Medical School to study the use of nanoemulsion-based therapies in the form of topical treatments for protection against burn and wound infections suffered by soldiers in battle. NanoBio expects this grant will help lay the foundation for a clinical trial and commercialization in about three years."This is another step in the process of developing this product," says John Coffey, vice president of business development for NanoBio. He adds that his company expects this product to attract the attention of a number of larger pharma-based firms.NanoBio spun out of the University of Michigan and focuses on developing and commercializing vaccines for infectious diseases. The spin-off accomplishes this with a robust vaccine delivered through a nasal spray, which company leadership expects will be able to move medicine to a more proactive stance, rather than being merely reactive. The firm received a six-figure state tax credit this summer for its planned $1.4 million investment in Ann Arbor and the expectation of creating 32 new jobs over the next five years.Source: John Coffey, vice president of business development for NanoBioWriter: Jon ZemkeRead more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.read on…

NanoBio to invest $1.4M in Ann Arbor, create 32 jobs

There is nothing small about NanoBio's plan to expand in Ann Arbor, thanks to an expected investment of $1.4 million and the creation of 32 new jobs over the next five years.NanoBio spun out of the University of Michigan in 2000 and now focuses on developing and commercializing vaccines for infectious diseases. The spin-off accomplishes this with a robust vaccine delivered through a nasal spray, which NanoBio's leadership expects will be able to move medicine to a more proactive stance, rather than being merely reactive."We have quite an expansive platform technology with a lot of things we want to take advantage of," says Dave Peralta, COO and CFO of NanoBio. "I think we're right in the middle of it with our vaccine."NanoBio plans to invest $1.4 million to expand its current facility over the next five years, thanks to a $434,378 state tax credit from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. That helped the firm choose Ann Arbor over a competing site in Washington, D.C. Jobs, most of which will be research-based and require either an MD or PhD, will be added steadily over the next five years. The company started with two people and now employs 21 and a couple of interns. This includes four hires over the last year.Source: Dave Peralta, COO and CFO of NanoBioWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

NanoBio scientists find way to kill highly resistant bacteria

Many people are scared of germs and bacteria. Even more fear the super bugs that are resistant if not downright hostile to antibiotics. Ann Arbor-based NanoBio has found a way kill at least some of these bacteria.Scientists at the University of Michigan spin-off have developed a topical nanoemulsion that kills the highly resistant strains of bacteria that cause chronic illness and death to people who suffer from cystic fibrosis. The hope is this new technique will help prevent pulmonary failure in patients and ultimately save lives.NanoBio employs about 20 people and three interns, including seven ex-Pfizer employees. It hopes to hire another dozen people or so in the near future.It has taken in tens of millions of dollars in venture capital to follow-through on the clinical trails for the drugs it is developing. It expects to start licensing these products this year.Source: John Coffey, vice president of business development for NanoBioWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

Ann Arbor's NanoBio brings in $12 million in venture capital

NanoBio is attracting some big investment these days. The Ann Arbor-based firm just secured $12 million in new financing to help develop the company, bringing the total amount invested to $80 million.The 3-year-old firm, University of Michigan spin-off, employs about 20 people and a handful of interns. It has hired several ex-Pfizer people after the pharmaceutical giant closed the doors to its Ann Arbor campus in 2007. NanoBio is in the second phase of clinical trails for two of its drugs, which help treat herpes and nail fungus. The biopharmaceutical company expects to begin licensing them to major pharmaceutical companies in 2009. It's also developing products for vaccines that could be up for licensing as soon as late this year or next.Source: John Coffey, vice president of business development for NanoBioWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

C Squared Innovations develops cheaper way to produce lithium ion batteries

Not all tech transfer comes from Michigan's research universities. For example, take C Squared Innovations, a startup founded from innovations created at University of Michigan-Dearborn.Pravansu Mohanty, a mechanical engineering professor at U-M Dearborn, developed a way to cut down the manufacturing costs of lithium ion batteries. "We have an innovative process that bypasses the manufacturing process the industry is developing right now," Mohanty says.The technology, recently on display at U-M's Celebrate Innovation event, is currently undergoing prototype development by the company's three-person team, which includes an intern. Mohanty is looking for a commercial partner to help develop its niche manufacturing. He expects to land that partner within the next year, which should allow him to hire a few engineers with advanced degrees. Think PhDs."We plan to expand to 10 people," Mohanty says.Source: Pravansu Mohanty, founder of C Squared InnovationsWriter: Jon ZemkeRead more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.read on…

Research Corridor Opens Its Doors

Issue Media Group announces Research Corridor - a monthly roundup of the latest R&D, entrepreneurship, and collaborations stemming from Michigan's research university leaders: Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. read on…



U-M hacks into new D.C. voting system; hailed as victorious

Members of the University of Michigan are known as the leaders and the best, and now also as the hacker kings of the free world after taking down Washington, D.C.'s new online voting system. Everyone who voted with that system knew who did it.Excerpt:Last week, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics opened a new Internet-based voting system for a weeklong test period, inviting computer experts from all corners to prod its vulnerabilities in the spirit of "give it your best shot." Well, the hackers gave it their best shot -- and midday Friday, the trial period was suspended, with the board citing "usability issues brought to our attention." Here's one of those issues: After casting a vote, according to test observers, the Web site played "Hail to The Victors" -- the University of Michigan fight song.Read the rest of the story here.read on…

U-M grad students launch surgical device company

A quartet of University of Michigan graduate students are looking to make their fortune by licensing one of their inventions, specifically, a surgical tool called Endocutter. The engineering students (Taarif Jafferi, Rahula Rattan, Zach Weingarden, and Raghunath Katragadda) came up with a device that helps break down and suck up abdominal blood during surgery, allowing doctors to see what's happening."You can see what you're sucking," says Rattan, a PhD candidate at U-M. "Because the things we are sucking are too big, this will cut them up (with a small tool at the tip of suction tube), too."The students created the device during a year-long graduate bio-medical design class and are now trying to patent it. They have received $10,000 in seed funding from the U-M Medical Innovation Center and hope to find a business to partner with and license the technology out by the end of the year.Source: Rahula Rattan, co-inventor of EncocutterWriter: Jon ZemkeRead more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.read on…

Business Insider ranks U-M Ross School in Top 20 MBA programs

Business Insider calls this list of business schools "The 20 Most Popular MBA Programs -- That Most People Have No Chance Of Getting Into" because they are that good. Considering the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business is on that list, it sure sounds believable.Excerpt:YOU might not think an MBA is worth it, but judging by the number of applications received this year, a lot of other people believe otherwise. With the recession in full swing, MBA programs have never been more popular.The nation's 476 MBA programs reportedly received 200,000 completed applications as of late June.  The weakest schools received fewer than ten applications, but the strongest received upwards of 10,000.Read the rest of the story here. Business Insider also ranked the U-M Ross School of Business as the No. 3 business school for entrepreneurship.read on…

Get ready for U-M's 1,000 Pitches contest for student entrepreneurs

Got an idea? The Next Big Idea? Want to see those ideas that can play out into true business startups? Then pay attention to the University of Michigan's 1,000 Pitches contest, where hundreds of university students offer up business concepts in hopes of winning prizes worth $1,000 and maybe even more.Excerpt:A culture of entrepreneurial innovation might not be something one would expect to find in a rust belt state like Michigan, but one student group at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is trying to change that.MPowered Entrepreneurship aims to cultivate and support student entrepreneurs in hopes that they turn their ideas into successful startups, and ideally keep those businesses—and the talent that comes with them—in the state. The group is gearing up this week for its hallmark program, 1,000 Pitches, which asks students to pitch ideas for startup companies via video, and awards $1,000 to the winning ideas.Two University of Michigan students founded the group in 2007 after a trip to Silicon Valley where they saw people "spinning off ideas and businesses left and right," according to Ankit Mehta, a junior majoring in communications, and the president of MPowered. They came back to Michigan with the goal of creating a similar startup community in the state.Read the rest of the story here.read on…

Fusion Coolant Systems wraps up product development, plans for growth

Fusion Coolant Systems is getting ready to commercialize its technology, a move that should create a handful of jobs in Ann Arbor.The University of Michigan spinout has created an environmentally friendly fluid that eliminates toxic cutting fluids in metal processing for industrial sectors such as aerospace. The new technology also improves cutting tools performance while reducing the wear.The Ann Arbor-based company spent its first year developing this technology and expects to commercialize it within the next year. That means qualifying for Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grants and landing a few customers in the manufacturing arena."We expect to have a commercial relationship with a couple of aerospace manufacturing companies by next year," says James Giovanni, director of sales & marketing for Fusion Coolant Systems.The startup began with two employees and has expanded to a staff of six. It expects to bring on another 1-5 people over the next year.Source: James Giovanni, director of sales & marketing for Fusion Coolant SystemsWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

Meet Ann Arbor's newest VC firm: Huron River Ventures

"Venture capital" is becoming Ann Arbor's buzz words these days. Local start-ups are  raising VC funds and new VC firms setting up shop here in Tree Town. Add Huron River Ventures to that list.Two University of Michigan graduates, Ryan Waddington and Tim Streit, are setting up the downtown Ann Arbor-based venture capital firm. The two friends have worked in seed capital jobs across the country for years, ranging from DTE Energy Ventures to HSBC New Business Development, giving them backgrounds in both investment and clean technology."We both decided to come back to Michigan to pursue venture opportunities," Waddington says. "We see great opportunities in clean tech in an underserved market."Huron River Ventures is in the process of establishing itself and lining up financial support from the state of Michigan. Waddington declines to elaborate further because of SEC regulations."We're in the process of putting together a marking-and-communications plan that will allow us to be a little more open," Waddington says.Source: Ryan Waddington, co-founder of Huron River VenturesWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

U-M Ross School of Business starts Social Venture Fund

The Social Venture Fund, the newest seed funding source from the University of Michigan, is looking for a double bottom line.That's the buzz term that means an investment provided both a financial and societal return. The Social Venture Fund plans to invest in for-profit start-ups that make a positive impact on society. The idea is to reflect the broader sentiment of a student body receiving a liberal education.The new $200,000 fund will be run by students at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. "We are very committed to action-based learning for our students," says Gautam Kaul, a finance professor at U-M and managing director of the Social Venture Fund.A student-led committee will run the fund, doing everything from finding potential investees to determining which ones are ultimately worthy of funding. The fund expects to make it first investment before the end of the academic year.Source: Gautam Kaul, managing director of the Social Venture FundWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

Adaptive Materials shares in $750K grant for renewable energy software development

Adaptive Materials has scored another round of seed funding, this time taking down $750,000 in cash from the federal government.The Ann Arbor-based firm is sharing the Small Business Innovation Research grant with fellow Ann Arbor firms, SRT Solutions and The Whole Brain Group. The three companies will use the funds, and potentially a follow-up grant, to create software that makes renewable energy suggestions."It allows our soldiers to pick the right energy sources when they're in the field," says Michelle Crumm, chief business officer of Adaptive Materials. "For instance, when it's a nice sunny day, use a solar panel."The grant will also allow Adaptive Materials to add to its staff of 56 employees, three independent contractors, and one intern. The company has hired six people over the last year and plans to add at least one more.Source: Michelle Crumm, chief business officer of Adaptive MaterialsWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

U-M's tech transfer director says innovation = economic recovery; Xconomy takes note

It's easy to say the road to economic recovery starts with new innovation. University of Michigan tech transfer guru Ken Nisbet tells us how in a recent Q&A with Xconomy.Excerpt:With an annual research budget of more than $1 billion, the University of Michigan is a leading hub of new technological inventions and entrepreneurship. It's serving as a wellspring of new ideas and startups that are helping to lead the economic recovery in the Great Lakes State.Ken Nisbet plays a key role in advancing technologies developed on campus in Ann Arbor to the marketplace. He's the executive director of tech transfer at the university, and his office often serves as a conduit between the academic inventors and the business community (composed of corporations, venture investors, and entrepreneurs) that can provide the financing and other resources to commercialize technologies.Nisbet, 60, joined the tech transfer team at the university in 1996 after a career in various engineering and marketing positions at Ford Motor Company, Digital Equipment Corporation, and Nortel. (He also bleeds maize and blue, having received both his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and his MBA from U-M.)Read the rest of the story here.read on…

Accelerate Michigan Student Idea Competition quarterbacks student entrepreneurs

The University of Michigan has some big expectations for the Accelerate Michigan Student Idea Competition, an offshoot of the inaugural Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition."It's a great opportunity for our students and the state of Michigan," says Doug Neal, managing director of the Center for Entrepreneurship in U-M's College of Engineering. "I'd love to see 1,000 students participate in Accelerate Michigan."That would put it on par with U-M's 1,000 Pitches competition, which attracted 2,065 participants in 2009; more are expected this year. Neal says the two competitions are quite similar because they both require students to primarily pitch business ideas.The Accelerate Michigan Student Idea Competition offers three prizes totaling $50,000. Any college student attending school in the state is eligible. Participants must submit a one-page business plan, a three-minute video pitch, and formulate a 15-minute live pitch. The deadline for applications is October 22. For information, click here.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: Doug Neal, managing director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of MichiganWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

A Q&A With Dug Song

No suit, a skateboard, and an endless thirst for start-ups, Dug Song is one of Michigan's more successful entrepreneurs. Whether its starting companies or organizing social groups or running a tech incubator, Song is perpetually in motion. Concentrate's Jon Zemke caught up with him to discuss both the upsides and downsides of doing business in Ann Arbor.read on…

U-M transforms old Pfizer site into 174-acre research incubator

Where there are challenges there is opportunity. This is an apt description for the University of Michigan's approach to the former Pfizer campus on the northeast side of Ann Arbor. Incubating numerous new life science companies there has the potential to become a bigger economic engine than Pfizer ever was. Excerpt:More than three years after Pfizer announced the closing of its massive pharmaceutical research campus in Ann Arbor, the 174-acre property is springing back to life, with grand ambitions for boosting southeast Michigan's economy.The University of Michigan is in the midst of transforming the land and its 28 buildings into a next-generation research hub where scientists, engineers and others will work closely with local businesses.Start-ups spun off from this kind of collaborative research will be located at a new business accelerator that is to help them grow.And in a first for the university, established, for-profit companies will be allowed to move into the facilities."The North Campus Research Complex represents an opportunity to do something different," said David Canter, the campus' executive director. "Just filling up space is not the mission."Read the rest of the story here.read on…

U-M draws $277M in federal stimulus research grants

The federal stimulus package has turned out to be a good thing for the University of Michigan - $277 million dollars' worth of good.The university has received about $140 million in each of the last two years in research grants from the feds. This represents a 12-14 percent bump in research expenditures at U-M."We're hoping these (federal stimulus-funded) projects will make us more competitive for the existing research grants," says Lee Katterman, project manager in the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan.The university still hopes to maintain this new level of federal research funding, however, that's still a big hole to fill. Katterman says it's not easy to predict if there will be a drop-off. "That's the million-dollar question, you might say," Katterman says.The funding has created at least 550 jobs at the university, ranging from researchers to professors. Source: Lee Katterman, project manager in the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of MichiganWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

Ann Arbor makes 75 Best College Towns list

The city of Ann Arbor and the U-M need to clear a little more room on the mantle for another piece of hardware. You know what, maybe Tree Town should sacrifice one of its trees so it can start building another mantle.Excerpt:The College Destinations Index goes beyond standard college and university rankings, which typically focus on the schools themselves, including cost, academics and athletic programs. Instead, the CDI analyzes the areas in which the schools are located, including the overall academic environment, quality of life, such as cost of living and arts and leisure activities, and professional opportunities.  "Deciding what school to attend should involve more than what the school itself has to offer," says Keming Liang, AIER's lead researcher on the project. "Where to attend college is just as important, because like the colleges themselves, the towns and cities in which they are located vary widely in the opportunities they offer students and recent graduates."Read the rest of the story here.read on…

Xconomy on U-M Dearborn's Innovation Index increase

The new economy is rearing its head in Metro Detroit, and it looks good. But then again, when don't new jobs, investment, and innovation look good?Excerpt:If you squint just the right way at new numbers from a quarterly "innovation index" released by the University of Michigan-Dearborn, you might just believe that Michigan could be headed toward an actual end to the recession.The index, which measures things like loans, VC funding, and new incorporations rose to 89 (out of 100) in the first quarter of 2010, up from 83.3 in the fourth quarter of 2009. This is the highest rise in the index since 2008.The jump is attributed to an increase in trademark applications and incorporation filings, but new university spinoffs and economic development efforts are also contributing to the improving figures.Read the rest of the story here.read on…

Student-led investment fund invests in Ann Arbor's Ambiq Micro

The University of Michigan's Frankel Commercialization Fund is investing in Ambiq Micro, a U-M spin-off that specializes in making tiny, energy-efficient microprocessors.The student-led fund did not disclose the amount of the investment, but the Ann Arbor-based start-up expects to use the money to hire 4-6 people over the next year. More importantly, it will seek and attract customers for its technology."It's a very important part of the sales process," says Scott Hanson, CEO and founder of Ambiq Micro. "It establishes credibility."The 9-month-old firm is developing energy-efficient micro-processors that dramatically extend the battery life of wireless devices. They can be utilized in several different applications, ranging from smart credit cards to sensors that control temperature to medical devices. Hanson expects to have the first engineering samples ready by next year and to launch the product by 2012.Ambiq Micro started with three founders and now has two employees and 3-4 independent contractors. It recently made its second hire. The Frankel Commercialization Fund, based at the U-M Ross School of Business, is the country's first student-led pre-seed investment fund, not to be confused with the school's venture capital fund: the Wolverine Venture Fund.Source: Scott Hanson, CEO and founder of Ambiq MicroWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

Kiplinger calls Ann Arbor one of 10 Great Cities to Raise a Family

Attracting and retaining young professionals is one thing. Making it a great place for them to make future young professionals is another. Luckily, Ann Arbor is doing well at both.Excerpt:The Ann Arbor Public School District is consistently ranked one of the best in the country, and its students score far above average on state and national standardized tests. Add that to the city's low crime rate and high family income, and you have a stable, progressive place to raise a family, 40 minutes from Detroit. Plus, it's the home of the top-ranked University of Michigan, with three museums and great NCAA sports programs.Read the rest of the story here.read on…

Do everything possible to help studentpreneurs, U-M president says in Forbes

We should be doing more, in fact anything possible, to help foster entrepreneurship with our students. That's the message from Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, who is in favor of molding the most malleable section of the population into the job creators of tomorrow.Excerpt:Entrepreneurs on today's college campuses are no longer only huddled together at the business school. They are emerging from the hallways in our music schools and our engineering programs. They are coming forward with fresh ideas in architecture and medicine.The educational programs designed to draw out these innovative thinkers must be welcoming to all students willing to take a risk on what some might call their "crazy ideas."The late President Ronald Reagan got it right in 1988 when he told students at Moscow State University, "These entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all of the economic growth in the United States."If he were making that same point today, Reagan might have to address the students more directly. Instead of discussing "these" entrepreneurs he would need to say "you" entrepreneurs.Entrepreneurism is breaking out all over our college campuses. At the University of Michigan we've learned that many of our students are creating opportunities for themselves even before they get to campus. One survey found that as many as 15% of our incoming freshmen had already started businesses.Read the rest of the story here.read on…

Hamztec wins $1M grant to research an end to hair pulling

Ann Arbor-based Hamztec has received a $1 million grant from the National Institute of Health. The company plans to use the proceeds for development of a product that will help people stop compulsively pulling their hair.The Ann Arbor SPARK client will use the grant to hire six people plus a handful of independent contractors. David Perlman, co-founder of Hamztec and its only employee, expects his start-up to commercialize its product within 2.5 years, a timeframe that could be as short as one year if the company attracts more investment.Hamztec was co-founded in 2007 by David Perlman and Joseph Himle, a professor of psychiatry and social work at the University of Michigan. The firm's principal product tracks and helps correct Trichotillomania, a disorder in which people compulsively pull out their own hair."Ninety percent of this behavior happens out of consciousness," Perlman says. "They would study or read a book, get up and there is a pile of hair there and they don't know how it got there."The product will track hand movement and set off an alarm when patients pull their hair. A specific code must then be entered to turn the alarm off. This technology also tracks and logs the behavior for analysis by mental health professionals.'This is the first method so a therapist knows behavior outside of the office," Perlman says.Source: David Perlman, co-founder of HamztecWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…

At U-M club, squirrels get peanuts for pay

Just when you thought University of Michigan students couldn't get any quirkier, meet the members of the Michigan Squirrel Club, a new student-run organization focusing on the rodents that rule the Diag. This kind of extracurricular may lead to higher GPAs, so the theory goes.Excerpt:What they do: The main purpose is to "spread a bit of squirrely cheer to everyone," says club president Peter Feng. To put it simply, members spend their Sunday afternoons feeding peanuts to the hundreds of fat squirrels that roam U of M's campus. "Salted peanuts are unhealthy, so we just give them roasted or raw," Feng says. "I don't think the squirrels mind what they get."Read the rest of the story here.read on…

Ann Arborites return to launch Resonant Venture Partners

The University of Michigan's Wolverine Venture Fund is supposed to serve as a real-life proving ground for Ross School of Business students aiming for a career in venture capital. It's now serving as the launching pad for a local venture capital start-up - Resonant Venture Partners.Two U-M MBA students, Michael Godwin and Jason Townsend, are using their experience with the $5.5 million student-run fund as a primary leg for their new Ann Arbor-based VC firm to stand on. The other leg is the two Michigan natives' entrepreneurial experience in Silicon Valley before they decided to return home and set up their own shop."We came back to get our MBAs and enter the venture capital world," says Jason Townsend, partner of Resonant Venture Partners. "There is opportunity to enter the venture capital industry here. On the coasts, the venture funds are being culled."Resonant Venture Partners recently made its first investment, teaming up with Silicon Valley-based True Ventures to invest $1 million in Ann Arbor-based Scio Security. The VC firm has attracted two top names to its board in EDF Ventures' Mary Campbell and Tom Kinnear, managing director of the Wolverine Venture Fund and head of U-M's Zell Lurie Institute.Godwin and Townsend have a $10 million fundraising target over the next 18 months. They hope to stay planted in Ann Arbor and have $100 million under management within the next decade. They see a steady pipeline of high-quality start-ups coming from the University of Michigan and its office of Tech Transfer. "We're hitting the investment trail hard right now," Townsend says.Source: Jason Townsend, partner, Resonant Venture PartnersWriter: Jon Zemkeread on…



Ann Arbor Companies, Global Markets

It's less about world conquest and more about smart business. Ann Arbor firms are reaching out into the global marketplace and finding great success. Some even call the Mitten home but do little to no business here.read on…

Ann Arbor's International Welcome Mat

With nearly 20% of Ann Arbor's population speaking a foreign first language, the city's diversity is clearly rooted in immigration, international students, and global business development. So, how do we engage these strangers in a strange land? Enter SPARK's Cultural Ambassador program, an effort by local business leaders to attract and retain foreign-born talent.read on…
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