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Detroit-based firms make the semifinals of the Accelerate Michigan competition

A handful of Detroit's most promising start-ups have reached the semi-finals of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition.

The 2nd-annual business plan competition focuses on showcasing the best and brightest entrepreneurs and start-ups in Michigan. The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition also works to make seed capital accessible to the the participating companies. Those opportunities range from $1 million in prizes, including $500,000 for first place, to exposure to a number of angel investors, venture capitalists and other investors.

Organizers of this year's competition recently announced the semi-finalists. Those 53 start-ups include four companies based in Detroit. Among those firms are a healthy representation of TechTown-based start-ups, such NextCAT, ArtJen Complexus USA and ApoLife.

"The exposure is huge," says Ocie Irons, director of entrepreneurial programs at TechTown. "The opportunity for entrepreneurs to present their business plans themselves and get people excited about them is huge."

The Detroit-based firms is Detroit Venture Partners' portfolio firm, Are You a Human. The downtown-based start-up that is reinventing CAPTCHA technology has enjoyed quite a bit of business plan competition success. Among its wins are the prestigious Rice University Business Plan Competition, which netted the start-up a little more than $100,000.

Source: Ocie Irons, director of entrepreneurial programs at TechTown
Writer: Jon Zemke
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