MI Roundup: BANSEM’s Impact, Versicor, Hatch Detroit, Co-Lab Detroit

May 29, 2014

Here’s a look at recent news from Michigan’s innovation hubs:

—Today, Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley, Macomb-OU Incubator, and TechTown Detroit announced their collective impact on Michigan’s innovation economy: 7,725 technology jobs and 225 technology companies created. Those companies have gone on to garner $300 million in follow-on investment.

After a $3 million grant from the New Economy Initiative, the accelerators came together in 2010 to form the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan (BANSEM), and each offers programming that pushes forward the commercialization of technology developed at universities, within private entities, and at hospitals.

“BANSEM accelerators continue to act as a catalyst for economic growth in our region,” said Leslie Smith, president and CEO of TechTown, in a press release. “Beyond education and encouragement, the impact data released today speaks to a clear-eyed commitment to execute—not in silos, but as a thoughtfully integrated support system.”

—Versicor, an electronics and software company based in Royal Oak, has launched its inaugural Ideas to Action contest designed to help tech entrepreneurs transform their cleantech, transportation, and medical product ideas into marketable inventions. Winners will receive $250,000 worth of electronics, controls, and software development services, as well as access to Versicor’s platform and team of engineers. Contest applications will be accepted through Aug. 15, with winners announced on Aug. 30. For details, click here.

—The annual Comerica Hatch Detroit contest, which asks the community to vote online for 10 potential entrepreneurial ideas in order to pick the recipient of the $50,000 grand prize, will begin accepting applications June 1. This year, the Detroit Lions will also offer financial and ancillary support to Hatch alumni who have followed through on the business plan laid out during the contest but who need more assistance to open or improve their business.

In addition to the cash prize, this year’s winner will get a package of services including legal, marketing and advertising, accounting, and IT support. All applications must be submitted online by July 16; click here for guidelines and rules.

—Co-Lab Detroit, a coalition of co-working spaces, announced this week that it will offer a travel pass that allows members to visit any participating space free, up to three times per month. According to the press release, the travel pass aims to help increase collaboration and business growth. Co-Lab Detroit will host open house events during the week of June 2, which are open to non-members, and will offer a free work day on June 6 at any of the seven participating spaces: Bamboo Detroit, Office in Detroit, Bizdom, Grand Circus, Junction440, Practice Space, and In the Black Suites. For a complete schedule of open house events, click here.

—Start Garden, the Rick DeVos-backed $15 million seed fund that invests $5,000 each week in an entrepreneurial idea, announced this week that This Day in Art is its latest recipient. This Day in Art is a crowdsourced digital art exhibit that connects emerging artists with large-scale audiences. Founder Josh Donnelly says he will use the investment to create a simple, intuitive website design.