Month: March, 2019

Ann Arbor-based Clinc AI Announces $52 million Series B
News

Ann Arbor-based Clinc AI Announces $52 million Series B

Ann Arbor-based Clinc, a conversational AI company featured in our recent piece on the Cahoots coworking space, today announced a $52-million Series B round of funding as the tech company works toward an upcoming IPO in 2022. The investments come from partners including Insight Partners, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Drive Capital, and DFJ Growth. Clinc’s…

Apply To Speak at DevOps Days Detroit 2019
DevOps, Tech Events

Apply To Speak at DevOps Days Detroit 2019

Do you love DevOps? Yeah, well, some people do. DevOps Days Detroit has quickly taken off as a favorite small (for now) conference for DevOps folks in Ann Arbor-Detroit, and there’s time still both to register (conference runs Oct 23-24, 2019) and to apply to give a talk. Folks in back channels have been telling…

Kinetica Labs Launches New Ergonomic Software
Software, Tech News

Kinetica Labs Launches New Ergonomic Software

Kinetica Labs is a relatively new startup spun off from the University of Michigan, headed by professor Dr. SangHyun Lee and CEO Brenda Jones along with a small team of ergonomics researchers and software engineers. What they have created is a software program that replaces years of cumbersome processes putting markers or bodysuits on workers…

Ann Arbor Tech Professionals: Call for Interviews
Announcements, News

Ann Arbor Tech Professionals: Call for Interviews

Cronicle Press launched just over a month ago, and already has 1,000 users, thanks in large part to you, the professionals of Ann Arbor tech, and your enormously generous networks. We intended to start small with a prototype of about a dozen interviews we could show potential interview subjects and eventually sponsors to help get…

Mike Beasley of Amazon on the Growth of UX in Michigan
Mobility Tech, Software, User Experience

Mike Beasley of Amazon on the Growth of UX in Michigan

Mike Beasley of Amazon is the co-chair of UX Ignite MI with his colleague Andrea Neuhoff of Thompson-Reuters. Together they represent a cohort of user experience and product design professionals that are a growing pool of talent in the Michigan area. “Amazon has found Detroit a rewarding place to hire,” Beasley says. “Until Amazon moved in, there was a lot of talent not being tapped.”

Peerstachio: A Student Venture About Connection Connects with A2 Tech
Software, University of Michigan

Peerstachio: A Student Venture About Connection Connects with A2 Tech

In our recent two-part series on the student entrepreneurs of the University of Michigan at the TechArb accelerator and Innovation in Action program, we profiled a young entrepreneur named Scarlett Ong Rui Chern and her venture called Peerstachio. One of the things that struck me as I interviewed Chern was the sheer number of grants she had managed to wrangle to keep her venture afloat, and the amount of support she had received from TechTown and the University of Michigan programs and departments dedicated to supporting student entrepreneurs. “There are so many resources at U of M,” Chern tells me, “we really have the upper hand.”

Innovate Blue: Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan
Announcements, University of Michigan

Innovate Blue: Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan

Jeni Olney’s role at the University of Michigan is to get students excited and interested in entrepreneurship, to be exposed to the idea of entrepreneurship as a useful skill set and a valuable degree. “Then, once I get them into classes, my job is to connect them to resources,” Olney says. This is Innovate Blue, the University of Michigan’s program for connecting any and all undergraduate students with the option of a minor in entrepreneurship.

Leadership & Team Building with Orchestructure Founder Mario Loria
DevOps, Leadership, Software

Leadership & Team Building with Orchestructure Founder Mario Loria

Mario Loria is still in his late twenties, but on his team at super hot Detroit-based startup StockX, the billion-dollar luxury goods stock exchange run by Josh Luber, he’s one of the older team members. Loria is the founder of Ann Arbor meetup Orchestructure (2017) for devops and related folks to geek out over latest tech and best practices, and his career started in Ann Arbor with a tech company that had a more traditional management style. He also founded his own company between these gigs, somewhere between helping organize DevOps Days Detroit and starting several other projects. Thus, he has some strongly held ideas about team structure and culture, and what he sees as a slow shift toward transparency in the workplace serving tech teams well–but kind of taking forever.

Chip Off Silicon Valley: The Student Entrepreneurs of Ann Arbor (Part 2)
Medical Tech, Software

Chip Off Silicon Valley: The Student Entrepreneurs of Ann Arbor (Part 2)

… Innovation in Action uses the same work space as TechArb for students to come brainstorm ideas for new ventures. Students and mentors first meet to discuss ideas, then browse presentations on the walls featuring different components of the business ideas and the challenges they are attempting to solve. People can place a dot sticker near any idea that sparks their interest, and leave Post-Its with questions the idea raises for them. This was the process going on during the IIA meeting. Entrepreneurs can see how their idea strikes people, where the interest is clustered, and have a chance to address concerns or questions as their business idea progresses. As we go around the room at the Innovation in Action meeting, Gourley introduces people involved in one or both programs with Innovation or TechArb.

On Maps & Empathy, with Jonathon Baugh of Pillar
Mobility Tech, Software, User Experience

On Maps & Empathy, with Jonathon Baugh of Pillar

Jonathon Baugh, Experience Architect Senior Manager at Pillar Technology, loves his farm. And karate. And maps. And especially people. He uses all of these disparate topics as basis for talks he gives on user experience and design. “In the design community we have to take inspiration from outside of industry,” he says, in order to gain new insights into why and how things are done and what we take for granted. This helps Baugh make new connections between ideas for great user experience. “That’s a powerful technique,” he says. There’s something about studying maps in particular, learning about new worlds, that leads to great product road maps. “Overlaying two topics, to me, is how I make a difference.”

Chip Off Silicon Valley: The Student Entrepreneurs of Ann Arbor (Part 1)
Software, Sustainable Energy

Chip Off Silicon Valley: The Student Entrepreneurs of Ann Arbor (Part 1)

In the office suites below the Washington Street parking garage near State, student entrepreneurs from the University of Michigan and their mentors have gathered for a meeting, where they present business ideas in a setup similar to an art gallery. The atmosphere is hushed, thoughtful. The ubiquitous Zingerman’s catering elves have come and gone, leaving pound cake and coffee. Attendees mill around examining the structure for each business on the walls. At the end of the meeting, the posters and papers are covered in little stickers and notes of feedback.

Who Is Cronicle Press?
Announcements

Who Is Cronicle Press?

Cronicle Press is you, the Ann Arbor tech community. We don’t talk enough. We don’t follow each other on Twitter. We come to occasional meetups, but maybe we don’t have time for every group we’d like to keep up with, and it’s getting harder by the year to follow how many new startups are out there in town.

UX Ignite Michigan 2019
Tech Events, User Experience

UX Ignite Michigan 2019

It was packed to capacity and standing room only. The sixth annual UX Ignite meetup on user experience held this year at Circ Bar next to the Blind Pig on downtown Ann Arbor’s west side was an almost comedy club type setup for some very engaging speakers on the subjects of digital product design, user experience… and goats. One speaker, Jonathon Baugh of Pillar, had recently moved to the country west of Ann Arbor to start a family farm, so his talk focused on the parallel lessons between running a farm and the user experience of technology products. He told stories about surprisingly predictable seasonal visits from owls, and how he learned you have to catch the maple syrup at the exact right time of spring when the up and down cold weather makes the sap run. “Think about the season your users are going through,” he said, pointing to a photo of his toddler son drinking from a maple sap tap hose. “And learn to lean in to your users.” Instead of telling users what they need, listen to how they already use products and interfaces. The example for this? His goats found ways to knock down trees as snacks. Instead of restraining them, Baugh started a yearly tradition of feeding his goats an offering of recycled Christmas trees. Creating new routines on the farm and in technology can also create unintended users, he said, pointing to a video of him petting a “trash panda,” an opossum who was attracted to the farm’s new offerings.