It’s been a while since we played a scavenger hunt, but these days augmented reality seems just the thing to make these old-fashioned games fresh again. Plus, on our phones we don’t have to get in trouble deciding if we should follow a clue like “find the oldest bones around” by taking forbidden photos in the dinosaur museum or asking an old guy crossing the street to take a selfie with us…. Closing out our summer series on Michigan-based gaming studios is Scavenger, another student launched out of the University of Michigan OptiMize program that has continued as the co-founders Kyle Zappitell (CEO) and Harry Stephens (CPO) and other team members moved to LA, New York, and Chicago. Co-founder Kyle Zappitell tells us his startup Scavenger is an augmented reality scavenger game app that allows users to combine augmented reality and real-world gaming to win cash prizes. For now, the testing zone for the game is based in Chicago, but other cities are coming soon.
The Tangent Gallery in Detroit this weekend is hosting the Marvelous Detroit Art Emporium for a multimedia music and art show Saturday August 17. Why promote this for a tech blog? Because BrandXR’s augmented reality murals are part of the show. Come check out the multimedia art recently featured on Cronicle created by Moody Mattan and friends. Summer is drawing to a close in a few weeks. Check this out for some end of summer festival fun.
College campuses have been through a number of crises lately, from dealing with increasing academic pressure to a growing number of active shooters to high rates of alcohol abuse among young people. One startup aims to offer students support in a format that works for their lives–in demand, online, and peer to peer. hEARt is a new startup founded at the University of Michigan out of the OptiMize program, which is creating a platform and peer mentoring service to combat the mental health crisis facing many students in college and even in high school.
There are a number of successful co-working locations in Ann Arbor, so what makes yet another one special? David Whitinger of Office Evolution Ann Arbor said that he was looking for an opportunity that would reflect the culture of startups in Ann Arbor, and Office Evolution out of Denver really spoke to him because of the layout. Unlike most open-concept co-working spaces that aim to foster collaboration and socialization through single desks packed into an open room, Office Evolution is an office concept that allows teams to close their office door for private conversations, then emerge into the shared office kitchen and lounge for more connection. For teams engaged in proprietary discussions–automotive, legal, security, for instance–it’s an essential difference. And that is who has populated Office Evolution.
How does a young marketer bring best practices from one of the world’s most elite marketing academies and festivals back to a small tech town and apply it to B2B marketing? Silas Bush of Nexient recently was accepted to the Cannes Young Lions Marketing Academy, one of 4 small classes of marketing professionals at the 66th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France, and says he learned a lot from hobnobbing with the CMOs of major global brands from tech to retail on how certain marketing practices can be applied to any kind of business. Everyone from Loreal to Google and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg to Redbull to actors Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum were there on the French Riviera, where Bush says the connections with technology taught him an enormous amount about how to apply agency best practices to tech marketing.
The market for software development teams serving software companies is saturated, at least in Ann Arbor, where Alfa Jango founder Steve Schwartz has started and/or sold several startups himself alongside helping other new companies. That’s why he decided several years ago to focus on helping non-tech startups get the software development and guidance they would need so they could focus on the subject area they were expertise in. The results speak for themselves. Alfa Jango now serves clients that hail from YCombinator to Carnegie Mellon to the University of Michigan, and after selling startup Carcode to Edmunds in 2014 with a co-founder, Schwartz has now started another company called Genomenon on the side, which true to his vision uses his technical expertise on the tech side but focuses primarily on creating a genome interpretation software that empowers genomicists to compile and analyze research on immune disorders and cancer to better serve patients–rather than worrying about the software that allows them to do their work. Genomenon helps companies develop therapies or precision medicine to treat root causes of disease instead of symptoms, or build their knowledge database.
We live in a time where old orders are collapsing: from the post-colonial nation states of the Middle East to the EU and the American election. Amid all of this, a generation of young men find themselves burning with resentment, without the money, power, and sex they think they deserve. Written and performed by Javaad Alipoor and co-directed by Kirsty Housley (who also co-directed Complicite’s The Encounter), this multimedia show weaves together stories of three disaffected men and their journeys to radicalization, exploring the smoke and mirrors world of online extremism, anonymity, and hate speech.
We’re adding more Detroit tech events this month as we begin to expand our tech news coverage into other regional tech towns in Michigan. Let us know if we’ve missed your event, and please add us to your press lists and newsletters to keep us in the loop on your meetups!
It’s an improving but still perennial issue for the “flyover states”: finding funding for your business. Different types of tech companies require different types of funding, but it never hurts to know who is out there. With this in mind, the Michigan Venture Capital Association has created the Michigan Entrepreneurial & Investment Landscape Map, which includes not only local and regional VCs and angels but also economic development corporations, university partners, funds of funds, and more.
You live in Ann Arbor or maybe you just work here. From the chatter on the street or in the restaurants, you know thousands of people here work in technology. Walking from Main St. to State St., it’s hard to not notice a tech t-shirt, banter about code, signs on offices with made up words. Whether they’re startups or billion dollar businesses with offices here, tech is all over Ann Arbor today and they’re all hiring. There is so much happening, where can we all find out about what’s going on where?