New Michigan Startups Pitch Tech for Social Justice, Trade, and Legal Relief
By Laura Cowan
Laura K. Cowan is a tech editor and journalist whose work has focused on promoting sustainability initiatives for automotive, green tech, and conscious living media outlets.
A2NewTech is a tradition around Ann Arbor and Michigan startup culture. New startups come to pitch ideas for feedback, to attract funding, and to polish their pitch. This month's A2NewTech included the following new Michigan startups:
www.rivet.work - Louis Gelinas - Rivet Work helps trade workers get to work and earn a better living, whether that is going to their next job, their current job, or their next employer.
Detroit-based Rivet Work was recently listed as a top Detroit startup to watch by Purpose Jobs (full disclosure: we are now partnering with Purpose Jobs for content marketing). Rivet Work features a software tool that schedules trade jobs and helps companies organize workers within the construction industry, where projects are still often run by spreadsheet. According to co-founder Louis Gelinas, scheduling software was the access point for Rivet Work to support everyone from journeymen and foremen to company owners. "We give schedulers super powers," Gelinas said, through cloud-based tools. Pricing runs about $10 per worker per month. Rivet Work is hiring developers and designers and raising a round.
www.meknology.com - Daniel Hodges - Meknology's purpose is to help those who have been adversely affected by social injustice with access to empowering technologies.
Meknology is developing a patented technology to offer clean water as a byproduct of normally polluting manufacturing processes using sustainable methods. "Manufacturers who treat wastewater have a problem," said founder Daniel Hodges. Processes for manufacturing create a lot of salts, compounds, and toxic chemicals that can't be safely released back into the environment. Meknology's tech is solar- and wind-powered with a backup grid power option and is first being used to address chrome plating processes, in which evaporators normally produce PFAS and other chemicals. Meknology can also create a non-liquid waste product that doesn't leach into the water table. Tech is patent pending and has been supported by grants and industry contractors.
www.ticketavengers.com - DeAngelo Smith - Ticket Avengers is geared to organize and accelerate legal relief.
Founder and CEO of Ticket Avengers DeAngelo Smith said he aimed to "organize and accelerate legal relief and aim to close the justice gap by providing affordability and accessibility to low income and moderate income individuals." The problem with the justice system as Ticket Avengers sees it is that suspended licenses can be troublesome to lower income individuals because it disconnects them from work, job opportunities, family, and more. Fines and fees are expensive for lower income individuals as well. "Poverty is something that shouldn't be criminalized," Smith said. Legal representation can also be expensive. 80% of legal civil needs of those living in poverty are unmet as well as 60% of middle class individuals. "We feel that's a huge gap in the legal system," Smith said. Ticket Avengers helps users find an attorney online through a platform and manage fees and fines, so that people without an attorney on speed dial can find help affordably when they need to handle traffic fines, impounded vehicle expenses, and the like.