216 W. Michigan Ave. Michael Ploof of Tinkertech in downtown Ypsi, right across from SPARK East headquarters, has a unique space. Sewing machines line the room that looks out of a storefront on the main drag packed with antique tin-ceiling shops. Events here at Tinkertech focus on everything from Arduino controller programming for automatic garden watering to 3D printing and laser cutting to electronics.
As of 2019, Detroit now has 4 unicorns–Duo, Stockx, Rivian, and OneStream–tech companies valued at more than 1 billion dollars. Detroit is home to a growing number of startups that are slowly revolutionizing the city’s economy and the economy of the Midwest, which is attracting back talent from the coasts due to balanced work-life culture, affordable cost of living, and growing tech-related industries. It’s still a work in progress, but Michigan appears to have finally stemmed the tide of talent leaving for jobs elsewhere.
Recently, Phimation Strategy executive coach Dave Haviland and team piloted a podcast with Ann Arbor SPARK called SPARK.grow and a new pilot program for mentoring startup founders and tech professionals called Rising Leaders. Now, even if you’re not part of the first cohort, you can join the Rising Leaders program for a panel on leadership and career advice in Ann Arbor.
We knew this would happen, it just came sooner than expected. We couldn’t possibly cronicle all the amazing tech-related events around Ann Arbor and Detroit, much less the entire state of Michigan, in one post anymore, so our tech events posts will now contain highlighted events you might not know about or one-off conferences you won’t want to miss.
Human Element, of Top 20 Fastest Growing Companies in Michigan, Creates The Kind of Culture They Want To Stay In
“We’ve been experiencing 3-4 years of 30% growth rate year over year,” Human Element’s Ben Lorenz tells us. “We’ve been an Inc 5000 company 3 years in a row and last year were named one of the Top 20 fastest growing companies in Michigan.” Ann Arbor is one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the Midwest, but what explains some companies like Human Element growing so much more quickly than others? To some extent, it’s positioning and the market they’re in. It’s no secret that AI companies are hot, as well as security. An e-commerce strategy company like Human Element has a lot of work to do catching up Midwest companies to digital business processes and online sales. But that’s not all it is.
Rebecca Cunningham, the University of Michigan Interim VP for Research with Tech Transfer and Kelly Sexton, Associate VP for Research at Technology Transfer and Innovation Partnerships at U of M TechTransfer, held a panel this week at Celebrate Invention on a milestone year for the University of Michigan developing inventions, research, and startups from work done by faculty and researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. TechTransfer is the licensing office that helps researchers and faculty at the University of Michigan who develop inventions and new business ideas spin off intellectual property with proper licensing from the University of Michigan. This year, according to Cunningham, the University of Michigan has developed 502 new inventions, 198 patents, 232 licenses and options with industry, and founded a record 22 new startups.
It’s day 2 of DevOps Days Detroit at CCS overlooking the downtown skyline of Detroit from New Center, and once again the theme is trending toward a common challenge for devops teams: handling disasters and rollouts. Devops folks are no strangers to stress, and the speaker lineup this morning covered a number of recognizable topics to people on teams who have been faced with an onslaught of challenges.
Day one of DevOps Days Detroit is in progress in downtown Detroit at the Alfred A. Taubman Center for Creative Studies, launching with talks by national and local speakers on subjects from data security to tech education for underprivileged youth in Michigan. Executive leader and coach Ryan Lockard kicked off with a talk on “The Enterprise SRE (eSRE) Approach, discussing how SRE helps turn fragile, error-prone enterprise computing into robust systems. “Even further,” Lockard’s talk summarized, “with Contino’s Enterprise Site Reliability Engineering (eSRE), you can tap into your organization’s ability to connect technology decisions to the customer experience or business decisions.”
Kristin Judge is a former Washtenaw County Commissioner elected in 2008, who has also worked as Director of Government Affairs at the National Cyber Security Alliance where she worked with Google, the FTC, FBI, SBA, DHS, and NIST to educate the public on how to protect sensitive data. As such she was the perfect person to run the CyberCrime Support public-private collaboration that helps consumers and businesses after they have been the target of cyber-fraud at FraudSupport.org.
Age-old story at this point: “A lot of people don’t realize how important supporting entrepreneurship is for the economy,” Doug Huesdash, COO of the ACRE AgTech Incubator in Allendale, west Michigan, tells Cronicle. “We see GM and Steelcase, and we need them, but small business hiring now equals large company hiring.” This is according to GAN, the Global Accelerator Network that Acreagtech is a part of, a spinoff of Techstars.
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?