Laura Cowan

A Look Inside The University of Michigan Desai Venture Accelerator
University of Michigan

A Look Inside The University of Michigan Desai Venture Accelerator

The University of Michigan has a Princeton Review #1-rated ecosystem for student entrepreneurs and multiple venture accelerators, which is great support for budding startups in Ann Arbor and Michigan’s growing tech industry. But what really goes on behind closed doors? As supportive as the University of Michigan is for new businesses being spun out from faculty or run through funded programs with multiple levels of mentorship, this can all still look a bit opaque from the outside. As part of our mission to highlight the accelerating growth of Ann Arbor and Michigan regional tech over the past few years, we wanted to sit down with the Desai Accelerator run out of U-M’s Zell Lurie Institute at the Ross School of Business to hear how things work and what resources are out there for people looking to connect. This is a newer program, and still being shaped.

Voxel51 Chosen As AI Top Pick To Present at Tech Disrupt 2019
Mobility Tech, News, Software

Voxel51 Chosen As AI Top Pick To Present at Tech Disrupt 2019

Ann Arbor’s Voxel51, an AI startup that analyzes video for self-driving automotive applications and more, was featured last week in TechCrunch for its seed funding round raising $2 million, and because the company was chosen as a top 5 AI/machine learning company across the U.S. selected as a TechCrunch Top Pick to present at Tech Disrupt 2019. AI is growing up, and startups like Voxel51 are getting out there. That’s because Voxel51 is using adaptive tech to analyze videos using AI, not just traditionally frame by frame, but through analyzing the relationships between frames to understand what is going on content-wise over time.

Orangesplash’s Geoxhibit Brings Interactive Machine Learning To Museums & Zoos
Software, User Experience

Orangesplash’s Geoxhibit Brings Interactive Machine Learning To Museums & Zoos

You go to the zoo, but you’ve just missed the lions, who are taking a break in the shade across the enclosure. Sometimes, visits to zoos and museums are like this. What if the app on your phone helped you plan your visit, buzzed you when the lions were being fed, and when you pointed your camera at their faces, it identified them for you by name using machine learning and gave you info on their health and history? Geoxhibit, from Ann Arbor design firm Orangesplash, is a new app that brings all kinds of custom features to museums, zoos, and gardens that helps visitors not only connect with the enormous amount of specialized knowledge held by exhibits and staff on site, but also customize their visit with exhibit planning, customized scavenger hunts, and more.

Scavenger Is An Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt For Adults
Fun, University of Michigan

Scavenger Is An Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt For Adults

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.

Detroit Art Emporium Invites You To A Multimedia Art Festival Saturday August 17
Fun, News

Detroit Art Emporium Invites You To A Multimedia Art Festival Saturday August 17

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.

Tech Startup hEARt Brings An Empathetic Ear To Students Everywhere
Software, University of Michigan

Tech Startup hEARt Brings An Empathetic Ear To Students Everywhere

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.

Office Evolution Experiences Early Co-Working Success in Ann Arbor
Networking, Tech News

Office Evolution Experiences Early Co-Working Success in Ann Arbor

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.

Nexient’s Silas Bush on Bringing Cannes Young Lions Best Practices to B2B Tech Marketing
Networking, News

Nexient’s Silas Bush on Bringing Cannes Young Lions Best Practices to B2B Tech Marketing

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.

Alfa Jango Acts As CTO and Development Team for Startups
Software

Alfa Jango Acts As CTO and Development Team for Startups

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.

A Look Inside The University of Michigan Desai Venture Accelerator
University of Michigan

A Look Inside The University of Michigan Desai Venture Accelerator

The University of Michigan has a Princeton Review #1-rated ecosystem for student entrepreneurs and multiple venture accelerators, which is great support for budding startups in Ann Arbor and Michigan’s growing tech industry. But what really goes on behind closed doors? As supportive as the University of Michigan is for new businesses being spun out from faculty or run through funded programs with multiple levels of mentorship, this can all still look a bit opaque from the outside. As part of our mission to highlight the accelerating growth of Ann Arbor and Michigan regional tech over the past few years, we wanted to sit down with the Desai Accelerator run out of U-M’s Zell Lurie Institute at the Ross School of Business to hear how things work and what resources are out there for people looking to connect. This is a newer program, and still being shaped.

Voxel51 Chosen As AI Top Pick To Present at Tech Disrupt 2019
Mobility Tech, News, Software

Voxel51 Chosen As AI Top Pick To Present at Tech Disrupt 2019

Ann Arbor’s Voxel51, an AI startup that analyzes video for self-driving automotive applications and more, was featured last week in TechCrunch for its seed funding round raising $2 million, and because the company was chosen as a top 5 AI/machine learning company across the U.S. selected as a TechCrunch Top Pick to present at Tech Disrupt 2019. AI is growing up, and startups like Voxel51 are getting out there. That’s because Voxel51 is using adaptive tech to analyze videos using AI, not just traditionally frame by frame, but through analyzing the relationships between frames to understand what is going on content-wise over time.

Orangesplash’s Geoxhibit Brings Interactive Machine Learning To Museums & Zoos
Software, User Experience

Orangesplash’s Geoxhibit Brings Interactive Machine Learning To Museums & Zoos

You go to the zoo, but you’ve just missed the lions, who are taking a break in the shade across the enclosure. Sometimes, visits to zoos and museums are like this. What if the app on your phone helped you plan your visit, buzzed you when the lions were being fed, and when you pointed your camera at their faces, it identified them for you by name using machine learning and gave you info on their health and history? Geoxhibit, from Ann Arbor design firm Orangesplash, is a new app that brings all kinds of custom features to museums, zoos, and gardens that helps visitors not only connect with the enormous amount of specialized knowledge held by exhibits and staff on site, but also customize their visit with exhibit planning, customized scavenger hunts, and more.

Scavenger Is An Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt For Adults
Fun, University of Michigan

Scavenger Is An Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt For Adults

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.

Detroit Art Emporium Invites You To A Multimedia Art Festival Saturday August 17
Fun, News

Detroit Art Emporium Invites You To A Multimedia Art Festival Saturday August 17

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.

Tech Startup hEARt Brings An Empathetic Ear To Students Everywhere
Software, University of Michigan

Tech Startup hEARt Brings An Empathetic Ear To Students Everywhere

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.

Office Evolution Experiences Early Co-Working Success in Ann Arbor
Networking, Tech News

Office Evolution Experiences Early Co-Working Success in Ann Arbor

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.

Nexient’s Silas Bush on Bringing Cannes Young Lions Best Practices to B2B Tech Marketing
Networking, News

Nexient’s Silas Bush on Bringing Cannes Young Lions Best Practices to B2B Tech Marketing

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.

Alfa Jango Acts As CTO and Development Team for Startups
Software

Alfa Jango Acts As CTO and Development Team for Startups

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.

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