Companies around the world are navigating how to reopen after shutdown. In many cases, it simply isn’t feasible for workers to return to cramped working conditions even with masks and hand sanitizer or spray shields, so many companies are extending work from home indefinitely. But tech has largely been operating on the idea that innovation happens in close quarters when founders swim in a soup of collaborative brainstorming–especially startups that operate out of coworking spaces. What happens to the coworking spaces and the smaller tech startups that operate out of these shared spaces after reopening?
Givitas, a company we’ve highlighted previously on Cronicle, has recently launched a network that is designed exclusively for Michigan startups to give and receive requests for help and information. Givitas is a social network by Give & Take that is designed into hubs for specific work groups within companies or industries.
Our new online tech events page is live and being updated on a rolling basis as many tech communities in Ann Arbor-Detroit and the greater Great Lakes region move online in the coming weeks. Many events have been cancelled temporarily, but this is a great opportunity to attend events that were previously limited to local audiences now open to anyone online. Many are free. We hope you are staying safe and still able to work through these difficult times. Be well.
Traverse City, Michigan, tech incubator 20Fathoms recently welcomed new head Lauren Bigelow, a veteran of the startup community in Michigan. Bigelow was director of Ann Arbor’s IT Zone, the predecessor to Ann Arbor SPARK, and has worked for years to help build new businesses in Michigan. “I love this work, because I love building things,” Bigelow told us from her office near Lake Michigan. “20 Fathoms was an opportunity to take my background and serve this incredibly supportive community.”
Every town around the Great Lakes and Midwest has its own mix of tech-related industries. As part of our expansion to cover more news and networking regarding the growth of tech in the Great Lakes region, we will be interviewing a number of diverse professionals who can give us a peek into their space. This time: Quintessence Anx of Buffalo, New York. Anx is a tech evangelist working with AppDynamics, who travels and speaks at tech conferences particularly in the devops space. We were curious what she could tell us about connecting with tech in the eastern Great Lakes region.
Emily Heintz has been featured in Forbes Magazine, Axios, and VentureBeat. She was also named to Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40 List. Heintz is the founder and managing director of EntryPoint, a research firm that specializes in conducting research and compiling reports on the state of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Michigan. Heintz founded EntryPoint several years ago, but previously worked to support the growth of the Michigan entrepreneurial community through the Michigan Venture Capital Association, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and Ann Arbor SPARK. Why all this news coverage of her work? Heintz founded EntryPoint just as Michigan’s economy was undergoing major shifts toward more of an entrepreneurial economy.
Tomorrow in Grand Rapids, the Defense Innovation Drink & Think is taking place. This event, according to organizer Gregg Wildes of DornerWorks and the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum of Michigan, is a networking opportunity for defense tech entrepreneurs–“companies doing AI and software for cybersecurity of ground vehicles or satellites.” Advanced materials is also in the mix, and machine vision and learning. The Defense Innovation Drink & Think is a way for these tech founders and professionals to meet each other and find ways to collaborate.
The ladies who run Jottful set out to help very small businesses with fewer than 5 employees create professional websites. “Our clients are often self-employed consultants, or service-oriented businesses,” says Dawn Verbrigghe, founder and CEO. The service is perfect for everything from “life coaches to management consultants to Main Street service businesses such as martial arts studios, beauty salons, and custom cake decorators.” If a business needs more than a build-your-own site but can’t afford the commonly quoted $5k price tag for a custom website from a creative agency, Jottful fills the gap in between. But then, the scope of what Jottful was managing expanded, and in more than one direction.
Michigan-Based TechStak Matches Small Businesses With Tech Services From Cybersecurity To Network Infrastructure
You’ve started a new company, which was daunting enough, found your first core team, and are building the business. How do you find the right marketer or web designer, and how do you know if your data is at risk if you don’t have someone on staff to advise you? TechStak CEO and founder Nicol Pasuit started her company 2 years ago to address this problem. Because it’s not just about finding the right professional to fill the gap in your growing company’s needs. Sometimes you don’t speak their language and don’t know which questions to ask to find out exactly what you need next.
One of our first articles on Cronicle connected Ann Arbor tech with a local professional networker named Brooke Boyle, who works in tech and startup culture as well as business in the wider Ann Arbor community to help people make connections they might not otherwise. She’s good at what she does, people love her, and now Brooke is back with a new phase of her networking company Engage: a new headquarters that function as event space, co-working offices, and a hub for a growing list of community events.