In a maze of buildings on the University of Michigan’s North Campus in Ann Arbor, the Venture Accelerator, startup hub for intellectual property spun off by the Office of Tech Transfer from research and faculty at the University of Michigan, sits quietly on the block that used to be owned by Pfizer. Diane Bouis, Innovation Program Manager at the Venture Accelerator, helps these new ventures find resources and space in the many labs and offices housed in the building where the Venture Accelerator hosts new companies. The Venture Center, Accelerator, and Office of Tech Transfer work in close conjunction here to support baby startups in life sciences in particular to get out into the world.
Doug Neal has seen a lot change in the Ann Arbor and Midwest tech scene in the last few years. He is a managing director at eLab, a VC fund based in both Ann Arbor and Palo Alto in Silicon Valley that focuses on early stage AI and machine learning companies, the Internet of Things,…
Young entrepreneurs are pouring out of tech towns these days. If the towns are lucky, they retain many of them now that the Midwest and other places outside Silicon Valley are reviving and affordable spaces to grow a business. The University of Michigan, ranked #1-rated ecosystem for undergrad student entrepreneurs by Princeton Review, is leading the way in this shift in startup culture across the U.S.. That’s why successful serial entrepreneurs like Jim Price were brought on board, to mentor the next generation of founders. Price is Entrepreneurial Studies Faculty & Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, and he’s a big connector and mentor for young entrepreneurs starting out in Ann Arbor, with a background that spans coasts, tech and engineering, and teaching. He’s also a really fun guy we’ve watched help shift the entrepreneurial environment in Ann Arbor through generous mentorship, so we caught up with him in his office at the University of Michigan to ask him what led him to Ann Arbor and what trends he’s seeing these days in business and entrepreneurship.
Nice to see so many familiar tech faces this morning as Dr. Rob Pasick’s monthly Leaders Connect networking breakfast hosted Google at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor. The theme? Culture and innovation at the tech giant, which recently announced plans to expand its Ann Arbor office on Traverwood as well as its Detroit Little Caesar’s Arena campus to a third floor. Kicking off this event, Dr. Rob offered the group what he offers his students at the University of Michigan, an exercise in mindfulness. “Every day we journal,” he said, “and I encourage you to set the intention. What would make today a good day?…. And part two of this exercise is to reflect. If you think about your day yesterday, what do you appreciate? I call those my abundances. What lesson did you learn?”
It’s not uncommon for people with a degree in music to end up in tech, not just for the jobs but because people with musical training often have a creative way of thinking that translates beautifully to coding or engineering. That was the case with Mobile Mondays meetup organizer Rob Baxtresser, who is VP of…
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.
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.
On Main Street in Ann Arbor, right next to the wedding dress shop and Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tearoom, Workantile co-working space is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It’s a simple concept: professionals can rent a desk or drop in and use the space’s private conference rooms and phone rooms, or utilize the space for group meetups.
Workantile hosts the Festifool luminary workshops, parties, and get-togethers of various kinds, but it’s a pretty low-key place during the day. There are two rows of desks around a conference table up front on the first floor. Then a kitchen stocked with coffee and snacks, several private rooms including a private conference room, and up the open staircase is another set of desks. Workantile has just opened the options for dedicated work stations, so people can leave their things longer in the space.