It’s finally here: Ann Arbor’s annual tech week, a2tech360, starts today and runs all next week with 16 online tech events highlighting the latest innovations and trends in mobility tech, Midwest investment, software, security startups, and life sciences.
“One problem people face in moving to the cloud is logistics,” says Ross Kinder of Groove.id, an Ann Arbor-Austin tech startup that has created a platform for easing the process of giving employees access to necessary systems during onboarding–and removing access during offboarding. “Managing this well keeps you secure. So we created a very simple on/off switch for access each new hire needs.” It’s not quite that simple, actually. Groove.id also prides itself on the company’s ability to predict which systems each employee role needs access to, to streamline onboarding for managers who need to bring on domain experts and might not know all the access they need. “Instead of asking which applications each job role needs, we look at other people in similar job roles and predict.”
If you’re in tech, you know something special has been happening in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the last few years. First cybersecurity startup Duo Security was acquired by Cisco for $2.3 billion, alongside 3 other Southeastern Michigan companies that became the region’s first unicorn startups, or tech startups valued at over $1 billion. Ann Arbor, with its solid tech talent pipeline from the University of Michigan and local business hubs that are home to now hundreds of software, life science and biotech, and security startups, has been ranked as an emerging tech hub by national outlets. Then the Duo team present for the exit got the startup itch. Now Blumira, founded in 2018 by tech alum of Duo Security, Censys and the NSA, just raised $2.6 million in seed round funding, is doubling its staff, and is disrupting the security SIEM (Security Incident and Event Monitoring) market to offer streamlined security services to small businesses.
For the last year, Traverse City Michigan startup incubator 20Fathoms has been running a program called tccodes, to mentor professionals moving into software development careers. Tomorrow, Program Manager Keith Kelly says, they’re kicking off phase 2 of the program, tccyber, with an event called CyberSecurity As a Career, to support people entering the growing cybersecurity industry.
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.
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.
On the day we met him, local IT security tech consultant Tim Marsh was on the phone dealing with a data breach for Equifax. He’s a consultant with 20 years of experience working in Fortune10 IT including working for Ford, Hewlett Packard, and GE most recently. But that’s not all he does. In addition to his work as founder of consultancy ApprenTek, Tim Marsh recruits young local talent out of Michigan colleges like Eastern Michigan, the University of Michigan, Concordia, Western, and Michigan Tech for Fortune500 tech support jobs. “I recruit for Fortune500 companies for short-term engagements,” he tells us, “and also local recruiting for young people getting into tech support.”
Every Time The Bell Rings, a Startup Gets Its Wings: Venture Accelerator’s Diane Bouis Talks Connecting New Ann Arbor Startups
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.
Several months ago during our launch, Cronicle interviewed Censys co-founder David Adrian to hear about how a University of Michigan student went from falling into a research project to avoid a machine learning class to having 30,000 customers. Since that interview, Censys has expanded into their first-floor suite on Ann Arbor’s Main Street from the second floor, planned a security-themed tech talk for the fall with a colleague from Palo Alto, expanded from 15 people to 28, and just publicly announced their new Censys Enterprise platform tool that curates data sets for users so they don’t have to wait 10 months for a data scientist to analyze the massive amount of information Censys can deliver about their servers, domains, and other assets online.
It’s not every undergraduate student who falls into a research project in order to avoid a machine learning class, and shortly has 30,000 customers, but that’s what happened to David Adrian of Censys. Which isn’t to say he isn’t brilliant and hard-working. He definitely has that whiz kid mannerism about him, and he knows his…