123Go enterprise software development startup co-founder Dominic Rea has years of experience working to design software for the auto industry, which gives him an edge to understand software design in a logistically complex industry. Rea works with Detroit’s Automation Alley, various Tier 1 automotive suppliers, and companies in the HVAC industry on applications such as time tracking, trying to bring a collaborative “low-code” process to custom software development, and more. According to Rea, the auto industry is currently undergoing a massive consolidation in terms of suppliers, which affects how automotive software designers, mobility startups, and Tier 1 suppliers plug in to a diverse industry of many technologies. We were curious to learn more both about how 123Go designs its efficient software development process for business professionals who aren’t in IT, and if Rea could tell us more about what’s going on behind the scenes for the sake of Cronicle readers who are working to hook into the mobility tech scene.
Ann Arbor-based Shuffleboard officially launches today, with a 40% discount for anyone looking for a remote team collaboration tool. The idea, from founder Sam Pierce Lolla? Make remote team collaboration more like in-person brainstorming. Shuffleboard alleges to cut down on Zoom fatigue, and also creates a process by which professional teams can glean feedback from clients or colleagues in a simple streamlined process. Lolla has years of professional experience working with professional teams to help them collaborate. The Shuffleboard tool is a natural extension of a lot of expertise and deep knowledge of team brainstorming process best practices.
Last time we spoke with BrandXR, the new extended reality startup was installing augmented reality art murals around the United States and Detroit. After pushing through the pandemic, founder Moody Mattan says the company has found unexpected momentum. This AR/VR tech is suddenly in high demand as a learning tool.
Pocketnest, a new app for next-gen financial wellness used by top credit unions and companies like Cisco and Henry Ford, has experienced explosive growth over the past year after closing its Series A funding round in 2019. The Ann Arbor-based fintech startup was founded by financial advisor Jessica Willis just 12 months ago after realizing there was very little out there in the way of non-transactional financial wellness apps for Gen X and millennials who were looking for technology to ease communication with financial advisors and to glean accessible financial wellness education and advice. Now boasting 8 enterprise clients with 20% user growth month over month and 40% growth month over month from an enterprise standpoint, Pocketnest now works with the top 3 largest credit unions in the United States–Wright-Patt Credit Union, Lake Trust Credit Union, and MSU Federal Credit Union–and growing.
Torrance Learning is an online training software company based in Chelsea, Michigan, just west of emerging tech hub Ann Arbor. Torrance has won awards from the eLearning Guild Demofest and the Brandon Hall Awards for its methods of developing new forms of instructional design, primarily for corporate training. The small consultancy has thrived thanks to the innovative thinking of founder Megan Torrance, who has adapted agile programming methods for application in instructional design and corporate training.
Susan Wagner of KLA Corporation spoke up front at this year’s TechTalk out of Ann Arbor on the importance of diversity and inclusion. Inclusion gives companies the diversity of thought and experience to be as creative and innovative as possible. “We should work together to life one another up. It does not mean that just because others succeed we will fail… all boats rise together,” she said. “KLA is a global company. COVID’s impact can vary,” Wagner said. “The semiconductor industry is playing a crucial role to enable work from home. Many things are changing, some for good,” she said. “Electronics are more important than ever to keep us connected.”
This week’s a2tech360 conference has continued the newer Applied AI conference, which highlights trends in artificial intelligence applied in a variety of ways to real-world needs. No longer is AI only a mysterious force powering conversational assistants. Speakers at this year’s A2.AI conference covered a whole host of applications for AI technology, from multitouch attribution to analyzing customer insights.
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.
Personal training and wellness coaching went online during the COVID-19 shutdown, which put thousands of coaches in charge of their own income and hosting their own classes virtually. Problem is, there aren’t many platforms that are easy for both coaches and their clients to use. And how does a new solopreneur coach attract clients in a crowded space when all marketing is virtual? Yottled, a new online wellness coaching platform, just launched this week to solve those pain points for thousands of entrepreneurs. It was founded by two guys with the credentials to make it work. Co-founders Trevor Hough and Will Guedes have worked in engineering and product management for hot SE Michigan startups Duo Security and StockX, both two of the four recently minted unicorn companies from Ann Arbor or Detroit valued at over $1 billion. The Yottled platform is brand new, but it’s simple to use and it’s growing. Here’s how an online coaching platform can change the game.
“In insurance, there is certain data that matters in writing a risk,” says Jeff Heine, CRO of Groundspeed Analytics, a top-rated Ann Arbor fintech startup that is disrupting the insurance industry. “But they don’t use more than 10 percent of the data. With AI,” Heine explains, “we’re taking the intensive manual effort [to analyze the data] and automating that.” Groundspeed was rated a finalist for InsurTech Honor of the Year Award by Insurance Insider, was listed by Business Insider as a top Breakout Fintech Star, and was named by the 2020 CB Insights Fintech 250 List of Fastest Growing Fintech Startups. It’s one of the hottest new AI startups coming out of emerging tech hub Ann Arbor, Michigan, but it hasn’t gotten the same attention as many cybersecurity or conversational AI companies because the fintech space is often disconnected from other innovative startups in the Midwest. Groundspeed has gained a lot of ground under the mainstream radar.