University of Michigan

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.

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.

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.

The Believers Are But Brothers Takes Tech & Theater Down a Dark Web Rabbit Hole
News, University of Michigan

The Believers Are But Brothers Takes Tech & Theater Down a Dark Web Rabbit Hole

We live in a time where old orders are collapsing: from the post-colonial nation states of the Middle East to the EU and the American election. Amid all of this, a generation of young men find themselves burning with resentment, without the money, power, and sex they think they deserve. Written and performed by Javaad Alipoor and co-directed by Kirsty Housley (who also co-directed Complicite’s The Encounter), this multimedia show weaves together stories of three disaffected men and their journeys to radicalization, exploring the smoke and mirrors world of online extremism, anonymity, and hate speech.

Abaca To Launch 10 Degrees Game To Help With Climate Change & Reforestation
Fun, University of Michigan

Abaca To Launch 10 Degrees Game To Help With Climate Change & Reforestation

Chris Karounos is the co-founder and creative director of Abaca Games, a new startup out of Ann Arbor that is based in his masters research in sustainability, in which he focused on tropical agroforestation. He says he had the opportunity to launch a new video game called 10 Degrees (coming September 3rd) that helps support reforestation through game play when his startup was accepted into the University of Michigan Optimize incubator program.

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.

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.

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.

The Believers Are But Brothers Takes Tech & Theater Down a Dark Web Rabbit Hole
News, University of Michigan

The Believers Are But Brothers Takes Tech & Theater Down a Dark Web Rabbit Hole

We live in a time where old orders are collapsing: from the post-colonial nation states of the Middle East to the EU and the American election. Amid all of this, a generation of young men find themselves burning with resentment, without the money, power, and sex they think they deserve. Written and performed by Javaad Alipoor and co-directed by Kirsty Housley (who also co-directed Complicite’s The Encounter), this multimedia show weaves together stories of three disaffected men and their journeys to radicalization, exploring the smoke and mirrors world of online extremism, anonymity, and hate speech.

Abaca To Launch 10 Degrees Game To Help With Climate Change & Reforestation
Fun, University of Michigan

Abaca To Launch 10 Degrees Game To Help With Climate Change & Reforestation

Chris Karounos is the co-founder and creative director of Abaca Games, a new startup out of Ann Arbor that is based in his masters research in sustainability, in which he focused on tropical agroforestation. He says he had the opportunity to launch a new video game called 10 Degrees (coming September 3rd) that helps support reforestation through game play when his startup was accepted into the University of Michigan Optimize incubator program.

Optimize: The Student-Led Impact Venture Incubator Grows Up
Leadership, University of Michigan

Optimize: The Student-Led Impact Venture Incubator Grows Up

In 2013, a group of University of Michigan students wanted to support each other’s startup ventures. Some were tech focused, others social impact-oriented startups that needed time and financial backing to give them a chance to grow. “We spent time taking tests, writing papers, but hadn’t tried our hand at solving problems,” says Jeff Pituch, Associate Director for Social Innovation at Optimize. “We started Optimize as a program for early-stage ventures.”

Peerstachio: A Student Venture About Connection Connects with A2 Tech
Software, University of Michigan

Peerstachio: A Student Venture About Connection Connects with A2 Tech

In our recent two-part series on the student entrepreneurs of the University of Michigan at the TechArb accelerator and Innovation in Action program, we profiled a young entrepreneur named Scarlett Ong Rui Chern and her venture called Peerstachio. One of the things that struck me as I interviewed Chern was the sheer number of grants she had managed to wrangle to keep her venture afloat, and the amount of support she had received from TechTown and the University of Michigan programs and departments dedicated to supporting student entrepreneurs. “There are so many resources at U of M,” Chern tells me, “we really have the upper hand.”

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