This week we have covered a few new events or those we don’t usually make it to during Ann Arbor’s expanding tech week, a2tech360. TechTalk is a must-attend event, and we are covering it today to take you behind the scenes. This year’s theme focuses on Ann Arbor’s tech visionaries, particularly those working in cutting edge areas of diversity and inclusion.
a2tech360 week in Ann Arbor continues, with What The Future Holds today to predict the trajectories of tech-related industries that have a foothold in Michigan. Panelists included Dr. Peter Adriaens and Dr. Mingyan Liu of the University of Michigan, Dr. Matthew McMahon from the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA.
Ann Arbor’s 4th Mobility Summit Offers Behind the Scenes Look at How Mobility Investment Is Changing
PitchBook’s “a flurry of mobility startups going public through IPOs and SPACs through last year.” $54 billion invested despite headwinds of the pandemic. First half of 2021 even better $49.4 billion raised, over 100% over last year, putting us on track for a record year of investment for mobility. Michigan leads across the spectrum from EVs to autonomous startups (May Mobility, Refraction AI) to those disrupting services like FixMyCar and startups focused on shared mobility. $104 million so far this year invested in Michigan-based mobility startups, which has affected Michigan’s startup valuations. “What we’ve seen is overall valuations have seen an uptick in 2021, but especially this has been driven by valuation for later stage companies… up 244% compared to last year.” Angel and seed is flat year over year, and early stage are up 13%. Although Michigan-based mobility startups have a lower valuation than their Silicon Valley-based counterparts, they’re showing a similar trend.
Want a chance to check out driverless shuttles? If you’re in Ann Arbor, you can check out the new A2Go shuttle during a2tech360’s A2 Zero Green Fair tomorrow, October 1. The shuttle launches to the public October 12 and runs downtown.
Tech on the Edge is an Ann Arbor a2tech360 event that highlights biotech companies working on new technologies for applications from sustainable energy to medical technologies. This year during a2tech360’s tech week, the event highlighted companies from the edge of Ann Arbor’s tech scene including Ecovia Renewables, which is working on eco-friendly super-absorbent materials. Like many other companies involved in this year’s Tech on the Edge, Ecovia is hiring. Stabilux Biosciences also is looking for formulation chemists, people with biology background and more. Many of these companies are looking for scientists of various kinds, CTOs and CFOs, and management, all in the life sciences and biotech.
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.
The Ann Arbor Mobility Summit: Autonomous, Electrification, & Mobility as a Service Are Transforming The Future of Transport
Kicking off this year’s expanded Ann Arbor Mobility Summit was a panel discussing the “Changing Face of Automotive in the New Normal” with Senior Product and Strategic Planning Manager at Waymo Cristi Landy, Bill Frykman who works on connected vehicles at Ford and leads City Solutions Team, and Kara Grasso who works on solutions for mobility, autonomy and electrification for Denso. Moderating was Carla Bailo, president of the Center for Automotive Research, which provides independent research on the automotive industry.
“If we choose, the impact economy can give new meaning to the term Roaring Twenties,” says John Denniston, a former Silicon Valley VC and founder of Shared-X, an agritech startup that works to raise global farmers out of poverty through sustainable technology and community programs. “There is a movement afoot,” Denniston says behind the scenes at Ann Arbor’s annual tech trend prediction conference 2030: What The Future Holds, “to redefine the purpose of business so it’s not just about profit. There’s this fascinating economic phenomenon going on right now where consumers, investors, and workers are all forcing companies to be about more than just profit.” It’s unusual to have all three forces pushing in the same direction at once, Denniston says, and he attributes this to global issues and the trend among younger generations to seek purpose in their work and to expect companies to be a part of global solutions.
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.