Kabir Maiga started at Continental Automotive, where the team he headed as project lead designed keyless entry for cars. “I thought why don’t we extend this tech from car to front door?” he says. “We incubated the idea with Continental, took a team to Germany for several months, trying to figure out how to go to market.” The project was spun off as a separate entity with Continental as an investor. Now, the new Ann Arbor startup PassiveBolt has launched an award-winning technology for home called ShepherdLock.
“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.
Censys Raises $15.5 Million, Hiring To Double Staff, As Cybersecurity Startup Announces New Features
In light of the recent Meow attacks that delete vulnerable databases on the internet, we were curious when Ann Arbor-based tech startup Censys announced $15.5 million in new funding and yet another phase in their mission to make vulnerable online data visible to companies so they can resolve it.
TusStar is an affiliated network of tech startup incubators and early stage venture accelerators located in over 130 cities around the world. It is led by professors at Tsinghua University in China, a major research university in Beijing, and there is a TusStar Incubator in emerging tech hub Ann Arbor, where a number of academic faculty at the University of Michigan start new companies to make use of inventions found during their research careers. Frank Ni is the head of TusStar Ann Arbor, founded as the premier TusStar location in the U.S. in late 2017 on the north side of Ann Arbor which is famous for its engineering, science research, robotics and autonomous vehicle research campuses. “Innovation can go beyond borders,” Ni tells Cronicle of the philosophy of starting an international incubator in Southeast Michigan.
It’s already March, so we’re going back to our standard format for Michigan tech events including meetups this month, in case you’ve missed the usuals. We’ve highlighted a few we think you might be interested in. Have a great month, Great Lakes tech!
We knew this would happen, it just came sooner than expected. We couldn’t possibly cronicle all the amazing tech-related events around Ann Arbor and Detroit, much less the entire state of Michigan, in one post anymore, so our tech events posts will now contain highlighted events you might not know about or one-off conferences you won’t want to miss.
Continuing our series on podcasts in the Michigan tech scene is Dave Haviland, new host of the SPARK.Grow podcast sponsored by Ann Arbor SPARK that interviews executives around the Ann Arbor business community. Haviland is an executive coach through Phimation Strategy Group to second-stage tech company founders and executive teams in the Ann Arbor area. We found him in his offices on the 8th floor of the First National Building on Main Street and Liberty, which has a lovely view of downtown.
Just a few months ago, industry-disrupting conversational AI startup Clinc, which is rolling out an automotive application of their voice-interface software in 2021, was filling the top floor of tech and startup co-working space Cahoots and filling an office in Kerrytown. Now the conversational AI research startup is expanding into a third location in Ann…
It’s a well-worn Silicon Valley fairytale that some of the world’s biggest and best tech companies started in garages. In the Midwest tech ecosystem, which is growing quickly in towns like Ann Arbor, there is still a bit of this bootstrapping in action. Case in point, home healthcare tech company Shoshana, which was founded almost 20 years ago in a shed on a farm north of Ann Arbor near the Washtenaw Food Hub. The team is now a dozen strong and fill a space that is mid-renovation, so there are multiple monitors and young people milling around a building that still doesn’t have walls. A young developer knits in front of a lit screen in the back room at a standing desk next to a colleague. An old wood stove still sits in the middle of the main room, even though the building now has HVAC and heat. “There is a fallow field behind this yard,” Shoshana President Tom Voiles explains, pointing past a yurt and barn through some trees. “Sometimes we do team circles there. It’s very peaceful.”