It’s not uncommon for people with a degree in music to end up in tech, not just for the jobs but because people with musical training often have a creative way of thinking that translates beautifully to coding or engineering. That was the case with Mobile Mondays meetup organizer Rob Baxtresser, who is VP of…
Ann Arbor’s Voxel51, an AI startup that analyzes video for self-driving automotive applications and more, was featured last week in TechCrunch for its seed funding round raising $2 million, and because the company was chosen as a top 5 AI/machine learning company across the U.S. selected as a TechCrunch Top Pick to present at Tech Disrupt 2019. AI is growing up, and startups like Voxel51 are getting out there. That’s because Voxel51 is using adaptive tech to analyze videos using AI, not just traditionally frame by frame, but through analyzing the relationships between frames to understand what is going on content-wise over time.
You go to the zoo, but you’ve just missed the lions, who are taking a break in the shade across the enclosure. Sometimes, visits to zoos and museums are like this. What if the app on your phone helped you plan your visit, buzzed you when the lions were being fed, and when you pointed your camera at their faces, it identified them for you by name using machine learning and gave you info on their health and history? Geoxhibit, from Ann Arbor design firm Orangesplash, is a new app that brings all kinds of custom features to museums, zoos, and gardens that helps visitors not only connect with the enormous amount of specialized knowledge held by exhibits and staff on site, but also customize their visit with exhibit planning, customized scavenger hunts, and more.
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.
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 market for software development teams serving software companies is saturated, at least in Ann Arbor, where Alfa Jango founder Steve Schwartz has started and/or sold several startups himself alongside helping other new companies. That’s why he decided several years ago to focus on helping non-tech startups get the software development and guidance they would need so they could focus on the subject area they were expertise in. The results speak for themselves. Alfa Jango now serves clients that hail from YCombinator to Carnegie Mellon to the University of Michigan, and after selling startup Carcode to Edmunds in 2014 with a co-founder, Schwartz has now started another company called Genomenon on the side, which true to his vision uses his technical expertise on the tech side but focuses primarily on creating a genome interpretation software that empowers genomicists to compile and analyze research on immune disorders and cancer to better serve patients–rather than worrying about the software that allows them to do their work. Genomenon helps companies develop therapies or precision medicine to treat root causes of disease instead of symptoms, or build their knowledge database.
We’re adding more Detroit tech events this month as we begin to expand our tech news coverage into other regional tech towns in Michigan. Let us know if we’ve missed your event, and please add us to your press lists and newsletters to keep us in the loop on your meetups!
November 19th, 2019, at the State Savings Bank in Detroit, Invest Detroit will be holding their 10th annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition for tech-based startups. According to Invest Detroit, AMIC, which is a program run by ID Ventures, “is a pitch competition that supports Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their companies to investors while building connections with entrepreneurs, business acceleration resources, and experts in their sector during carefully curated individual meetings.”
Ann Arbor-based supply chain software development consultancy Llamasoft yesterday announced an expansion that will bring another 70 jobs to the company’s Ann Arbor headquarters, paired with a $10.7 million expansion. Job listings are already on the company’s website, including positions in machine learning, development, customer service, marketing, legal, and sales.
Sometimes you hear a Michigan “we had to leave because of the economy story” and it makes you happy, because success lay elsewhere–and then you still got to welcome them home. This certainly is the case with Finji Games co-founders Adam and Rebekah Saltsman, a husband wife team with a group of game developers who have won awards from a BAFTA to the Seamus McNally Grand Prize from the International Game Development Awards in 2018.