Ann Arbor-based startup Nahsai creates extreme environment materials and sensors for aerospace, defense, and industrial applications. As such they are at the forefront of seeing the defense industry, among others, adopt lean startup strategies for invention, project management, and manufacturing. In the case of aerospace, the market for private companies going to space (e.g. SpaceX) is so new that companies have to invent and produce parts in-house for their rockets in many cases. But whether it’s a private or public contract, when companies like Nahsai are brought on board to contract out parts, the industry is recognizing that the product development cycle is shortening dramatically and large contracts can’t deliver on time and still be relevant. Enter lean startup strategies.
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.
Human Element, of Top 20 Fastest Growing Companies in Michigan, Creates The Kind of Culture They Want To Stay In
“We’ve been experiencing 3-4 years of 30% growth rate year over year,” Human Element’s Ben Lorenz tells us. “We’ve been an Inc 5000 company 3 years in a row and last year were named one of the Top 20 fastest growing companies in Michigan.” Ann Arbor is one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the Midwest, but what explains some companies like Human Element growing so much more quickly than others? To some extent, it’s positioning and the market they’re in. It’s no secret that AI companies are hot, as well as security. An e-commerce strategy company like Human Element has a lot of work to do catching up Midwest companies to digital business processes and online sales. But that’s not all it is.
When Cronicle Press Tech News launched out of Ann Arbor in April of this year, our goal was to talk to every tech company in town we could by the end of 2019. Since we knew that probably wasn’t possible with more startups launching every month, the benchmark was to at least interview 100. It’s only September, and we’ve already passed that 100 interview milestone, thanks to the generosity of people like you reading this now. Thank you for letting us in to your startups and your incubators and labs and your amazing meetups and conferences. To dig in to your search platforms and co-working models and your natural language processing. We are deeply grateful to be a part of highlighting the great work you’re doing to elevate tech globally and in the Great Lakes region, where the balanced lifestyle and reviving communities are contributing to a renaissance of new tech.
Health monitor biosensors are a topic in tech right now, but most of them are physical sensors, says Girish Kulkarni, founder of Arborsense. What if instead of using optics or sensors that measure blood pressure and flow through the skin, you could measure chemicals? We’ve been hearing for years now that graphene was supposed to take over the world, and maybe that world is finally arriving. Arborsense uses graphene electronic transdermal nano-sensors to test for chemicals and biomolecules through biomonitors. What does that mean? Here’s one example: Arborsense is partnering in clinical trials with Ann Arbor-based clinical psychiatrist Mark Ilgen at the Med School to use their graphene sensors to monitor drug addict patient alcohol blood levels through what molecules are excreted through the skin. That’s right. Instead of a breathalyzer one-time analysis of blood alcohol levels or other periodic tests for drug use, these graphene nano-sensors continuously monitor blood alcohol levels to track patient sobriety, health, and more.