Nutshell is a newer staple in the Ann Arbor tech scene the last 10 years, founded by several people — Andy Fowler, Guy Suter, Ian Berry, and Lindsay Snider — who had worked together in a regional dialup ISP and subsequently started a bitleap data backup startup that updated companies’ data to the cloud in the early aughts. This company was acquired by Ann Arbor’s Barracuda Networks, and the band got back together in Ann Arbor a few years later to create something new: a CRM software solution. The idea? Create a CRM sales process and make it repeatable. Now the company that became Nutshell has grown, and released its second major product, that takes CRMs to a new level.
“In insurance, there is certain data that matters in writing a risk,” says Jeff Heine, CRO of Groundspeed Analytics, a top-rated Ann Arbor fintech startup that is disrupting the insurance industry. “But they don’t use more than 10 percent of the data. With AI,” Heine explains, “we’re taking the intensive manual effort [to analyze the data] and automating that.” Groundspeed was rated a finalist for InsurTech Honor of the Year Award by Insurance Insider, was listed by Business Insider as a top Breakout Fintech Star, and was named by the 2020 CB Insights Fintech 250 List of Fastest Growing Fintech Startups. It’s one of the hottest new AI startups coming out of emerging tech hub Ann Arbor, Michigan, but it hasn’t gotten the same attention as many cybersecurity or conversational AI companies because the fintech space is often disconnected from other innovative startups in the Midwest. Groundspeed has gained a lot of ground under the mainstream radar.
Our new online tech events page is live and being updated on a rolling basis as many tech communities in Ann Arbor-Detroit and the greater Great Lakes region move online in the coming weeks. Many events have been cancelled temporarily, but this is a great opportunity to attend events that were previously limited to local audiences now open to anyone online. Many are free. We hope you are staying safe and still able to work through these difficult times. Be well.
Sure, there are braille tablets these days that are pretty amazing. They translate several words or lines of text from websites into raised braille dots on a physical surface that scrolls through the web, opening up the world to those who can’t view the content of computers and the internet through traditional screens. But there are challenges. According to Alex Russomanno of new Ann Arbor startup NewHaptics, current braille tablets are limited to small quantities of text at a time, they’re incredibly expensive to manufacture, and they don’t have any way to translate images or graphs. This leaves the blind locked out of visual content, maps and graphs on computers.
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!
Tomorrow in Grand Rapids, the Defense Innovation Drink & Think is taking place. This event, according to organizer Gregg Wildes of DornerWorks and the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum of Michigan, is a networking opportunity for defense tech entrepreneurs–“companies doing AI and software for cybersecurity of ground vehicles or satellites.” Advanced materials is also in the mix, and machine vision and learning. The Defense Innovation Drink & Think is a way for these tech founders and professionals to meet each other and find ways to collaborate.
Michigan-Based TechStak Matches Small Businesses With Tech Services From Cybersecurity To Network Infrastructure
You’ve started a new company, which was daunting enough, found your first core team, and are building the business. How do you find the right marketer or web designer, and how do you know if your data is at risk if you don’t have someone on staff to advise you? TechStak CEO and founder Nicol Pasuit started her company 2 years ago to address this problem. Because it’s not just about finding the right professional to fill the gap in your growing company’s needs. Sometimes you don’t speak their language and don’t know which questions to ask to find out exactly what you need next.
Happy New Year, everyone! We are excited to kick off this new year with expanding interviews and test drives with the coolest new tech coming out of Michigan, but we need your help. Cronicle Press Tech News is supported through sponsorships of various kinds, and now you can become an individual or corporate Patron as well to help fund the work we are doing to cover the historic growth of tech in the Great Lakes area.
It’s New Years Eve, so we’re looking back at the most popular posts on Cronicle Press Tech News out of Ann Arbor-Detroit about the growing Great Lakes tech scene in 2019. Turns out, it was a banner year for Ann Arbor tech and Detroit startups in particular, so we just scratched the surface of all the latest news. First up, the most popular post by far, professor Austin Yarger’s master list of game development studios of Michigan. Also included at the end are some followup interviews with a few of those gaming studios that are either growing in Michigan or started here.
Denise Graves is the University Relations Director for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. She coordinates funding for a number of startup funds around the state, and she works closely with universities to get inventions out into industry. We’ve known the MEDC was supporting revitalizing the Michigan economy for years, but recently we ran into Graves at a university entrepreneurial event and realized we only ever get a partial picture of how startups can connect with the MEDC for business support services, and how all of this really works. We wanted to know more, and thought you might as well. Graves and her colleague, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the MEDC Fred Molnar, explained to Cronicle the process they go through to help support new ventures in Michigan.