Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition selects 36 semifinalists
By Chris Ehrmann
October 07, 2016 3:26 p.m.
Thirty-six semifinalists will compete in the seventh Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition for a grand prize of $500,000.
The event will take place at Cobo Center on Nov. 3, when the 36 companies have the chance to win the grand prize; $100,000 for second place; and $50,000 for third place. There will also be highlight prizes worth $25,000 each.
Almost 200 companies from around the state and country entered into the competition from cities throughout Michigan and out-of-state cities like Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.
To be eligible for the competition, applications had to be submitted under one of the nine sectors: advanced materials and manufacturing; alternative energy; business services; consumer products; information technology; healthcare; media; and mobility or other.
The 36 companies are below:
- AccuFD, Inc.
- Advaita Bioinformatics
- BrainFx, Inc.
- Digital Roots
- Digital2Go Media Networks
- IC Surgical
- IndustryStar, LLC
- JOOL Health
- Lunar Labs
- Movellus Inc
- NewTree Fruit Company
- OPS Solutions, LLC
- Pivot Ready Inc.
- PreDxion Bio, Inc.
- QuiO Technologies
- Sportsman Tracker
- Workit Health, Inc.
Some of the criteria companies had to meet include being innovative and a scalable business, having potential to achieve $10 million or more in annual revenue by 2020, having raised no more than $2 million in private investment and having current annual revenue of no more than $5 million.
According to a news release, the semifinalists set the bar high this year because they all scored in the upper-quartile of total points, with advancing companies maintaining an average of $580,000 in fundraising, which showed investor confidence.
There are doubts about the event happening for next year due to financial support concerns.
Originally, 56 semifinalists were to compete, but that number was cut back to 36. In July, Martin Dober, vice president and managing director of Invest Detroit Ventures, who was in charge of management of the event and is the event’s fiduciary, said it will take place over only one day, instead of two days, and stay at Cobo Hall instead of the Westin Book Cadillac and Orchestra Hall. Also, after polling people during last year’s competition, the decision was made to eliminate the keynote speaker for this year.
During last year’s competition, Banza LLC, a company that makes healthy pasta from chickpeas, won the grand prize and Genomenon Inc., a University of Michigan spinoff company that looks to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment with quicker genome sequencing analysis, was the second-place winner.
Semifinalists pitching will happen in the morning and afternoon on Nov. 3. In the evening during the Gala Awards Dinner, the top 10 finalists will pitch their company for the chance to win the grand prize.