Jan Akervall on how roller derby helped him launch an Inc. 5000 company in Saline

On Thursday, January 19, at Planet Ant Hall in Hamtramck, five metro Detroit entrepreneurs performed stories about challenges they have overcome to grow their businesses at the first ever Startup Story Night. The event was emceed by Glynn Washington, whose Snap Judgment program can be heard weekly on over 400 NPR stations and is downloaded over two million times every month.

One of the night's storytellers was Saline's own Jan Akervall, cofounder and CEO of Akervall Technologies. Akervall is an ear, nose, and throat doctor who invented the SISU mouthguard to protect the teeth of the cancer patients he operates on. Here he tells the tale of how he found his way into what he wryly describes as "the incredibly cool and sexy business of mouthguards" when he discovered a wider market for his product in women's roller derby, of all places.

Startup Story Night was presented by the New Economy Initiative and Southeast Michigan Startup, in partnership with WDET 101.9 FM, Entre-Slam, Final5, Planet Ant Hall, and Axle Brewing.
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