The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition recently announced its 2017 semifinalists, and 12 Ann Arbor-area businesses made the list.
Accelerate Michigan is the state’s largest gathering of high-growth, high-tech companies and venture investors. The competition awards $1 million in prizes, including a $500,000 grand prize. Accelerate Michigan is operated by Invest Detroit Ventures with the support of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Ann Arbor SPARK, Invest Michigan, Spartan Innovations, the Michigan Small Business Development Corporation, and JR Turnbull.
All semifinalists will pitch during the morning and afternoon of Nov. 16 at the Detroit Masonic Temple. The top 10 finalists will pitch that evening during a gala awards dinner, when the grand prize is announced.
Among the Ann Arbor semifinalists is Soft Lesion Analytics, a firm whose technology allows patients and healthcare providers to speed up diagnosis by ensuring that enough cells are collected during fine-needle aspiration biopsy procedures.
"It basically comes down to biopsy quality control," says CEO and founder Michael Moore. "One out of five biopsies come back as inconclusive because they don't have enough tissue to test and say for sure if it's cancer."
That wastes the healthcare workers' time and increases patients' stress when they have to come back for another biopsy before getting a definitive diagnosis. Soft Lesion Analytics' technology does a cell count, so the healthcare team knows immediately if they have enough tissue for a diagnosis.
Moore says winning the Accelerate Michigan competition could "change things dramatically" for his company, which is still in an early stage. The prize money would help the company fund a clinical validation study it has scheduled for spring of 2018.
Moore says that just being named a semifinalist is an honor.
"It's an opportunity to start building a brand presence and get connected on a larger scale," he says.
Building that brand presence will include converting to a C corporation in the next few months and changing the company name to "Medkairos," derived from a Greek word for "opportune moment," Moore says.
Other semifinalists from Ann Arbor include:
Circadian Risk Inc., a company that has created a vulnerability assessment app and allows companies to create remediation plans to mitigate risk.
Foodstand, a company building an app that helps motivate good eating habits through community health eating challenges.
Kulisha, which uses insects for eco-friendly and sustainable livestock feed.
Mi Padrino, a crowdfunding platform for organizing, planning, and funding traditional Latino events.
Parabricks, a technology company providing high performance genomic analysis.
Plinqit, which creates a mobile app to encourage people to set financial goals to build their savings accounts.
Ripple Science, a company that builds web-based software to facilitate the recruitment and management of participants for clinical and translational studies.
Slideless, a technology company that aims to help health providers switch from glass microscope slides to digital pathology.
SpellBound, an augmented reality company that helps sick children deal with trauma and hospitalization.
TechStak, An online platform helping small businesses find technology solution providers for their outsourced technology needs.
Uru, an online platform that connects athletes with teams and playing opportunities all over the world.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at email@example.com.
Photos courtesy of Michael Moore.