Gathering more than 500 attendees at the Detroit Masonic Temple, the 8th Annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition awarded close to $1M in cash and in-kind services from WeWork, Varnum, Lambert & Edwards, Google and Plante Moran to 11 Michigan-based companies. Over the course of a day, 45 Investor Judges and Senior Entrepreneur Leaders reviewed and scored 60+ companies from across the state.

The award winning companies were reviewed and selected by a panel of esteemed Finalist Judges, which included: Beth Ardisana (CEO of ASG Renaissance), Herman Moore (Founder of Team 84 Marketing), Maria Thompson (Entrepreneur in Residence at Arsenal Venture Partners), and Matt Ziskie (Head of Global Procurement at Airbnb).

It was announced by Skip Simms, SVP of Ann Arbor SPARK & Founding Partner of Accelerate Michigan, that this year’s top companies receiving investments as a portion of their winnings will be funded by RETURNS generated by previous Accelerate Michigan companies. This is a huge win for Accelerate Michigan and validates the program as the premier showcase for high-growth, high-tech companies in Michigan!




The 2017 Main Track Winners

Orbion Space Technology (Houghton) won the Grand Prize Award of $500,000 + in-kind services from sponsors. The company develops propulsion systems to propel small satellites into space for Big Data projects.

Mi Padrino (Ann Arbor) won the 1st Runner Up Prize Award of $100,000 + in-kind services from sponsors. Mi Padrino is a crowdfunding and event planning platform specifically for Hispanic milestone events.

Alerje (Detroit) won the 2nd Runner Up Prize Award of $50,000 + in-kind services from sponsors. Alerje develops modular cell phone cases that carry critical EpiPen devices for individuals with food allergies.

Carma Car (Detroit) won the 3rd Runner Up Prize of $20,000 + in-kind services from sponsors. The company provides all-inclusive monthly car rental packages without the hassle of owning a vehicle.

Novolux BioSciences (Houghton) won the Up & Coming Prize of $20,000 + in-kind services from sponsors. The company makes dyes brighter in the discovery and recognition of flow cytometry.

Spellbound (Ann Arbor) won the fan-favorite People’s Choice of $10,000 + in-kind services from sponsors. Spellbound develops augmented reality experiences for pediatric patients in hospitals.


The 2017 Student Venture Winners

Grand Prize of $6,000 – Locker Lifestyle (Grand Valley State University)

1st Runner Up of $4,000 GoSpot (Northwood University) 

2nd Runner Up of $3,000 Xgrip (Northwood University)

 3rd Runner Up of $2,000 – MP Insert Engineering (Western Michigan University)

Graduate Grand Prize of $6,000 Canopy (University of Michigan)

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About the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is the state’s largest convening of high-growth, high-tech companies and venture investors, and awards $1,000,000 in prize offerings. Since its inception, participating companies have generated 1,000+ Michigan jobs and raised more than $550 million in capital. Over the last eight years, the competition has featured notable grand prize award winners including: SPLT (2016), Banza (2015), SkySpecs (2014), Varsity News Network (2013), Algal Scientific (2012), DeNovo Sciences (2011) and Armune Biosciences (2010).

Through the strong support of partners, collaborative investors and a burgeoning tech sector, Accelerate Michigan is recognized as a pillar of the local startup community. The annual event is made possible by grants and sponsorships from the New Economy Initiative and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s 21st Century Jobs Fund, as well as significant corporate and community support. Accelerate Michigan is a program of Invest Detroit Ventures, an early stage investment platform powered by Invest Detroit.