EntryPoint was excited to partner with ID Ventures, the venture team of Invest Detroit, to host the 2018 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC). One thing was clear from the energy at the event: the Midwest entrepreneurial ecosystem is on the rise!
For the last nine years, Invest Detroit Senior Vice President, Martin Dober and his team at ID Ventures have hosted AMIC to fuel the growth of startups in Michigan. According to the 2018 MVCA Research Report, only seven percent of capital invested in Michigan-based startups last year was in the seed-stage, highlighting the need for more capital and support for companies at their earliest stages. AMIC addresses these challenges by engaging with Midwest investors and experts and shining a light on Michigan-based startups. In addition to capital attraction, our team focused on building a network of support, resources and expertise for the entrepreneurs participating in the event to further enable their growth and success.
As part of this year’s event, EntryPoint carefully curated 240 one-on-one meetings between the startup companies and local investors, business acceleration resources and industry experts based on sector and current needs. Over 100 industry professionals participated in the meetings including Carolyn Cassin of Michigan Women’s Foundation, Jake Cohen of Detroit Venture Partners, Heidi Craun of Hyde Park Angels, Brett deMarrais of Ludlow Ventures, Danny Ellis of SkySpecs, Adrian Fortino of Mercury Fund, Amanda Lewan of Bamboo Detroit and Kurt Skifstad of ArborMetrix, Inc. After a day of back-to-back meetings, the investment community deliberated and selected the finalists for the competition. While the finalist companies prepped their presentations for the evening, attendees were able to network and enjoy a reception (and catch a bike race at the newly iconic Lexus Velodrome!).
The finalists presented their companies in front of a seated audience of over 400 attendees, including community leaders, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial support organizations and investors from across the Midwest. After receiving over 300 applicants and selecting 24 semi-finalists, ten companies were collectively awarded nearly $1 million in cash and investment thanks to generous sponsors, including Ann Arbor SPARK, William Davidson Foundation, New Economy Initiative, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Invest Michigan, Belle Impact Fund and more.
Huge congratulations to the awardees of this year’s competition – Derq, GreenMark Biomedical Inc., MyNurse US, S3D Precision Dispensing, Shoptelligence, Spellbound and Vertecore. It was amazing to work with such talented, driven, and innovative people. AMIC is always a fantastic event that showcases Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and we were honored to be a part of it and to help connect startup companies with capital and entrepreneurial resources in the community!
Here’s what the entrepreneurial ecosystem had to say about the event!
“EntryPoint was an amazing partner to work with on the 2018 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, one of the state’s largest gathering of startups and investors. They helped to make it one of the most successful events in its nine-year history, by providing informed strategic direction during the planning phases, innovative ideas on a new event format, strong attention to detail in event logistics, and expanded reach in marketing and social media. Most importantly, EntryPoint’s involvement helped to focus the event on providing meaningful impact for participating startups and the broader entrepreneurial community in Michigan.”
– Martin Dober, Invest Detroit, investor and client
“I must say that it was one of the most perfect (and I know that nothing is perfect) events I ever attended. As a nearly eight-hour event, it is difficult to keep everyone so interested and involved as you managed to do: from participants to coaches, investors and all the staff.”
– Marta Veiga, MyNurse, semi-finalist company
“I’ve attended the Accelerate Michigan events since its inception and this year was the most valuable for both investors and I believe companies. Particularly the small meetings with the companies allowed for a more informal, conversational dynamic. Entry Point and Invest Detroit did a great job reconfiguring the event at just the right time for our ecosystem.”
– Adrian Fortino, Mercury Fund, investor
“The history of AMIC is a true success story. The fact that all previous winners are still growing and creating jobs in Michigan and that the 300 plus semi-finalists over the past eight years have raised tens of millions of investment dollars since their participation speaks volumes to the value of the program. And this year it has turned into a real business attraction event. The program format has morphed over time but the smoothness of its operation, coordination with sponsors and stakeholders, and super networking opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors make it something we should be proud of.”
– Skip Simms, Ann Arbor SPARK, investor and sponsor
“I loved the investor meetings, very conversational and natural and probably the best way to evaluate our companies (vs. evaluating how great a company spokesperson can pitch, saying that being a person who kinda likes to live pitch). So, thumbs up on that format change from last year!”
– Jessica Willis, PocketNest, semi-finalist company
“I thought the format was great! We were able to meet so many awesome folks, and it gave us the opportunity to connect with judges on a more personal level.”
– Tremaine Grant, BULK, semi-finalist company
“I love how the event this year was in an exciting new venue, and was designed to provide support for the Founders. As a sponsor and investor, I felt I was given an authentic way to support new companies and connect with top talent. It will be of the top events I refer companies to attend.”
–Amanda Lewan, Bamboo Detroit, entrepreneurial resource and sponsor
EntryPoint partners with organizations to strategically host events around emerging trends, successes, or gaps in the market related to findings from our research. Interested in partnering with us?
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