Program Welcomes Most Diverse Cohort Yet
The Center for Entrepreneurship’s immersive co-curricular program, TechLab at Mcity, is proud to announce the selection of 25 outstanding students and five companies for the 2022 Cohort.
Over the years, TechLab at Mcity has recruited exceptional early-stage startups revolutionizing the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) industry. Twenty Two companies have participated in the program thus far, raising more than $330M in funding combined while in TechLab at Mcity. Three of the companies have been acquired.
Equally impressive is the expansive impact TechLab at Mcity has had in the United States and beyond. The program has shown significant global outreach with companies headquartered in Detroit, Ann Arbor, the SF Bay area, London, Belgium, Istanbul, Japan, Australia, China, and Israel. The 2022 cohort of companies adds to this impressive breadth.
“TechLab at Mcity has quickly become a leading pipeline of talent for the emerging connected and autonomous vehicle market,” said Nick Moroz, Director of Entrepreneurial Practice at the CFE. “The students who participate in this program are technically talented and burgeoning entrepreneurs, showing time and time again their creativity and passion in leading these exploratory projects.
“Our partnership with Mcity provides a unique environment to develop, demonstrate, and deploy critical advancements in tech. This has allowed us to recruit the most promising startups from around the world. These early-stage ventures are driving the innovations that will dictate how we will interact with vehicles as operators and pedestrians, not 15 years out, but today. The future is happening at TechLab at Mcity.”
XenomatiX is the first company to offer true solid state lidar sensors based on a multi-beam lasers concept and risk-free, scalable, semiconductor technology. XenomatiX sensors are known for their unique concept using mature technology components.
Baraja Lidar is a deep technology company that has reinvented LiDAR for self-driving vehicles. Their Spectrum-ScanTM platform uses patented technology to set new benchmarks for precision, range and reliability.
Deepen AI builds tools that use artificial intelligence to help autonomous systems to reliably understand and safely interact with the real world. Deepen enables consistent data curation, labeling and validation for autonomous vehicles, robots, drones, etc.
P3Mobility partners with local governments to deploy smart infrastructure that increases safety, mobility, and sustainability. Their proprietary software platform facilitates the revenue generation necessary to finance smart road and connected vehicle services.
Adastec delivers the most advanced Level 4 automation platform for full-size buses and coaches currently available.
Gatik, the leader in autonomous middle mile logistics, delivers goods safely and efficiently using its fleet of light & medium duty trucks. The company focuses on short-haul, business-to-business (B2B) logistics for the retail industry.
With students, staff, and faculty back on campus for a mostly in-person Winter semester, the CFE Entrepreneurial Practice Programs team decided to utilize both virtual and in-person methods to recruit this new cohort. This hybrid approach to recruitment produced a record number of RSVPs and attendees of our events. Entrepreneurial Practice Programs reached 479 students and had more than 200 students participate in their three recruitment events.
CFE staff member Emilee Studley held the second annual Women in ENTRepreneurship event to recruit more women in the program. This networking event featured two TechLab at Mcity alumni, Mahalakshmi Iyer (TechLab 2021) and Melinda Kothbauer (TechLab 2017), who spoke to how as women they build relationships and innovate with tech.
“I joined TechLab at Mcity because I was interested in the area of self-driving cars and vehicles,” said Mahalakshmi Iyer, B.S.E. Computer Science. “During my first class last semester I was shocked to see only two women, including myself, were part of the cohort.
“TechLab has come a long way since then with this new cohort! I am very happy and excited to see TechLab empowering fellow female entrepreneurs! It indeed is inspiring to see so many women in the field making impactful decisions and following their passions.”
The 2022 cohort features strong representation from women and various academic years ranging from sophomores to Masters students majoring in computer science, electrical engineering, robotics, and mechanical engineering.
“As I start TechLab, I am looking forward to applying some of the skills I’ve learned in my computer science classes to a team-based project in industry and am also excited to collaborate with other engineers,” said Anne Ye, B.S.E. Computer Science “I applied to the program because I thought it was a really great opportunity to learn more about the autonomous vehicle industry.”
In recent years, TechLab at Mcity expanded the program to include graduate students as well. Of the 156 applications for the 2022 cohort, 48 percent were graduate students. Of the 25 students in the program, more than 50 percent represent graduate programs.
“As part of Adastec, I am excited to work on technologies such as V2X and DL to advance the level-4 automation platform,” said Maithili Shetty, M.S. Electrical Engineering. “I applied to Techlab at Mcity as I am immensely fascinated by autonomous vehicles and believe that working with startups in this domain would be the perfect opportunity for me to gain a deeper understanding of what goes into developing one and also obtain solid hands-on experience.”
The 2022 cohort marks the 7th cohort to participate in TechLab at Mcity. Each year, the program attracts students who’ve known about TechLab at Mcity since they enrolled at U-M and want to enter the industry after college. Each year the program draws interest from students who are passionate about the connected and autonomous industry and want to work in industry after college.
“I’ve been interested in autonomous vehicles ever since I watched the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, and TechLab at MCity is the premier venue for invaluable skill development, working with real companies to advance this vastly growing field,” said Ashutosh Bhown, B.S.E. Computer Science. “I’m very excited to work with Gatik AI to explore the environmental edge cases of high-level autonomous vehicle operation.”
Regardless of the reasons for joining TechLab at Mcity, the program has become known as the premier experience at U-M for those who want an entrepreneurial career in the CAV industry.