By Kate Toporski, CFE Content Development Intern
The University of Michigan’s entrepreneurship efforts are becoming recognized as demonstrated by the school being named third in the nation by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship magazine. Over the weekend, the incoming class of its student accelerator was announced.
The 15th cohort of TechArb includes a variety of ventures that are working on businesses related to custom orthotics, hassle-free funeral planning, healthy food choices and more, bringing with them a wide diversity of interest, thought, and experience to the program this coming semester. Over the next five months, the group will conduct customer discovery and work on refining their business models, as well as receive mentorship from industry experts
“These companies were selected not only on the strength of their ideas, but moreover the energy they apply to the execution,” said TechArb Director, Ryan Gourley. “That same passion and enthusiasm was in the air last night, and I, for one, can’t wait to watch it work its magic in the coming months.”
Founded in 2009 as a joint venture between Michigan Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship and the Zell Lurie Institute at Michigan Ross, TechArb has been home to hundreds of successful companies and products, all incubated by Michigan students.
Winter 2017 TechArb Cohort:
Adjacent– The community-based mobile app that helps you discover and connect to potential co-founders, mentors, and supporters right around you.
ArborThotics– The technology that allows you to print custom orthotic devices based on data from FDA approved 3D surface scanners.
Cheruvu– The group of designers, agro-scientists, resource managers, and engineers bringing big data to small farmers in India.
Find Your Ditto– The mobile platform connecting individuals living with the same chronic illness locally for on-demand, in-person peer support.
Flexscle– The wearable device that measures muscle activity and provides custom training suggestions to help users exercise more effectively.
ForzaMetrix– The app optimizing your performance through fully automated workout tracking and analytics.
Gwydion – The software development company producing cutting edge augmented and virtual reality technology for everything from physical therapy to pure entertainment.
proteinbits– The on-the-go, bite-size protein snack made with the highest quality natural ingredients.
Sage & Grace– The concierge service helping grieving families reduce the stress and costs of funeral planning.
StepFor– The mobile app that allows you to translate your daily steps into donations to charity, at no cost to you.
Thrive– The vegetable-based snack bar, providing sustainable, healthy, on-the-go sustenance to busy people.
“It takes a village to launch a venture,” said Gourley, as he introduced the cohort to TechArb’s entrepreneurial partners across campus: Michigan Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship, the Ross School of Business’s Zell Lurie Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies, Innovate Blue, the Zell Entrepreneurship and Law Clinic, and the School of Information’s Prototyping & Design Clinics. “And we couldn’t have asked for a better village than the one we have here at Michigan.”
Each team that is accepted into the program is eligible to receive up to $1,000, as a milestone award. In 2016 alone, 40 teams have participated in TechArb and since then have received over $2 million in funding. Over eighty percent of the student startups are still active and nearly one-third have successfully launched their product or service.