The annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, the business-plan contest targeting mid-to-late-stage startups located in the state, wrapped up last night at Orchestra Hall in downtown Detroit, where a slew of overall and sector-specific winners were announced. At stake was more than $1 million in cash prizes, plus in-kind awards of services, staffing, and software.
Plymouth-based Algal Scientific won the top $500,000 company award for its technology that removes nutrient pollutants such as phosphorus and nitrogen from municipal or industrial waste water while producing algal biomass that can be used as fuel, fertilizer, or bioplastics. The company has raised $1 million so far to speed up the commercial launch of its products and to build manufacturing capacity to meet an anticipated increase in demand. In July, Algal Scientific won the $25,000 grand prize in the Emerging Company category at the Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest competition.
Other overall winners are:
NanoMAG, $100,000: Livonia-based NanoMAG is developing next-generation, high-strength, lightweight magnesium alloys for use in orthopedic medical applications. NanoMAG is a subsidiary of Thixomat, an advanced materials company. NanoMAG is working to initiate small animal in vivo studies testing its bio-absorbable implants.
InPore Technologies, $50,000: Located in East Lansing, InPore Technologies’ mission is “to become the world’s leading provider of mesoporous silicate materials” for use in water purification, flame retardants, and controlling the release of bioactive chemicals.
Industry awards, $25,000 each:
BioSavita, Life Sciences: Plymouth-based BioSavita is a revenue-stage startup focused on the development of proprietary, genetically engineered strains of yeast to license to biopharma companies for use in research and production.
BREONICS, Medical Device: BREONICS is commercializing a technology to solve the shortage of transplantable kidneys by enabling the expansion of the donor pool. The technology has been developed over the past 15 years and is now entering clinical trials at the University of Michigan.
Coliant Corporation, Next Generation Manufacturing: Coliant is the Warren-based maker of the Powerlet brand of “ruggedized,” weather-resistant heated clothing and charging devices for motorcycles and powersport vehicles.
Eco-Fueling, Advanced Transportation: Operating out of Saline, Eco-Fueling has designed, built, and road-tested a retrofit system that improves fuel economy for existing diesel engines by 15 percent.
Ideomed, IT: Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Ideomed has created the Abriiz digital asthma management platform for children, which provides parents, nurse educators, or other care managers with a targeted web management system and a child-friendly mobile reminder/tracking system.
InfiChem Polymers, Advanced Materials: Sterling Heights-based InfiChem Polymers is commercializing a proprietary chemical process for recycling polyurethane scrap destined for landfills into a new line of products used to make new polyurethanes.
Ornicept, Alternative Energy: Ornicept has developed automated bird-monitoring technology for wind energy developers, military natural resource managers, regulators, and airfield controllers.
Protean Payment, Products & Services: Protean Payment, the Ann Arbor-based startup and TechTown client, has developed the reprogrammable Echo card, which uses a mobile app and a tiny, embedded computer to mimic your debit, credit, loyalty, or prepaid cards. Fun fact: Thiago Olson, co-founder and CEO, is a defense engineer and plasma physicist who built a nuclear reactor in his parents’ basement during high school.
Peoples Choice Award, $10,000:
Retia Medical: Headquartered in East Lansing’s Technology Innovation Center, Retia Medical makes monitors for high-risk patients in the operating room and in intensive care units.
Kymeira Advanced Materials, University of Michigan: Kymeira makes “thermoset ceramics” materials that can outperform many existing high-grade engineering ceramics.
Lemon Peel, Hope College: Lemon Peel makes a Vital Sleep Headband with noise-cancelling technology and vital-sign monitoring to help hospital patients sleep.
SkySpecs, University of Michigan: SkySpecs designs Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that gather video and other data from locations that are difficult or dangerous for a person to access.