Roundup: Motozuma Opens Detroit Office, WSU Student Ventures Snag Funding

8/21/13Follow @XconomyDET

A few items to catch up on around town:

Motozuma has reportedly opened up an office in Detroit. The Naperville, IL-based startup allows users to set up free online savings accounts where they can put money towards a new car and invite friends and family to help contribute. Motozuma users are rewarded for their savings with purchase incentives from partner automakers and dealers, and assistance with navigating the car-buying process.

Sources say Motozuma founder and CEO John Morgan sent out an e-mail to tenants in the Madison Building yesterday inviting them to celebrate Motozuma’s move into the Madison with coffee and donuts. The e-mail also mentioned the company was celebrating an investment round. Presumably, the investment is from Detroit Venture Partners, which is also housed in the Madison and routinely includes office space as part of its pitch to lure companies to Detroit. We reached out to Morgan, but didn’t receive a response by press time. We’ll update this story as we learn more.

—The winners of Blackstone LaunchPad’s Warrior Fund pitch competition were announced earlier this month. The Warrior Fund is Wayne State University’s pre-seed fund for student startup tech ventures. Sponsored by the Michigan Initiative for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Lakeland Ventures Development, Detroit Venture Partners, Bizdom and NextEnergy, the competition was open to students participating in WSU’s Blackstone LaunchPad program.

Elias Majid, owner of Eli Tea, a Detroit-based online artisan tea company, was awarded $3,000 to expand operations to include selling teas wholesale to restaurants and opening a tea house. Kelly Guillory, illustrator of a graphic novel called “Blood Money: The Road to Detroit” through her company Ashur Collective, was awarded $4,073 to help with production of the novel. Mark Crain and Norman Dotson were awarded $3,000 to market ClickTheCause.org, a crowdfunding website dedicated to social good in Detroit and Chicago.

The University of Michigan Venture Center, the startup accelerator associated with the Office of Technology Transfer, recently announced it has a new director. Jack Miner comes to the position after working as a startup specialist in U-M tech transfer since 2011. He coordinated the development, formation, and funding of more than six startup companies launched within the last year while managing a portfolio of more than 20 other startup projects. Before that, he worked for accelerators in Detroit and Battle Creek.

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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