Roundup: Accelerate MI, Beringea, Compuware, LevelEleven & More

7/14/14Follow @XconomyDET

Here’s a look at news from around Michigan’s innovation hubs:

—I’ve publicly expressed my dismay toward lazy reporting about Detroit on the part of the national media, so it’s only fair to offer praise when praise is due. The New York Times took another foray into Detroit for a lengthy piece in the Times magazine Sunday, and it was the most accurate and nuanced portrait of the recovery efforts underway in the Motor City that the NYT has published so far. Reporter Ben Austen ventured far outside of Corktown/Downtown/Midtown to report on things usually missed by the nation’s newspaper of record, such as new retail popping up along the Avenue of Fashion, and Elizabeth Garlow’s efforts to build Michigan’s social entrepreneurship ecosystem. The Phil Cooley idolatry was kept to a minimum, and it seems the paper finally took Detroit residents’ pleas to stop rehashing clichés seriously. It’s a good read for anyone who wants to understand why so many people are optimistic about Detroit’s future.

—The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, the state’s largest business plan contest, has announced that July 23 is the deadline to enter. At stake are more than $1 million in cash and prizes. Accelerate Michigan is open to startups in the following sectors: advanced materials, advanced transportation, alternative energy, information technology, life science, medical devices, next-generation manufacturing, and products and services. Semi-finalists will make their pitches to investors Nov. 4-6, with the winners announced Nov. 6 at the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit. Competition organizers said in a press release that since Accelerate Michigan’s inception four years ago, previous semi-finalists and finalists have raised more than $59 million in funding and created more than 600 jobs in Michigan. (To apply to participate in the competition, click here.)

Beringea, the private equity firm with offices in London and Farmington Hills, MI, has invested $3.4 million in Perfect Channel, a cloud-based auction management service that counts Christie’s, Lloyd’s of London, and LeasePlan among its customers. Ron Hodgkinson, an investment manager at Beringea, will join the Perfect Channel board.

—Wayne State University in Detroit will offer a nanoengineering undergraduate certificate program that will provide in-depth training in nanotechnology starting next January. The new program is part of WSU’s effort to respond to the National Nanotechnology Initiative and includes funding from the National Science Foundation.

—There’s a new tool in Michigan’s cybersecurity arsenal: The Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps (MiC3). MiC3 is made up of a group of cybersecurity professionals who volunteer their time and expertise much like volunteer firefighters or members of the National Guard would. In times of need, the MiC3 will be first responders in cyber attacks, after the Governor activates MiC3 cells during an emergency. The MiC3 will test its mettle during a cybersecurity incident response exercise in Grand Rapids on July 23. The MiC3 team will defend various places in Alphaville, a group of networked, simulated information systems that are assigned various levels of security and modeled after real towns. The free event is open to the public, but space is limited. (Interested attendees should RSVP to wmcybersecurity@kentcountymi.gov by July 19.)

Compuware APM, the Detroit-based technology performance company spun out of Compuware last year, has been named to the SD Times 100 list as a leader in the mobile testing, quality assurance, and security category. “The challenges and complexities facing software developers have never been higher,” said David Rubinstein, SD Times’ editor-in-chief, in a press release. “The innovations we have seen across mobile, cloud, big data, Web, and enterprise applications are all occurring against the backdrop of increased user demands for performance. Thanks to companies like Compuware APM, software developers are armed with the insight and solutions they need to tackle these challenges.”

—Detroit-based LevelEleven, the developer of sales gamification apps, has added software executive Zack Urlocker to its board. Urlocker is an investor and advisor based in Silicon Valley with more than 20 years of experience in the software industry. Recently, he served as executive in residence for Scale Venture Partners and was also chief operating officer at Zendesk.

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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