After Early Successes, The Hatch Incubator at MSU Doubles in Size

Two years ago, Spartan Innovations was launched to help nurture and commercialize startups founded by Michigan State University students and faculty or from technology developed at MSU. This week, the MSU Innovation Center announced that The Hatch, its early-stage incubator and co-working space, is expanding.

“The growth has been exponential,” says Paul Jacques, the director of student and community engagement for Spartan Innovations.

The new 1,135 square-foot expansion will double The Hatch in size and was funded through the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and a three-year, $75,000 gift from the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. New amenities include high-definition videoconference-ready breakout rooms, a multimedia editing suite, new monitors, 24-hour keyfob access, and video security.

Jacques says that during the summer, Spartan Innovations built another new incubator, or “idea lab,” called The Hive inside Wilson Hall, a dorm on MSU’s campus. The Hive is targeted toward freshmen and sophomores to teach them entrepreneurship as part of a one-credit class.

“Then, once they go from idea mode to startup mode, they’ll go over to The Hatch,” Jacques adds.

Spartan Innovations already has a few successes under its belt even though it’s only been around for two years. Jacques says 156 student startups have accessed services at The Hatch so far, and during the 2014 academic year, students in The Hatch raised more than $210,000 in startup support, mostly through business plan competitions and grants.

One Hatch startup, TheraB Medical, makes a wearable treatment to help combat infant jaundice. TheraB was one of 40 startups from across the globe accepted into the International Business Model Competition held at Brigham Young University this year. The company won some money in the competition and, even though the student founders have now graduated, TheraB will stay on at The Hatch in exchange for a small equity stake.

Another of the accelerator’s startups, Carbon Cash, was named one of the top eight startups in the nation at Student Startup Madness at this year’s South By Southwest festival in Austin, TX, and will soon start a pilot project to help validate its green technology.

As part of The Hatch’s expansion, a community co-working space called the 300 Room, which is adjacent to The Hatch, will also grow. Built to serve as a meeting and networking space, it can be used by the public during weekly open hours or by scheduling a reservation; call (517) 708-3801 to reserve a spot.

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

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