Roundup: Genomenon, Develop(her), QL Demo Day, MBA Summit & More

Michigan’s innovation community continues to pump out news at a steady clip. Here are some of the latest updates from around the state.

—Ann Arbor’s Genomenon, a startup focused on genomic search data, has struck a new partnership with Boston’s Rhythm Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: RYTM), a company working on treatments for rare obesity disorders. They will team up to create a database of genetic mutations associated with obesity as documented in the medical literature. Genomenon has developed Mastermind, a genomic search engine that connects genomic data with evidence from scientific literature.

In a press release, Genomenon says it used Mastermind to comb through disease-mutation associations from millions of journal articles to find genes and variants associated with obesity. Rhythm will in turn use Genomenon’s data on the genetic factors contributing to obesity to guide its research. Genomenon says it developed its obesity biomarker database of over 10,000 mutations in 120 genes in less than 60 days, a feat company CEO Mike Klein described as “an exciting demonstration.”

—The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business will host the inaugural MBA Summit on May 1, which brings together top-tier business school programs from around the country for a panel discussion hosted by John A. Byrne from Poets & Quants. The event features admission directors from U-M, Berkeley, and Yale; executives from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Google, and McKinsey; and MBA program graduates discussing various aspects of the business school experience. To register to view the livestream from the event, click here.

Search Optics, the San Diego digital marketing company with an office in Ferndale, has a new partnership with Hyundai Auto Canada and Innocean Worldwide Canada to implement a first-of-its-kind digital marketing campaign spanning all of Hyundai’s Canadian dealerships. The partnership establishes a single national marketing platform that drives brand consistency and communication across corporate, auto dealer advertising association, and dealership channels. An Australian pilot program similar to the Canadian initiative is also in the planning stages, Search Optics says. The company did not disclose the financial value of the partnership.

—Wixom-based OPS Solutions, maker of an industrial augmented reality tool called Light Guide Systems, has opened a new office in the Czech Republic. Located in Prague, OPS says the new facility will serve as the company’s base of European operations and provide the “launch point” to expand sales and business partnerships with companies across the continent.

—Earlier this month, Ann Arbor SPARK held its annual meeting announcing the results of its work in 2017 and releasing an updated strategic plan. In 2017, the economic development organization says it assisted 217 companies and incubated 85 startups, and attracted or retained 40 business projects resulting in $120 million in new investment and the creation of 2,050 jobs. SkySpecs was honored as the entrepreneurial service company of the year; Mandy Grewal, Pittsfield Charter Township supervisor, was named volunteer of the year; and project of the year went to three companies—Navya, Lear, and Ford Labs—for their combined contribution to the region’s mobility industry. To see SPARK’s strategic plan in detail, click here.

Grand Circus, the tech training institute with locations in Detroit and Grand Rapids, will award 10 women with Develop(her) scholarships to 12-week coding bootcamps. This is the third round of Develop(her) scholarships in three years, which are supported by TEKsystems and the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation.

The scholarship is open to women in southeast or western Michigan that pass the admissions process and demonstrate financial need. Scholarship winners will be enrolled into either Java, C# .NET, or front-end coding bootcamps, the first of which starts in July. Grand Circus also works with employers to place students in full-time jobs upon completion of their training. To apply, head to GrandCircus.co/Women.

—Fifteen startups based in Detroit or committed to relocating there will compete at the second annual Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day, being held June 22 at the Music Hall downtown. To be eligible for the demo day, a company must be a for-profit business with a product or service ready for commercialization, and have no more than $2 million in annual revenue or $1 million in investment capital. A total of $1 million will be awarded to seven winners in increments of $50,000 to $300,000. The audience will also have the opportunity to vote on People’s Choice awards.

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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