Ann Arbor Entrepreneurs Make a Statement

The largest business plan competition, Accelerate Michigan, had just completed its main award ($500,000) a week before.  This week, however, a dozen startups gathered in the basement of Ann Arbor SPARK  to give their pitch after weeks of hard work not for prize money but for the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to take…

Leaving Safe Harbor

The wind was a steady 25 knots gusting to 30 at 10am Saturday morning. Outside the harbor break wall the waves were 8-10 feet rolling South towards our next port of call and I had a decision to make: Stay put or leave our safe harbor to engage the open water towards our next adventure.…

3 Days, 80 Scientists, 300 Customer Interviews

This week was the kick off of the University of Michigan Innovation Corps (I-Corps) summer session where 80 scientists, engineers and mentors gathered in Ann Arbor to participate in the 8-week entrepreneurial-immersion program developed by Steve Blank and the National Science Foundation (NSF). For those not familiar with I-Corps, it is an intense entrepreneurial training…

Chance Favors the Connected Mind

Great progress has been made in developing processes and tools to help entrepreneurs take an idea and search for the right business model and turn it into a new venture. Not a lot, however, has been done to develop processes around taking an interesting idea and evolving it into something truly amazing and disruptive. Imposible?…

Testing Ideas with Customers

I’ve sat through approximately 50 pitches in the last 2-3 weeks and many times I hear a common example of how the teams have tested their ideas with customers… “We went out and showed our prototype to a bunch of people and everyone we showed it to said yes, they would buy it!”. The problem…

Celebrate Invention at A2 Draws Big Crowd

Last night the University of Michigan’s Tech Transfer Office held their annual Celebrate Invention event.  This event is held each fall to celebrate and honor inventors that are working on exciting new commercial opportunities using U-M IP. It was a cold and rainy evening so I didn’t hold much hope for a large crowd but was excited…

Chicago’s Entrepreneurial Spirit is Burning Bright

Today ends a 3-day fast paced visit to Chicago for myself and many UM entrepreneurial students who came here to engage the Chicago entrepreneurial network. On Sunday, I was thrilled to see so many wolverines participating in Chicago’s Startup Weekend event.  This 50+ hour event is a great way to build energy in a community…