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Ann Arbor Spark

Data & Cybersecurity

Ann Arbor has quickly emerged as a leader in the data and cybersecurity industry across the Midwest.

This distinction was accelerated by the success of Ann Arbor’s first unicorn, Duo Security, which was acquired by Cisco in 2018 for $2.35 billion. As a result, startups focusing on security markets have sprouted in the area. 

Two such startups, Censys and Blumeria, have several Duo Security alumni contributing to the companies’ growth. Other industry leaders like Netscout and Barracuda have a longstanding and significant presence within the region. 

Michigan has devoted resources to cybersecurity companies and the education sector. The governor hosts the annual Michigan Cyber Summit to address growing industry needs across the state. Additionally, Michigan’s Cyber Partners is a collaboration between various divisions at the State of Michigan, including Michigan Cybersecurity, the Michigan State Police, and local public entities across Michigan to strengthen, improve, and promote cybersecurity resources and best practices.  

Top-tier universities have also partnered to create the Michigan Cyber Range (MCR), a training effort that brings together URC universities and other institutions to teach cybersecurity professionals how to detect, prevent, and mitigate cyberattacks in real-world situations. Additionally, Wayne State University developed the Cyber Range Hub in 2017 at their Advanced Technology Education Center as a cybersecurity lab that brings together educators and industry in southeast Michigan. 

The state also developed the Michigan Initiative for Cybersecurity (MICE), a program dedicated to educating K-12 and post-secondary students on the importance of cybersecurity. This program, along with the Michigan branch of the Cyberpatriot program, impacts schools across the state and continues to solidify a talent pipeline.

Ann Arbor SPARK Services and Resources

Contact the business development team

Business Development and Site Selector Services 

Ann Arbor SPARK works closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Michigan Works! Southeast, local municipalities, and other partners to facilitate business location and growth within the region. Our team can help make meaningful connections as well as identify office space and the skilled talent you need to achieve your goals.

Startup and Business Acceleration Resources

Join our startup incubator.

The SPARK entrepreneurial services team works closely with early stage startups to expedite their success. A reliable advocate to help founders navigate the entrepreneurial ecosystem, SPARK offers desk space at our incubators in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, business accelerator grants to help achieve significant product development milestones, and mentoring opportunities with the areas experienced business leaders. We’ve also teamed up with the Michigan Small Business Development Center to help our qualified clients apply for the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund.

In addition to avenues for funding, SPARK initiatives promote collaborative programs in the region. For example, a2Tech360 is an annual weeklong series of events, featuring the region’s companies and leaders. Included in the lineup is the opportunity for angel investors and venture capitalists to hear pitches from early stage startups during the Invest360: Investor Showcase.

Industry Sector Reports 

  • In 2020, there were 138,000 cybersecurity job postings in southeast Michigan, the top field being software developers.
  • Annually, the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University graduates more than 500 students in computer science and computer engineering.

Recent Industry Projects in Southeast Michigan

  • A University of Michigan professor and a group of graduate students spent six years building Morpheus, a computer chip that sought to defeat the sort of cyberattacks that threaten Americans every day, from banking and financial systems to computer security and medical data.
  • Censys Inc., a cybersecurity company in Ann Arbor, introduced a new feature for its Attack Surface Management (ASM) platform.
  • Blumira expanded its cloud security coverage with AWS Security Monitoring.

Regional Industry Employers

Company NameDescriptionRegional Employees
Duo SecurityAdvanced Information Technology400
Barracuda Networks, Inc.Advanced Information Technology219
NETSCOUTAdvanced Information Technology160
ETAS Inc.Advanced Automotive; Advanced Information Technology; Business Services100
Nokia-DeepfieldAdvanced Information Technology75
Censys, Inc.Advanced Information Technology65
Applied Dynamics InternationalAdvanced Automotive, Advanced Information Technology, Aerospace, Homeland Security, Defense Technology50
Quantum Signal AIAdvanced Information Technology; Homeland Security and Defense Technology43
OtavaAdvanced Information Technology40
PinkertonAdvanced Information Technology; Business Services30
NetWorks GroupAdvanced Information Technology18
Blumira, Inc.Advanced Information Technology13
ESCRYPTAdvanced Information Technology10
TechStakAdvanced Information Technology3