Copyright 2023 SPARK

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the 2023 Ann Arbor SPARK annual meeting where we presented the results of our 2022 work.

Event Highlights

  • Consulting support and funding to 333 startups that employed 983 people within the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti SmartZone. Of those startups, 101 of them operate from one of SPARK’s two incubators: SPARK Central in Ann Arbor and SPARK East in Ypsilanti.
  • Location and expansion support for 17 company growth projects, generating nearly $140 million in new investment commitments while creating and retaining more than 1,150 highly skilled jobs.
  • In early-stage funding, Ann Arbor SPARK awarded 34 pre-seed investments to 31 companies, averaging nearly $300,000 per company. Additionally, the Michigan Angel Fund which is managed by SPARK invested $2.2 million in 10 early-stage tech companies and attracted $194 million in funding.

Annual Meeting Award Winners

AlertWatch: Entrepreneurial Services Company of the Year Award

AlertWatch specializes in clinically proven patient monitoring software solutions. Over the past decade, this local healthcare technology company has developed and deployed clinical intelligence and triage solutions across various hospital care settings. AlertWatch’s specialized software offerings have earned them four4 FDA 510(k) clearances, enabling monitoring in operating rooms, post-operative recovery bays, ICUs, low acuity units, labor and delivery wards, and now extending beyond hospital walls. AlertWatch’s partnership with Ann Arbor SPARK, including seed-stage investment in 2013, has supported the growth of its technology platform, expanded its customer base, and increased its visibility in the healthcare industry.

In 2022, AlertWatch was acquired by BioIntelliSense, enabling healthcare providers to benefit from the award-winning BioButton® medical grade wearable device, combined with AlertWatch clinical intelligence, for scalable continuous care from in-hospital to home.

Sartorius: Business Development Project of the Year Award

Sartorius is a global life sciences research and biopharmaceutical partner focused on simplifying and accelerating progress in these fields. Their new Center of Excellence for lab products and services in Ann Arbor will be a LEED-certified, carbon-neutral facility equipped with advanced technology. The Group’s Lab Products & Services Division offers innovative laboratory instruments and consumables to serve the needs of laboratories conducting research and quality control in pharma and biopharma companies, as well as academic research institutes. The site is expected to employ up to 300 individuals after its completion in spring 2024.

Sartorius’ investment in this project contributes to the revitalization of a previously idle park and underscores the company’s commitment to the local community. Collaboration between Sartorius, SPARK, the City of Ann Arbor, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has provided support for this venture. Sartorius’ decision to invest in R&D in Ann Arbor highlights the city’s reputation as a hub for innovation and growth.

Congratulations from the Sartorius Project Team

Dr. Rose B. Bellanca: Economic Development Champion Award

Dr. Rose B. Bellanca, president of Washtenaw Community College, was honored with this award for her outstanding leadership and contributions to economic development in the region. Dr. Bellanca has established strong partnerships with local businesses and organizations, creating opportunities for students and promoting workforce development in the area. She has championed initiatives addressing the skills gap and increasing access to education and training, playing a significant role in building a more diverse and inclusive economy. Through her dedication and commitment to economic growth, Bellanca has made a substantial impact on the Ann Arbor community, deserving recognition as the recipient of this prestigious award.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Santa J. Ono
President, University of Michigan

President Ono, a recognized leader in higher education in the United States and Canada, is an experienced vision researcher whose pioneering work in experimental medicine focuses on the immune system and eye disease. At U-M he is professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences in the Medical School.

He joined U-M from the University of British Columbia, where he served as president and vice chancellor since 2016.

While at UBC, he chaired the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities and the Research Universities of British Columbia, and served on the board of Universities Canada. He also served on the steering committee of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities; Government of Canada’s Industry Advisory Ad Hoc Roundtable on COVID-19 Testing; and the boards of Fulbright Canada and Mitacs.

Prior to his appointment at UBC, he was president of the University of Cincinnati, where he also served as professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. While at the University of Cincinnati, he was appointed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to lead the state’s Biopharmaceutical Task Force and to the Board of the Ohio Third Frontier, the state’s technology-based economic development program.

Dr. Ono has served as senior vice provost and deputy to the provost at Emory University. He also has taught at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University and University College London.

He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the National Academy of Inventors, USA, and the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. In 2022, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

He serves on the board of directors of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. He is the leader of the University Climate Change Coalition, and a member of the International Advisory Board of Keio University and the Terramera Strategic Advisory Board.

He has served on the boards of the American Council on Education and the Council on Competitiveness, as chief innovation adviser to the Province of British Columbia, and as co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy for the Government of Canada.

He has advised national and regional governments on higher education and mental health. He also has advised companies such as GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Novartis, and served as director and chief scientific officer of iCo Therapeutics.

President Ono has served on the editorial boards for several peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals, including Immunology, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, The Journal of Immunology, and The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

He holds honorary doctorates from Chiba University and the Vancouver School of Theology and is a recipient of the Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award from the American Council on Education, the Professional Achievement Award from University of Chicago, a Grand Challenges Hero Award from UCLA, and the NAAAP 100 Award from the National Association of Asian American Professionals.

He earned his B.A. in biological sciences from the University of Chicago in 1984, and a Ph.D. in experimental medicine from McGill University in 1991.

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