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Ann Arbor Spark

Industries

Ann Arbor, Michigan is home to a top-ranked public university and a broad range of advanced industries and markets. This diversity fosters a resilient region with a rich talent pool. Ann Arbor SPARK, the regional economic development organization, works with private, public, nonprofit, and academic organizations to retain and attract companies, as well as nurture startups. 

The University of Michigan (U-M) ranks among the world’s top universities and its graduate and professional programs are consistently listed among the nation’s top ten. As with many college towns, the university is the region’s largest employer.

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A graphical representation of Ann Arbor's major tech markets and some of the companies located here.

Key Regional Industries and Markets

ADVANCED AUTOMOTIVE AND MOBILITY

Noteworthy is the region’s reputation as a vibrant hub and living lab for automotive and mobility innovation. Companies ranging in size from OEMs, such as the Toyota Motor North America R&D Headquarters, to state-of-the-art startups like May Mobility, call the Ann Arbor region home. Learn more about the area’s automotive and mobility impact

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Some might contend that artificial intelligence and machine learning are the 21st century’s fastest and strongest growing markets. This is likely due to the vast influence AI innovation will have on almost every industry. One closely watched implementation is in connected and autonomous vehicles. However, many data security companies are also adopting AI and machine learning to improve their products and services. 

Because AI has so many uses, there is a wide range of companies in the Ann Arbor region dedicated to its evolution. One example is Clinc, a University of Michigan spin-out which focuses its efforts on conversational AI. Meanwhile, Saganworks applies AI in its three-dimensional immersive experiences. Learn more about the area’s AI innovation.

BIOTECHNOLOGY & LIFE SCIENCES

While Ann Arbor’s life sciences sector has seen rapid growth over the past decade, the region has always excelled in the biotech industry. For example, the heart-lung machine used in the first heart transplant was developed and manufactured here. 

Another industry with strong ties to the research done at the university healthcare system Michigan Medicine, the region has a particularly large presence of medical device companies. Companies such as Terumo Cardiovascular Group demonstrate a significant level of expertise in the field. In addition to medical devices, the region is also home to a vast array of pharmaceutical, digital health, and biotechnology companies. Learn more about Ann Arbor’s biotech and life sciences sector.

CLEAN & RENEWABLE ENERGY

With the nickname Tree Town, it’s no surprise that a cluster of clean and renewable energy companies are choosing to build in Ann Arbor and the surrounding communities. From alternative energies to carbon emission reduction and natural resource conservation, innovations mitigating climate change are flourishing here.

The City of Ann Arbor is also leading an initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. Learn more about the clean and renewable energy efforts and innovations happening in the Ann Arbor region.

DATA & CYBERSECURITY

Ann Arbor has quickly emerged as an epicenter for data security innovation. This distinction was cemented with the success of Duo Security, which was acquired by Cisco in 2018. As a result, numerous startups focusing on different security markets have sprouted in the area. Two such startups, Censys and Blumeria, both have hired Duo alumni contributing to the companies’ growth. Other industry leaders like NETSCOUT and Barracuda have a long and significant presence within the region. Learn more about Ann Arbor’s innovative data and cybersecurity leadership.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Information technology (IT) has evolved significantly since the early days of computing. Now, it’s ubiquitous across industries and a daily component of modern life. The Ann Arbor region is home to early stage and enterprise companies that connect and inform our lives. Whether it’s through academic database portals like those from ProQuest or the Ann Arbor-based startup InfoReady, these platforms are often the key deliverable that defines a business. Discover more about the region’s visionary IT sector.

SOFTWARE & SOFTWARE AS A SOLUTION

Software is the backbone of technology and countless companies in the region are building in-demand, innovative products. Thomson Reuters, DaySmart Software, DocNetwork are just a few of the companies growing in Ann Arbor.

Nurturing the growth of tech companies in the region is a niche of software development and consulting companies supporting innovation efforts. Incubators of great talent, service, and results — shops like Atomic Object, Accenture Industry X.0 (at the Forge), and Nexient bring to life state-of-the-art developments in their clients’ products. 

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

With expenditures greater than $1.5 billion, research is at the heart of the University of Michigan. This focus significantly influences additional R&D efforts in the region. Frequently, companies grow within the university and then spin out to find a permanent home and much success in Ann Arbor. SkySpecs is just one example of the supportive relationship between the university, SPARK, and the downtown tech community.

Ann Arbor also attracts a high caliber of companies such as KLA Corporation which initially selected the area as the location for its new R&D center. In less than a year, KLA announced it was elevating its plans to establish a second North American headquarters here. Explore Ann Arbor’s ground-breaking R&D sector.