At the conclusion of its latest Entrepreneur Boot Camp, Ann Arbor SPARK awarded Throdle its $25,000 Best of Boot Camp prize and ProjectSynergy, Inc. its $10,000 runner-up prize. The winners were selected by an esteemed panel of experts, based on the business’s investor pitch.
“This was a stand-out year for entrepreneurial activity in the Ann Arbor region in terms of volume and quality. Entrepreneur Boot Camp was oversubscribed again this cohort, and the participating companies were outstanding,” said Bill Mayer, Ann Arbor SPARK vice president of entrepreneurial services. “It is part of our mission to help early stage companies get the kind of expert guidance they receive through Boot Camp because it will have a positive impact on their future success. Knowing that they are choosing Ann Arbor to plant those seeds of growth, and that they will attract investment and create jobs here as they grow, is exciting.”
Throdle is a dedicated social network connecting the automotive culture through cars, clubs, and experiences. Its app and web-based platform allow members to show off their cars, skills, favorite moments, and awards won. Members can connect with clubs and events that match their interests, in locations they want, that they can easily share with their friends. For event organizers, Throdle offers a single, easy to use platform that helps automate event management tasks, promotes their events to a wider audience, and offers sponsors more measurable spots to be seen.
“Through Entrepreneur Boot Camp, not only did I learn from my colleagues — 11 other like-minded startups all in different growth stages — but each week we heard from industry experts who taught us different lean startup principles as it related to their own entrepreneurial successes,” said Nadine Lee, Throdle CEO. “As a result of spending eight weeks validating my business opportunity and completing the customer discovery process, my value proposition and investor pitch were greatly refined. One of the biggest benefits of the program was being introduced to critical connections within the Michigan angel and venture capital communities to ensure we have a pathway to success. My only regret is that I did not enroll in the Boot Camp program sooner as I would have saved a lot of time and financial resources knowing how to better pivot and adjust my messaging.”
ProjectSynergy’s cloud-based pre-production management platform brings order, visibility, and traceability to prototype build events, setting customers up for a successful product launch. Its clients, including Faurecia and Huf Group, benefit from clear customer requirements and parts tracking, resulting in a 60 percent increase in productivity and a reduction of data errors by over 90 percent.
“Ann Arbor SPARK’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp has been a great experience for us,” said Osman Korkmaz, co-founder of ProjectSynergy, Inc. “The coaches, guest speakers, and mentors provided us with valuable knowledge and insights, which we will use to take ProjectSynergy to new heights.”
For more information about Ann Arbor SPARK’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp, submit your new business idea online.
About Ann Arbor SPARK
Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from startups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit www.AnnArborUSA.org.