At the conclusion of its latest Entrepreneur Boot Camp, Ann Arbor SPARK awarded vCases its $25,000 Best of Boot Camp prize and Meknology its $10,000 runner up prize. Third place winner MintyBrain won desk space at the SPARK Central Innovation Center for three months. The winners were selected by an esteemed panel of experts, based on the business’s investor pitch.
“Entrepreneur Boot Camp is one of Ann Arbor SPARK’s longest running programs for a reason,” said Bill Mayer, Ann Arbor SPARK vice president of entrepreneurial services. “Boot Camp helps startups avoid costly mistakes down the road by making sure they get very early stage coaching and mentoring from experts. The Boot Camp experience is extremely valuable assistance when a startup needs it the most, helping these young companies position themselves for additional support and funding they will need to further their long-term growth and success.”
Boot Camp is designed for entrepreneurs who are prepared to assess and validate the feasibility of their business concept, build a business model, and find beta customers. Participants get hands-on assistance to test ideas over an intense multi-week program, interacting with multiple mentors and early stage investors.
The grand prize winner, vCases, is an Ann Arbor-based medical education software company working to address the problem of diagnostic error. vCases’s technology addresses the disparity between the misdiagnosis of medical conditions and how diagnostic skills are taught to marry decades of clinical experience and a robust diagnostic library. Its platform allows robust self-directed exploration of virtual patients accompanied by detailed personalized feedback.
“Ann Arbor SPARK’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp experience helped our team harness the power of the free access vCases extended last March to any clinical program impacted by the pandemic. With more than half of our 50 nation-wide pilot sites now negotiating paid licenses for the coming academic year, our business strategy is sharpening quickly,” said Keleigh Anders, CEO, vCases. “Ann Arbor SPARK’s generous award will allow us to expand our core team, grow content, increase our outreach efforts, and explore potential partnerships and investment.”
Meknology is a ‘tech for good’ startup that is currently creating a hybrid renewable energy wastewater separation system. The company’s technology will reduce the cost of processing and disposal of this hazardous waste process in an environmentally friendly manner. Meknology is currently employing students and faculty from Lawrence Technological University to help develop its unique and sustainable product.
MintyBrain’s cross-platform educational gaming platform, Smartyville, makes math fun for kids ages kindergarten through grade two by turning ordinary math problems into an arcade of engaging 3D mini games. Smartyville is designed to be a companion to in-class materials, reinforcing fundamental math skills and providing a personalized learning experience for each student.
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.