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Three Ann Arbor SPARK Clients Selected for SXSW Pitch

January 14, 2019 Press Releases
SCSW Pitch 2019 logo

SXSW Pitch 2019Derq, MySideKick, and Pathware were selected as finalists in the eleventh annual SXSW Pitch® (formerly SXSW Accelerator) taking place on Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10 in Austin. The pitch competition will feature 50 interactive technology companies competing in 10 different categories in front of a live audience and a panel of expert judges.

“Having three Michigan companies participating in such a prestigious event really speaks to the quality of our region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Bill Mayer, vice president of entrepreneurial services. “For all three to have a presence in Ann Arbor and be SPARK clients is further evidence that this quintessential college town is generating startups on par with other premier tech hubs in the world.”

More than 800 companies applied to present at SXSW Pitch 2019, the marquee event of South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference & Festivals Entrepreneurship & Startup track, where leading startups from around the world showcase some of the most impressive technological innovations.

Derq logoDerq will compete in the Artificial Intelligence category. An MIT spin-off and Techstars Mobility alum, the company develops software that helps eliminate crashes and save lives by using patented and award-winning AI. After graduating from Techstars, Derq received SPARK Business Accelerator grants and participated in the Entrepreneur in Residence program. “Since coming to Michigan, Derq has really benefited from improved access to customers, talent, and partners here in the state,” said Will Foss, Derq’s director of business development and partnerships. “One thing that really stands out about SPARK and Michigan is the focus on building a mobility ecosystem and connecting the major participants across the state.”Screen shots from the MySidekick app

MySideKick is the first product from Every Two Minutes, Inc. and will compete in the Social and Culture category. The founders of MySideKick developed a completely web-based application that addresses all the issues of sexual violence, with a mobile interface to help better engage college students. Every Two Minutes participated in the spring 2018 cohort of Ann Arbor SPARK’s Entrepreneurial Boot Camp — a multi-week program pairing early-stage companies with seasoned entrepreneurs, angel investors, and business executives.

Pathware will compete in the Health and Wearable category. Its whole slide imaging and cloud-based management system, Bioptic, simplifies digital pathology workflows by rapidly Pathware logoverifying if a viable biopsy was collected with over 96 percent certainty. Pathware has received SPARK Business Accelerator grants to help with intellectual property management and the patent registration process.

For more information about SXSW Pitch and to view the complete list of finalists, visit:

Ann Arbor SPARK will return to SXSW in 2019, renewing its partnership with Michigan House. More details regarding this year’s Michigan House program will be available soon.

About SXSW

SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2019 will take place March 8-17.

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