This is the third of a three-part series highlighting the winners of the 2020 Invest360 competition. The competition is part of SPARK’s a2Tech360, a week of events celebrating Ann Arbor’s spirit of innovation through experiences, conversations, and connections that strengthen and expand the region’s vibrant ecosystem. Read parts one and two to learn more.
Mobility remains an integral part of the regional landscape, making southeast Michigan a prime destination for OEMs and advanced automotive development. Understanding Ann Arbor’s rich history in mobility innovation, it’s no surprise that the mobility division of the inaugural Invest360 competition was uniquely competitive.
Invest360 showcases Ann Arbor’s regional strengths in information technology, mobility, and healthcare and provides a curated group of companies valuable exposure to investors. During the annual competition which was part of a2Tech360’s 2020 series of events, companies pitched their businesses to a panel to seed-stage investors whose funding ultimately nurtures the Ann Arbor region’s robust entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Of the five competing startups, the judges were most impressed with IndustryStar Solutions and its intelligent supply performance software that streamlines processes for companies. Its keystone product, the Supply Performance System, addresses an industry pain point by digitizing product lifecycle management (PLM) data. “The judges felt that IndustryStar has a strong grasp of the market and are using agile frameworks augmented with impact from its customers to strengthen supply chain management tools”, said Komal Doshi, Ann Arbor SPARK’s director of mobility programs. As the Invest360: Mobility finalist, IndustryStar won $50k in funding and an opportunity to pitch a second time during the Invest360: People’s Choice Finale.
Beyond the monetary prize, IndustryStar Solutions CEO, William Crane, describes the added value of winning the top prize in the mobility session. “Through the competition, we developed relationships with new target customers and potential investors that connected us to material business outcomes. This ultimately helped our growth trajectory as a startup. Facilitating relationships that blossom into business and creating mutual value is something that was so well done at Invest360 and stood out to me throughout the competition.”
Currently, IndustryStar Solutions is focused on its supply chain collaborative productivity tool which remains the business’s primary source of revenue. Feedback from the winning pitch helped the company perfect its business model. It also helped the company focus on industry messaging in areas of strength like complex product assembly. “We have a number of software deployments in the mobility space right now. We’re focusing on our fast tool and partnering with leaders in the supply chain space to help them automate low-level tasks.”
In addition to generating business, the company truly sees its product shaping the local mobility sphere and making a long-term impact. “At the core, our mission is helping organizations solve complex global supply chain challenges. Doing that in a way that also promotes sustainability, exponentially moves the needle for customers, and can accelerate jobs and partnerships around STEM is important to us. We want to do our small part so companies can focus on driving better business outcomes for their organizations and ultimately elevate the broader profession for all stakeholders”, said CEO William Crane.
IndustryStar Solutions has been a client of Ann Arbor SPARK since 2014. The company utilized incubator space at SPARK Central Innovation Center (SCIC) until it relocated to its current facility based in Pittsfield Township. The company has participated in the yearly Digital Summer Clinic since 2015 by employing interns that support company growth and product development.
This year’s a2Tech360 will be hosted from October 1 – 8 with both virtual and in-person events. Visit the website for event details along with news updates.