This past month Ann Arbor SPARK put on it’s 20th Entrepreneurial Boot Camp. We had 14 participants, many of which came from all over the state. With companies from Detroit to the U.P., this program reached greatly outside of Ann Arbor.
The camp is a 2-day intensive program involving presentations from guest speakers, multiple pitching practice sessions and mentoring one-on-one meetings. Three weeks following the Boot Camp, the companies meet up again for Boot Camp Celebration, which gives each company the opportunity to pitch in front of three VC/investor judges. The judges declare one of the companies “Best of Boot Camp”. The winner of the “Best of Boot Camp” award receives Business Accelerator services from Ann Arbor SPARK to continue along with their company goals.This year, the “Best of Boot Camp” award went to STEL Technologies, a University of Michigan spin out that is developing engineered tissue for replacement of torn knee ligaments in dogs. Unlike current methods that alter knee function and have long recovery times, STEL Technologies’ tissue grafts enable dogs to grow new ligaments, walk shortly after surgery and maximize long-term pet health and mobility.
The “Best Pitch” award went to Warmilu, LLC. Warmilu has developed and is commercializing nonelectric, instant heat technology, specifically for infants. The company’s innovation has the ability to save lives in disadvantaged, austere locations where infant mortality due to exposure is high; 450 infants die every hour worldwide, and up to two-thirds of those infants will die from lack of consistent heat.
Since it’s creation in 2002, Entrepreneur Boot Camp has helped over 240 companies. This year, WXYZ Channel 7 News brought their camera crew out to capture this unique program. They highlighted two start-up companies who have created innovative technologies. The full clip can be found at this link: WXYZ Features SPARK Entrepreneur Boot Camp
Ann Arbor SPARK puts on a Boot Camp every fall and spring. Dates for the next Boot Camp are not set yet but expected to be sometime in September/October. More information is available at this link.