On Friday, Aug. 2, the Detroit Technology Exchange (DTX) and Challenge Detroit hosted a joint event at NextEnergy. Close to 100 attendees watched as the eight start-up teams from Launch Detroit’s first-ever summer boot camp presented their start-up ideas and as the first class of Challenge Detroit fellows presented its recommendations to improve Southeastern Michigan’s technology-based entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This summer, Launch Detroit, a program of DTX, consisted of eight teams made up of college students and recent grads aspiring to launch technology-based startups. Throughout the boot camp, each team worked through ideation, acquisition of resources, customer validation and the development of a funding strategy in order to develop its technology-based business idea.
Before each team presented its start-up idea, Adrian Fortino, vice president of Invest Detroit, moderated a panel with a team member from SIB Medical Technologies LLC, COR and myfab5. These participants discussed some of the lessons learned during the 10-week program and spoke about their respective experiences.
Then, each team had three minutes to present its startup to the audience, followed by three minutes of Q&A with a panel of experts. The teams were:
Four of the start-up teams and one participant were selected to receive an award based on their work in the program. SOUP Spoon received the “On Your Mark” award for having the clearest understanding of its value proposition, SIB Medical Technologies LLC received the “Get Set” award for excelling in the customer discovery process, myfab5 received the “Go” award for being closest to launching its business, and College Tour LLC received the “Coaches’ Pick” award for having made the most progress during the program. The MVP award was given to Omeid Seirafi-Pour, co-founder and CEO of myfab5, for being the Launch Detroit participant whose positive contributions helped make the program a success.
For their final challenge of the fellowship, the Challenge Detroit fellows worked with TechTown to help metro Detroit’s technology-based entrepreneurial ecosystem better understand the needs of its current and potential tech-based start-up clients, and ultimately improve its programming. The fellows broke into four teams, each focusing on a different industry: health care, advanced manufacturing/engineering, information technology and clean technology/alternative energy. The teams then researched their respective industry sectors, crafted personas of entrepreneurs based on their findings and then designed ideal entrepreneurial ecosystems to support these personas.
As TechTown and its partners continue to develop and refine programming in support of tech entrepreneurs, they will look to the ecosystems designed by the fellows for inspiration and guidance.
DTX is a partnership between TechTown, Bizdom, Invest Detroit and the Detroit Creative Corridor Center. It is funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s Michigan Strategic Fund.