ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Desai Accelerator, a joint venture between the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and the College of Engineering, today announced the companies selected to participate in its 2016 cohort. More than 80 technology-based startups submitted applications and the most promising six were chosen to move into the Accelerator and take advantage of its services. Of the selected companies, 83 percent are Michigan-based, 33 percent have female founding members and 66 percent have a connection to the University of Michigan.
In its second year, the Desai Accelerator, managed by the Ross School's Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and the College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship, is dedicated to helping Michigan startups succeed. It was specifically founded to help ventures as they reach the critical phase between early-stage development and the point at which they seek external investors. Last year's inaugural cohort included Michigan-based companies DiverseNote, Telemetrio and Companion. Since graduating from the Desai Accelerator, Companion, a person-to-person safety application and winner of the 2015 Michigan Business Challenge, has grown its user base to more than one million.
The 2016 accelerator program will run from May 2-August 19 with an August 4 demo day, and includes a $25,000 investment for each selected company, office space in downtown Ann Arbor, access to resources valued at more than $500,000, including legal services, cloud credits, HR services and extensive mentorship from the ever expanding University of Michigan alumni network. This year, the cohort will also receive assistance from seven University of Michigan students who will complete tasks for each of the companies including logo design, front-end development, market research and various administrative duties.
Since its launch in 2015, funding and support for the Accelerator has been provided by the Desai Sethi (DS) Family Foundation, the Davidson Foundation, the Wadhams family and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
The selected companies include:
- Ash & Anvil – affordable, stylish, everyday clothing provider for "shorter guys"; co-founded and led by Venture for America Fellow Steven Mazur and Eric Huang
- Clash Audio – a neuroscience-based streaming service that uses human curation, neuroscience research and popular music theory to analyze new music and distill millions of songs into a small, optimized database
- Gaudium – creator of anime-style mobile games; runner-up of 2016 Michigan Business Challenge
- MySwimPro – social fitness platform for swimmers and triathletes; advised by Peter Vanderkaay, University of Michigan graduate and four-time Olympic swimming medalist
- Roomations – online platform and subscription service that provides homeowners easy access to interior design services online, including 3D room designs, shopping lists, style boards and personal design advice, by crowdsourcing freelancer designers
- Sultant – a cloud-based SaaS platform that acts as a digital financial "advisor" for small businesses by providing quick and meaningful insights, actionable recommendations and intuitive visualizations
"The companies that participated in last year's inaugural cohort have achieved such great success that we were inundated with high caliber applications to join the 2016 class," said Kelly LaPierre, managing director, Desai Accelerator. "We are looking forward to working with this fantastic group of companies and are thrilled to be able to not only support startups founded by University of Michigan alumni, but also attract national talent to Michigan."
The selected startups will be working out of The Forge by Pillar Technology - a collaborative software studio designed to develop the most innovative software products and provide a "no constraints" high-energy environment. Pillar Technology is a multi-faceted technology company solving complex business problems with innovative software and engineering methods.
About the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
The Institute and its Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance bring together an impactful combination of deep-seated knowledge, enriching experiences and strategic opportunities from the front lines of entrepreneurship and alternative investment. Students' learning experiences are further enhanced through internships, entrepreneurial clubs, business competitions and campus-wide events that foster valuable networking and engage the business community. The School's four student-led investment funds, with over $7M under management, immerse students in the entrepreneurial business sourcing, assessment and investment process. Founding Zell Lurie advisory board members include Samuel Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments, and Eugene Applebaum, founder of Arbor Drugs Inc. For more information, visit the Institute's website at www.zli.bus.umich.edu.
About the Center for Entrepreneurship
The Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE), part of the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan, provides academic programs, commercialization training and broad support resources for students, faculty and community members. Among its many initiatives, CFE co-developed and co-teaches the undergraduate Program in Entrepreneurship, the Master of Entrepreneurship and the National Science Foundation I-Corps program for faculty research commercialization. CFE co-manages the TechArb student startup incubator and provides overall support to Michigan's economic development efforts. Its teaching philosophy focuses on experiential learning with an emphasis on the development of an entrepreneurial mindset, with resources such as structured venture incubation programs, global access to both internal and external advisors, mentorship, talent and funding. CFE's mission is to ensure support for entrepreneurs from discovery through venture creation, and to enhance and expand an appreciation for entrepreneurial thinking for its students. For more information, please visit www.cfe.umich.edu/.
About Michigan Ross
The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is a vibrant and distinctive learning community grounded in the principle that business can be an extraordinary vehicle for positive change in today's dynamic global economy. The Ross mission is to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. Through thought and action, members of the Ross community drive change and innovation that improves business and society.
Ross is consistently ranked among the world's leading business schools. Academic degree programs include the BBA, MBA, Part-time MBA (Evening and Weekend formats), Executive MBA, Global MBA, Master of Accounting, Master of Supply Chain Management, Master of Management, and PhD. In addition, the school delivers open-enrollment and custom executive education programs targeting general management, leadership development, and strategic human resource management.
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SOURCE The Zell Lurie Institute