Showcase Presenters

Blue Water Satellite

19 February 2015
Presenter: Milt Baker, CEO

Blue Water Satellite (BWS) uses satellite imaging and proprietary image processing to monitor the world's land and water resources.

Today, companies want high value information on land and water resources globally to increase sales (i.e., resource extraction) and cut costs (i.e., lower remediation costs). This information was previously unavailable at a reasonable cost. BWS is able to provide customers information on minerals, chemical, and biological constituents for a fraction of the cost of traditional ground sampling. In addition BWS technology provides much higher data density, faster cycle time, wider area of coverage, historical archives back to 1984 and early detection as competitive advantages over traditional methods. The Company holds exclusive licenses to six issued US patents with six more pending.

The company's focus is in four major verticals; Oil and Gas, Power Utilities, Agriculture, and Environmental Engineering companies. The company has acquired a number of customers including a super major oil and gas customer, a major pipeline operator, four of the world's largest power utilities, and five of the world's largest environmental engineering firms. BWS has recently been named a partner by Google for its Earth Engine and Maps Engine products.

The company has been selling for four years with 2014 sales having exceeded $1 M.

Testmonial: I received a number of compliments after my presentation on Thursday 2/19 to the NEF. I really appreciate the help the NEF team provided. The team really helped me to improve the content and look and feel of the presentation and helped give it the polish it needed for positive investor interest.
Update - Year 1:

After working with NEF, Blue Water Satellite successfully closed a $2M investment. 2015 revenue were 40% greater than the previous year and employment increased by 50% (with plans to double employment over the next two years). Much of this was made possible by their landing several new major clients.

Advanced Interactive Response Systems

20 November 2014
Presenter: Valerie Obenchain, CEO

Advanced Interactive Response Systems (AIRS) is focused on improving the lives of patients who rely on oxygen therapy while concomitantly reducing the costs and improving the reliability of the oxygen systems. This is accomplished by way of AIRS’ patent protected alarm systems that monitor pressure, flow and concentration; automatically switch to a backup supply when needed; and transmit system status information to remote care givers via a variety of communication modes.

AIRS products reduce the amount of time that facility personnel spend monitoring oxygen systems, which allows the already overworked staff to accomplish more tasks; and they further reduce costs by allowing oxygen tanks to be use more completely, thereby reducing the number of needed tank changes. AIRS products also provide peace of mind to oxygen users, and potentially reduce facility liability costs, since they can provide an immediate alarm in case of a system failure.

Testmonial: A year ago AIRS received coaching through the New Enterprise Forum. NEF set me up with an amazing coaching team that helped with AIRS' presentation. They gave me guidance on how to tell the story about why AIRS was started.
Update - Year 1:

Since completing the NEF coaching AIRS has won two business competitions. We also have investors and partners interested in AIRS. We are proud to say our first oxygen monitoring product and tubing will be available next year. AIRS has just received a large intent to purchase order from a global distributor.

Update - Year 2:

AIRS has successfully raised $340,000 which will be used to introduce the AIRS product to the marketplace Q1 next year.

Exo Dynamics

20 November 2014
Presenter: Mushir "Marshall" Khwaja

Chronic back pain is one of the most common ailments and reasons for missed work days in the United States. In the United States, 20% of the work force has back problems, and it is the second most common reason for visiting a doctor's office in spite of only 25% of those affected seeking medical care.

Exo Dynamics is an innovative medical device company bringing to market the next generation of spinal orthotics. We’re pulling together modern technology to solve an age old problem. We’re a differentiated, disruptive technology in a market that has seen very little change over the last century.

Our goal is to restore normal mobility to customers, allowing them to remain active, productive and independent. Our first product (ExMS) is an electromechanical back brace that allows for the reduction of:

  • Missed work days
  • Cost of back pain treatment
  • Symptoms of back pain and muscle fatigue

We aim to reinvent back care as you know it!

Update - Year 1:

Exo Dynamics is positioning themselves to launch with a more simplified version of their exoskeleton design. It will enable them to produce the device more efficiently than the first, fully-featured design. The simplified version will be used for ergonomic support in operating rooms. The more automated design will be launched in the future and is intended for therapeutic applications. They have applied for a SBIR grant and hope to hear positive results in the Jan - Feb 2016 time frame.


15 October 2014
Presenter: Daniel Riess, CEO

Simpathic creates software that automates clinical training. Our software analyzes and reproduces physician diagnostic expertise, allowing it to take on and augment certain roles of a doctor. Our first adaptation of this technology is to create a digitized teaching physician. Demands on physicians are on the rise, especially with the vast injection of insured patients into the American medical market. At the same time, physicians operating independently see 25% more patients than when they are training students. In our customer discovery we learned that this 25% represents a $4.3 billion loss every year to American medical schools. Simpathic is creating a digital physician that can offload the teaching burden from doctors and make students more efficient, reducing student-driven inefficiency from 25% to 15%, representing a value to American medical schools of $2.58 billion.


18 September 2014
Presenter: Omeid Seraifi-pour

MyFab5 has reinvented the restaurant review to create a crowdsourcing platform that is mobile friendly. On MyFab5 users "Rank" up to five of their favorite restaurants in any food or drink related categories (e.g. my top 3 places for burgers in Ann Arbor). When aggregated, MyFab5 rankings power our granular and contextual search results that show what makes each restaurant unique and reduce the need for consumers to sort through dozens of reviews that were not designed to be read on mobile devices. MyFab5 users can also create "Bucket Lists" of restaurants they discover on our platform and want to try some day (e.g. Date Night Places to Try).

MyFab5 is a business friendly crowdsourcing platform because our users only talk about their favorite places; restaurants do not have to deal with fake negative reviews written by competitors and ex-employees. Furthermore, our business model does not force restaurants to buy ads that don't help increase revenue from existing customers or acquire new customers that are actually profitable. Instead, MyFab5 helps restaurants increase the lifetime value of their existing customers and also acquire new customers that match the profile of their most profitable customers.

Update - Year 1:
  • Funding
    • Raised $225k on a convertible note
    • Received $100k loan from the Innovation Fund through a interest-free and risk-free loan
  • Team
    • Added one FTE that is doing our Android development and soon will start doing some web development well
    • Our next hire will most likely be on the marketing/sales side
  • Product
    • We published a major app update on June 23rd, which includes a complete redesign of the app and performance improvements
    • On July 15th we're releasing our app in most international markets so people that live in Europe, Southeast Asia and other areas can download and use the app
  • Traction
    • Our audience continues to grow, and, across all channels, we have a monthly audience of over 300,000 people
    • We have also taken some steps to validate our business model. In a trial-run, we got 22 restaurants to sign up for a SaaS service that costs $49 a month. It took us less than a day to contact the restaurants and get them to sign up. The only thing is that we didn't require a credit card so we do expect a drop-off. However, our conversion rate was 6x higher than expected, so there is room for drop-off.


24 July 2014
Presenter: Mark Kiel, CEO

GENOMENON is enabling personalized medicine by improving genome sequence interpretation.  We are developing software that automatically identifies meaningful information from complex genetic datasets in both research and clinical settings and presents that information in an intuitive and efficient interface virtually eliminating the expensive and error-prone manual data review process.  The end result is faster discoveries, fewer missed diagnoses and overall improved patient outcomes in oncology and beyond.

Our recent recognition and awards include Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize (First Place) 2014, Spartan Innovations GreenLight (Best Overall Pitch) 2014, MiQuest (First Place - New Business Idea) 2014, Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (grant awardee) 2014 and Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (company presenter) 2014.

Mark J. Kiel MD/PhD completed his medical residency in Clinical Pathology in 2014 at the University of Michigan where he is currently a fellow in Molecular Diagnostics. He has extensive experience in genome sequence data analysis with first-hand knowledge of the clinical use of these data and has served in an advisory position to a number of research investigators and clinical diagnosticians.  

Update - Year 1:

GENOMENON is happy to announce that we have added Steve Schwartz as CTO and Nathan Patel as Software Engineer to our growing team.  Steve has over a decade of software-as-a-service start-up experience, and his last venture, CarCodeSMS, was acquired by in 2014.  Nathan is a brilliant coder and creative thinker with a strong biomedical background who has make outstanding progress on our first-to-market product, MASTERMIND.

GENOMENON is actively raising its first round of funding to accelerate its path to profitability.

Update - Year 2:

Founded less than two years ago, Genomenon's reputation is growing.  Recently, it won the $100,000 prize in the annual Accelerate Michigan competition for innovative startups.  It has launched its first software product to initial customers, garnering its first modest revenue.  The firm expects to have more software products ready next year.

19 June 2014
Presenter: Travis Johnson

Foodjunky is a fast moving, high-spirited startup that makes hungry people happy. Our business is to deliver happiness to our customers and vendors.foodjunky is a B2B SaaS company that makes ordering food painless while making everyone happy. Launched at BIC’s (Built in Chicago’s) launch party we were introduced to Bizdom. After a few months of discussions it was decided to move our operation to Detroit! With Bizdom’s help we have rebranded our site signed up restaurants in five cities and now process orders daily for companies such as Quicken Loans, tumblr, CBRE amongst many others.

Testmonial: The coaches at NEF have a wealth of experience and knowledge that have been insurmountable in both refining our pitch and opening doors to the investor community.
Update - Year 1:

Operating in only 2 states and a few cities a year ago, Foodjunky is now in 20 states and over 90 cities.  They have closed their seed round, have grown to 9 people, and are planning a Series A round.  Foodjunky will be promoting their business at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago in May.

Update - Year 2: is currently the fastest growing online food ordering platform in the country. We are adding over 1k restaurants a month!  We have grown from 500 to 7,000 restaurants.  We have over 7,000 users.  Our team has grown to 11.  We have raised $1 Million to date and are raising a $3 Million Series A.

DataSpeaks Health Solutions, Inc.

15 May 2014
Presenter: Dennis Nash, CEO

DataSpeaks Health Solutions will help biopharma customers advance personalized medicine and improve pharmaceutical industry productivity. DataSpeaks offers a validated and vetted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product that assesses complex drug treatment on a patient-by-patient basis each patient. The algorithm underlying the product is protected by two issued patents. DataSpeaks' solution addresses the scientific root cause of the dramatic decrease in pharmaceutical industry productivity from 1950 through the present that has occurred despite major advances in science/technology and changes in regulatory burden. By using its SaaS product, DataSpeaks will make better health more affordable by improving biopharma's return on new product development.

Importantly, the same root cause which caused the decrease in industry productivity also impacts the drive for personalized medicine. DataSpeaks estimates that 25% of the annual $17B biomarker market will directed at personalized biomarkers, thus solutions are needed to improve the efficacy of this spend. DataSpeaks is raising a seed investment, to be co-invested with its first biopharma paying customer, to optimize analytic outputs and onboard full time team.

Update - Year 1:

DataSpeaks, Inc. is in discussions to further develop and then license its software intellectual property to a major research and development firm serving government and industry. In addition, DataSpeaks is pursuing opportunities with several out of state life sciences and health care firms.

Update - Year 2:

The most substantive progress is that DataSpeaks has out-licensed their Science of Individuality Measurement Algorithm (SIMA) to SRI International in Silicon Valley: This license is now non-exclusive. 


17 April 2014
Presenter: Lihang Nong, CEO

picoSpray is bringing to market a technology that will allow the 70M units / year small engine industry to meet future emission standards at the lowest cost while also improving user experience. The technology is a novel electronic fuel injection system that improves engine efficiency, performance, reliability, and drastically reduce emissions. The patent-pending technology enables automotive-level performance and reliability at the lowest cost in the market.

The company is currently working with engine OEMs in the US and internationally and is seeking $1.5M to complete development which will lead to sales.

Update - Year 1:

During the past year, picoSpray has: 1) Raised a $1.1M series A round; 2) Continued testing and commercialization with customers, and; 3) Will use funding to expand their team to six people in new facilities on the west side of Ann Arbor.

Update - Year 2:

Picospray's system has passed customer durability testing and is currently being tooled for production.  We have also demonstrated our technology to new potential customers in the motorcycle and scooter segment and working on a licensing agreement with an overseas partner.

A2B Bikeshare

17 April 2014
Presenter: Ansgar Strother

A2B Bikeshare is a transportation startup that is passionate about developing communities to be connected, healthy, and green. In order to achieve this mission, our team has developed and launched effective technology to enable automated bicycle rental, also known as bikesharing. Our rental system provides convenient mid-range transportation to both local community members and visitors. This is accomplished through our integrated hardware and software systems that seamlessly connects people to transportation.

Update - Year 1:

Since A2B Bikeshare's presentation at NEF, the company closed a $250,000 seed round in the fall of 2014 with the First Step Fund, Start Garden, Mission Throttle, and Invest Michigan. This funding is being used to transition the company over to a smart lock that is controlled through a user's smartphone. This transition drastically lowers product cost and increases durability, allowing for our entry into the corporate market. Sales of this product will start in April through our partnership with Republic. Republic is the leading bike supplier in the corporate space, supplying companies such as Google with great bikes.

Update - Year 2:

Since our last update, A2B Bikeshare has deployed several systems through our partnership with Republic. Based upon these experiences, we continue to refine our product and are getting ready for a big spring.  Moving forward, we are excited to begin scaling and to be expanding into new channels.