Entrepreneurs in Michigan have access to a wealth of resources to help them with their startups. NEF mentors and coaches share wealth of knowledge with the entrepreneurial community on our website at We have recently updated the following in the resources section of the website.

  1. 10-Minute Investor Pitch
  2. Investor Pitch – Questions to Answer
  3. Entrepreneur's Bookshelf

Feel free to share these resources to help Michigan startups.

GAMIC – Shortening the path to commercialization in the auto / mobility industry

The 11th Annual Global Automotive and Mobility Innovation Challenge (GAMIC) is now open to innovators and their companies.   The entrants compete for over $350,000 in total prizes. But GAMIC's prizes are different. You can burn through cash quickly. GAMIC offers In-Kind, Professional services and contacts for the North American mobility space.

Commercialization time for start-ups in the automotive mobility space can take 2 to 3 times that of the start-ups in the Innovation / Consumer Electronics space.  We offer speed to market, putting winners in front of decision makers in large organizations who have a need for the types of products offered by our winners and a budget to explore those. Judged by automotive executives from OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers as well as seasoned contributors from the entrepreneurial community, GAMIC is a unique competition.

The GAMIC organizing committee is made up of auto industry executives with close ties to decision makers at all major OEMs and many Tier 1 suppliers as well as experienced entrepreneurs.  Building on such a rich network, GAMIC offers over $300,000 in auto industry professional guidance – from business development to IP support to PR, as well as assistance with key high-level industry connections.  These benefits are the invaluable key to accelerated commercialization by opening doors that the cash prizes by many other competitions simply cannot.

A number of GAMIC alumni are already in production as 2nd tier suppliers; others have licensed their technology to major Tier 1 suppliers, received development contracts from industrial partners, and/or received government funding for further product development.  All semi-finalists receive exposure to multiple Midwest-US and Canadian angel groups.

GAMIC is pleased to announce that it is open for applications for its 11th annual competition. 

Who should apply?  Companies that fit the following criteria:

  • Innovation space: Automotive and/or mobility applications
  • Innovation type: physical (mechanical, chemical, electrical), and/or digital product/systems, testing, manufacturing or other enabling innovations
  • : Less than $500,000 in funding or revenue to date
  • State of innovation advancement: Developed a proof-of-concept and/or a working model
  • State of business planning: Developed an initial business plan covering the technology and a go-to-market plan
  • : Willing to present in-person or via video conference at quarter-finals  in Northern California; Southeast Michigan; or Ontario, Canada

You can find more information on the applicable technology sectors for GAMIC and application instructions at our website at .  Applications due date is 15 October 2018.  Apply at .

"DTX Launch Detroit is an intensive 10-week summer accelerator for college students and recent graduates aspiring to launch a technology startup." There were 11 teams with great ideas to change our world. The winners were: "GM Go Award" $10,000 went to Peerstachio helping students' grades by connecting underclassmen with trusted upperclassmen, getting them the academic help they need in a responsive way. "Get Set Award" $3,000 went to Moon Printers providing a novel 3D printing technology which allows 3D printing services to print more parts in less time, making them more profitable. "On Your Mark Award" $2000 went to Blue Jay Music delivering quality online music education, enabling students to learn at their own pace from world class instructors and U-Innovate LLC improving student scholastic performance by allowing them to ask questions during class without impeding the flow of the lecture. MVP - voted by her peers $500 went to Scarlett Ong Rui Chern - UMich. Career Experience Internships $2000 went to Christian Guillen of UMich, Meyer Gershater of WSU and Shanley Carlton of Arizona State U. The NEF coaches that helped the teams with their final presentations were: Vic Havele, Randy Kuckuck, Bill McPherson, Roger Morey, Anne Perigo, and Scott Taylor. To learn more about DTX Launch, visit them at

Roger Morey is the newest NEF Board member. Please join us in welcoming him. Roger is founder and CEO of Molecular Associates providing consulting services for biotech and business startups. He is currently Vice Chair and New Enterprise Forum coach helping entrepreneurs develop investable business presentations. Roger has most recently mentored at the Detroit Fintech Challenge and DTX Launch Detroit. He also volunteers at the Ann Arbor Arts Fair, and the Washtenaw County Science Olympiad.

He has over 20 years experience in laboratory management and molecular biology. He holds a clinical ASCP certification in molecular biology, and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

The July NEF Pitch Pit was both interesting and entertaining. Three teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges who had to make the difficult decision on which one would collect the $275 prize. Sergio Rodriguez, from ToDoolie, was declared the winner. ToDoolie provides an online platform for high school and college students to find work in their neighborhood. Also participating were: Adrian Lorenzi of TOTAGO providing a transportation-focused web and mobile app for outdoor recreation; and Efay Guo of SeeU providing an on-demand mobile app that allows users to join or create any activities in less than 20 seconds, meet people, and make friends within one hour. 

In a Detroit Crain's article on July 22, 2018, 12:18 AM, Tom Henderson reported that Jennifer Baird has a new venture in Fifth Eye Inc., which is a spinoff from the University of Michigan. Many remember Jennifer from the sale of Accuri Cytometers to Becton, Dickinson & Co. for $205 million back in 2011. In 2005, she presented at a NEF forum meeting. "Fifth Eye is developing software to warn medical professionals that certain patients who seem to be doing well after an operation are actually, based on almost imperceptible changes in their vital signs, at risk for serious deterioration in their conditions." Read More 

In a Detroit Crain's article on July 16, 2018, at 7:00 AM, Tyler Clifford reported that the Accelerate Michigan competition is changing things up a bit by adding one-on-one meetings between investors and entrepreneurs. Patti Glaza, Invest Detroit Ventures Senior VP and Managing Director, said, "We're trying to drive investors, mentors, accelerator programs, business services and talent that can really develop the companies. It's to create a support infrastructure and relationships that can help them be successful." In their 9th season entrepreneurs will be pitching to win $1 million in cash and prizes. Read More 

In a Detroit Crain's article on July 8, 2018 12:18 AM, Sherri Welch reported that a "$20 million impact investment fund was launched in March to make early stage investments in high-growth, women-owned businesses. Just a few moths in, Belle Michigan Impact Fund has raised $5 million from 41 women investors and made its first two investments." One of those investments was in Alchemie who presented at NEF in May of 2016. Read More

In a Detroit Crain's article on June 23, 2018 8:13 am, Crain's reported that of the 15 finalists in three categories, seven companies were the lucky winners of thousands of dollars to help grow their businesses. There were about 1,500 people in attendance at the Music Hall event which was also part of the Techstars Startup Week Detroit. To see the list of winners and more about the program, Read More.

The June panel topic of Building Your Team -- Filling the Void generated a lot of interest with the audience. There were so many tips about what to do and what not to do that only a few of them are written here for you to apply to your business. 

How do we acquire, identify, and keep talent? Use your extended network and organizations such as SPARK. Create a team with those you already know and trust like college classmates and friends. Ask a prospect to sign a release where former employers are allowed to share additional past performance information than what the current law permits. If the prospect objects, there may be a significant reason where you want to avoid hiring them. Define the culture for your firm and interview to find those who will be a good fit. Frequently model your company's core principles so employees know them by heart. 

We have some money, now what? Decide if an employee or contractor is the best fit. Fill the skill gap by delegating more responsibilities away from the founders to the employees who are most skilled in fulfilling those responsibilities. Have a backup plan of who can fill certain positions if a vacancy occurs. Hire slowly, if given a choice. Treat your employees like partners and they will go the distance for you. 

We are running out of money, now what? Have a basis of termination in writing so that expectations are set from the beginning. When a downturn in business requires layoffs, people are not left in the dark and law suits will be minimized. Employees need to be informed how risky startups can be when they hire in. Keep them informed about order backlogs, or times when there are gaps in orders to inform and motivate them. Make sure your employee documentation is up to date with policies and procedures, not to disclose IP clauses, non compete clauses, salary schedules, etc. 

Best overall tips: Find something unique about your company or yourself that attracts talented people. Be innovative in places where you hire hire, like organizations and even use grant monies where possible. Be passionate, candid and keep the big picture in mind. Find builders and give them a place to build.