HLX Engines provides single-cylinder internal combustion engines. Evan Collins, CEO, explained that, "Piston engines were developed over 120 years ago, and the piston engine design hasn't changed much since the days of Henry Ford. The HLX Engines Arc™ is a completely new type of piston engine technology to transfer reciprocating motion into rotary motion. The engine is significantly more efficient than comparably powered gasoline engines, and it is up to three times smaller and lighter." Their beachhead market is the military where portable generators can weigh up to 300 lbs. A comparable Arc Engine weighs approximately 50 lbs and can deliver the same power output. The Arc Engine also has 60% fewer components and uses far less fuel to operate. Read More

In a Detroit Crain's article of June 17, 2018 12:16 AM, Tom Henderson reported that the Great Lakes Angels are partnering with Doron York to raise funds specifically for early-stage Michigan entrepreneurs. Sources for seed money have been declining in recent years while the emphasis has shifted to growing companies with revenue track records. Is is refreshing to see this long over due initiative. Read More 

In a Detroit Crain's article, June 12, 2018, 3:20 PM, Annalise Frank reported that TechTown will be receiving $1.55 million in grant monies for its initiatives "that help small businesses tackle the tough subject of financial growth." More details will be released during the Detroit Startup Week entrepreneurial conference scheduled for June 18-22. Read More  

Have you ever thought 'there must be a better way' or 'I wish there was...' in the context of healthcare? This year's non-profit Ann Arbor Health Hacks topic ( goes beyond just health but blends into equity and we need your help in getting the word out. 

Here are the top three misconceptions about participating in a Healthcare Hackathon:

1) I don't know anything about healthcare/ coding/ engineering. 

- GREAT! Magic happens at the intersection of team members with different skill sets. Nobody is too old, too young, too educated or not educated or skilled enough. Passion beats skill!  (you must be 21+ to participate).

2) I don't have an idea to pitch or work on.

- GREAT! That's why we have excellent keynotes to inspire problems you might want to solve.

3) I can't work through the night.

- GREAT! Many people go home for a few hours. if you live far away, accommodations are available, just ask. 

The organizers of  Ann Arbor Health Hacks ( invite you to find out how your skills can make a difference over the weekend of June 22-24 during their third annual healthcare hackathon. This year, the focus is on low-resource settings with a special track on transition into independence for people with disabilities.

The event is an opportunity for design, engineering, IT, healthcare and business professionals, students and entrepreneurs to come together to brainstorm and prototype new healthcare solutions. More info and registration at

There is always a reward if you read a long article to the end: please mark your calendar for the annual Summer party Saturday July 28 and remind me if you didn't get an invite by then. 

Many thanks for your support!

Diane Bouis, PhD, MBA

Cell +1-734-272-1348

In a June 4, 2018 article, Ann Arbor SPARK announced who the winners were from their 2018 spring Entrepreneur Boot Camp. There were 12 "contenders" with $35,000 in funding. "For the first time, the boot camp panel consisted of all women." Read More 

Detroit Crain's featured Entrepreneurs in an article on May 26, 2018. It takes a lot of faith, effort, and resources to start a business. Entrepreneurs come from all parts of the world. Some start a business out of necessity, some have innovative ideas, and others create a business around trying to make the world a better place. Regardless of the humble beginnings, we owe a great deal to entrepreneurs and cheer when they succeed. Be inspired by the stories.  Read More 

In a Detroit Crain's article on May 15, 2018 5:03 PM, Dustin Walsh reported that "The investment fair, which showcases companies in need of funding to investors across the U.S., will be called the Midwest Growth Capital Symposium." Next year's event will include the presence of many Big 10 research universities. Read More

At the May Forum, Paul Schrems, President of Ascape Audio, described how current wireless earbuds "requires the user to carry three additional devices, remember to charge them every few hours, all the while trying not to lose the $100+ gadgets. Additionally, the tiny devices annoyingly tend to fall out of the user's ears."  Because of these issues and more, people get frustrated and stop using them. "Ascape Audio offers premium wireless earbuds capable of recharging directly from your phone. AmpPack is a line of patented smartphone cases that doubles your battery life while holding and recharging the wireless earbuds. Now your earbuds are always with you charged and ready, where ever you go!" Their solution to easily listening to music is simple, affordable, and quite different from the competition. Read More about them


There were four startup companies who presented at the NEF May Forum. Leann Abad of Vicinity told us about is his idea of a platform that connects travelers to local tour guides for on-demand tours. Similar in concept to Uber, the tours are a creative way to experience destination cities. Blake  Osecki of Modular Home & Garden explained how his DIY garden box product is modular and can be as large or as small as the customer desires. The garden boxes are affordable and easy to install. Gail Brown of Platters Chocolatier, explained how her chocolates create a pleasant customer experience for luxury hotels. She makes gourmet custom molded chocolates for corporate branding and promotions. Kiley Judge of Quirk described the health benefits of her drinking fruit vinegars. The fruit flavoring of the vinegar makes them delicious and refreshing. Each of the four companies had interesting products and gave great presentations. As you know, there can be only one overall winner. The $202 prize went to Blake Osecki of Modular Home & Garden. 


The Global Automotive & Mobility Innovation Challenge (GAMIC) final competition was held on April 10 at the SAE International WCX World Congress Experience. They will share over $360,000 in business acceleration services and cash awards. The four winners are: Ghostwave, Spectalite!, Parkofon and Scientel IT Corp. NEF board members and coaches were actively involved in mentoring, organizing and supporting GAMIC for the past eight months. NEF has been an active participant and Sponsor of GAMIC for many years. Read More