Summer Newsletter 2017

WMed Innovation Center Launches Co-Working

The WMed Innovation Center has launched a co-working space called the Ideation Station. It is approximately 1,000 s.f of shared work environment for high-tech entrepreneurs requiring space in which to develop their business concepts. The Ideation Station program provides month-to-month access to the resources of the Innovation Center, helping technology companies grow to the point of taking on conventional leases at WMedIC or re-locating to existing facilities in the local community. Located inside the WMed Innovation Center, WMedIC Ideation Station provides low-cost shared office space and amenities in an entrepreneurial, innovative atmosphere. It provides networking opportunities, as well as access to on-site business tools and resources. Membership is per person, not per company.

MBIA Board of Directors

The MBIA Board of Directors election is over and the entire slate of candidates has been re-elected. The board is as follows:

Executive Board
Sandra Cochrane, President
Chris Moultrup, Vice-President
Harry Blecker, Treasurer
Madelyn Pinder, Secretary

Board of Directors 
Sandra Darland
Oded Gur-Arie
Carmen Wells Quigg:

Immediate Past President
Lawrence Molnar

Save the Date!

This year's Great Lakes International Innovation Summit will take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 26-28. The MBIA is leading the planning committee comprised of incubator/co-working professionals from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Canada. There is a website for the event at The website will be updated with information as it becomes available, so check back frequently.


MEDC Contemplates New Data Collection Tool for SmartZones

Jesse O'Brien

Approximately a year and a half ago, Austin Dean saw a need and decided to do something about it.

Dean, who has worked in economic development for about six years, was frustrated with the way valuable information was being reported, collected and shared. He saw a need to get everyone on the same page, using just one platform instead of the dozens that were being used across the region. So he created Collective Metrics.

A software platform designed to measure the effectiveness of startups, Collective Metrics allows for economic development organizations to not only track and collect data but also to share it. Those organizations can interact with one another and see what the others are working on, avoiding duplication in the system.

By gathering and sharing the information collected from area entrepreneurial service organizations, Collective Metrics can streamline the process of reporting data tailored toward the startup, rather than the ESO. A mapping feature included in the software provides a visual of who is already participating in the area, and unlike other data-tracking software, Collective Metrics updates in real time.

“We can present real data that’s both timely and accurate and that allows us to make timely decisions at an organizational level,” said Dean, who is an analyst for Start Garden.

Collective Metrics already has found major partners in Lakeshore Advantage and the Holland SmartZone to help further its mission to make data collection more efficient and collaborative.

Lakeshore Advantage innovation manager Brooke Corbin said she became involved with the project about four months ago, and already has begun to develop a mirror of the platform to connect the Grand Rapids and Holland SmartZones.

“As a business incubator, we try to be adding value as an organization and as a community, so collaboration will be something that’s very important to us,” Corbin said. “And this can kind of be the starting piece.”

Corbin said in the brief time the Holland SmartZone has used the platform, it has found Collective Metrics to be incredibly user friendly and, by giving clients the ability to self-report their data, it’s much easier to avoid duplication.

Last week, Dean and Corbin presented Collective Metrics at a conference in Orlando, Florida, and said the response was overwhelmingly positive.

While moving the platform to a national market may be in the distant future for Dean, right now he said the focus is on connecting Grand Rapids and Holland, and eventually, a completely connected 13-county West Michigan region.

Still, widespread implementation of Collective Metrics has not been without its challenges. The biggest issue so far, Dean said, has been convincing organizations to agree to the level of transparency and accountability needed to make Collective Metrics successful.

“Certainly, that can be threatening to some organizations, but that’s not what we’re trying to do,” Dean said.

“We’re trying to get everyone to rally around the concept to see this as a way to do what we do better. West Michigan is a great place to start businesses, live and work, and we want to use this data to analyze talent attraction and retention as opposed to performance evaluations.”

Dean added that, in conversations with potential clients, he has had to answer more privacy questions than he initially expected, but a number of organizations have been receptive to the idea of further collaboration.

“Creating a vibrant community takes a tribe,” Dean said.

“And it’s more than just ESOs. It’s your local foundation, it is the banks, the universities and colleges putting talent into the pipeline. There are way more people who should be engaged in the conversation, and we’re just trying to make that as open and transparent as possible.”
For ESOs, Corbin said, using platforms like Collective Metrics allows organizations to practice what they preach.

“We want to innovate and do things on our own, too,” she said. “We advocate for innovation from entrepreneurs, but we don’t always innovate ourselves. This offers us a way to look at what we’ve been doing and ensure what we’re offering is a step forward and not just being complacent with where we’re at.”

(Reprinted from Grand Rapids Business Journal)

Automotive Startup Opportunity

AutoHarvest (AH) and the Licensing Executives Society (LES) have forged a partnership to advance innovation through education and other active programs. AH is helping LES organize and conduct panels and webinars. There will be a LES Detroit meeting on June 28th with a live webinar for the Transportation and Aerospace subcommittee: these 100+ folks are at the center of technology sourcing at major corporations.
Michigan automotive startups have the opportunity to participate in an unusual panel, entitled "Emerging Mobility, Connectivity, and Autonomous Technologies Webinar- Technology Infusion through deal-making between startups and multinationals?" This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for a startup to possibly pursue a first customer, a strategic partner, or an investor.
Five speaking slots will be offered to startups to get the mix going between the giants and the upstarts. As you know, the automotive industry has its pedal to the metal to partner externally and in general "disrupt like a startup"
Please nominate a few companies that are seeking a "first customer, strategic partner/investor" in the "transportation and aerospace" community. After review, they will get 8 minutes to present their slides to the LES audience. Please provide their contact information.
Sagor Bhuiyan, Technology Strategist
Member Services
AutoHarvest Foundation
440 Burroughs, Suite 137
Detroit, MI  48202

MBIA Template 1 - Summer Newsletter 2017