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Detroit firms score top-shelf prizes at Accelerate Michigan

Detroit-based firms and start-ups with strong ties to the Motor City did quite well at this year's Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, taking top spots in a couple of categories and second place in the overall competition.

"It clearly demonstrates the opportunities we have in this state," says Peter Perez, deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing for the U.S. Depart­ment of Commerce. He was speaking about the state's overall entrepreneurial ecosystem at the competition, but his words resonated with how far Detroit firms have come since last year's event where Ann Arbor-based start-ups ran away with just about every award.

Fusion Coolant Systems
took second place overall, winning $150,000 in seed capital. The start-up is commercializing an environmentally friendly cutting fluid for industrial uses and recently moved the bulk of its operations to a new tech center at the Focus: HOPE facility on the city's west side.

Are You a Human took the top prize worth $25,000 in Accelerate Michigan's Student Competition. The start-up that is reinventing the squiggly lines of CAPTCHA technology recently received a venture capital investment from Detroit Venture Partners. That prompted the firm's founders (University of Michigan students) to move its operations to downtown Detroit this year.

ENRG Power Systems, a Bloomfield Hills-based firm with strong ties to TechTown, also took the top prize for Advanced Transportation worth $25,000. ENRG Power Systems is developing new technology that will help automotive engines more fuel-efficient and decrease the amount of green house gases they produce.

Source: Peter Perez, deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing for the U.S. Depart­ment of Commerce
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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