AutoHarvest got its start with the idea of growing Michigan's new economy by enabling local entrepreneurs to leverage the intellectual property coming out of the universities and major corporations in the Great Lakes State. Today the nonprofit is aiming beyond the state's borders.
"We've been growing," says Jayson Pankin, president of AutoHarvest
. "We have been increasing our membership and database...[which] now contains about 90,000 intellectual property opportunities."
AutoHarvest has been targeting Asian-based firms to engage with its membership and plans to continue that expansion throughout this year by connecting more international businesses with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The four-person nonprofit (it has hired two people over the last year) fosters collaboration and innovation in the auto industry by making things like tech labs and intellectual property more accessible. The 4-year-old organization has offices at the University of Michigan and TechTown.
Despite its recent foray into internationalism, AutoHarvest still regularly engages with local firms and entrepreneurs. For instance, Optimal Process Technologies is developing technology that improves the weldability of dissimilar materials. The processes will support the production of multi-material structures, reducing vehicle weight and improving vehicle fuel efficiency.
"The entrepreneur who licensed the technology came across it as a member of AutoHarvest," Pankin says.
Source: Jayson Pankin, president of AutoHarvest
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.