U.P. companies compete for $500K business plan

Houghton, Michigan (October 31, 2013) — Four local companies are semi-finalists in North America’s largest business plan contest, Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. BridgeGuard, LiteBrake Tech LLC, REL, Inc. and Upland Nanotech are among 50 companies chosen to vie for cash prizes in Detroit on November 14.

Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is an international business competition that brings together entrepreneurial companies with local and national investment capital. It showcases the best and brightest new businesses to help foster their growth in Michigan. The grand prize is $500,000.

The U.P. contenders are:

BridgeGuard – Hancock, Michigan
BridgeGuard utilizes infrared technology and digital imagery to detect and document defects in our nation’s infrastructure, specifically bridge decks and substructures. Bridge scans are completed at highway speeds using a vehicle mounted proprietary sensor suite to gather an array of defect data, eliminating the need for lane closures. Road user costs for commerce delays and safety issues are also eliminated, ultimately saving significant tax payer dollars.

LiteBrake Tech LLC – Hancock, Michigan
LiteBrake Tech LLC is an R&D firm that developed patent-pending steel-clad aluminum (SCA) brake rotors for automotive OEM and aftermarket industry applications. SCA brake rotors are recognized for their improved performance, durability and light weight.

REL, Inc. – Calumet, Michigan
REL, Inc. developed and is producing lightweight composite brake discs for the motorcycle and automotive markets. REL’s Matrix Brakes™ are 50 – 80 % lighter and quieter than standard steel/cast iron disks, and carry a lifetime guarantee.

Upland Nanotech – Houghton, Michigan
Upland Nanotech developed a rapid-sensing technology used for food pathogen detection and drug-level concentration that can yield results within 20 minutes. Based on nanowire technology, the sensors are hypersensitive, enabling testing without the 12 to 24 hours of culture enrichment required by others.

According to the MTEC SmartZone,  Accelerate Michigan monetary awards will help companies achieve interim milestones such as completing additional prototypes and testing, introductions into new markets, and developing key partnership agreements.

Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is one of many funding opportunities MTEC SmartZone business incubator encourages companies to seize. “Opportunities and competitions like this one position more local companies for rapid growth by way of additional monetary investment if they win,” MTEC SmartZone Program Director Jonathan Leinonen said.

Leinonen has been helping each company through the competition process, offering guidance on their submissions and final pitches. Each company will give their presentation at Orchestra Hall in Detroit on November 14.

“The goal is to create opportunities that will continue to exist here in Michigan,” Leinonen said. “The companies with whom we’ve been working stand to contribute significantly as they move through this process.”

For more information about Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition and the company semi-finalists, please visit www.acceleratemichigan.org.