This is part one in a four-part series highlighting the Michigan organizations participating in 2015 Demo Week, a series of presentations where the latest cohorts of companies that have completed an accelerator program present to investors. Demo Week participant organizations include Coolhouse Labs, Desai Accelerator, Techstars Mobility, and Detroit Venture Partners.
Today, Coolhouse Founder and Managing Director, Jordan Breighner, introduces us to Coolhouse Labs and talks about the unique sort of Up North “summer camp” his accelerator hosts for promising early-stage companies.
Coolhouse Labs’ story begins with me, a Michigan kid who wanted to return to his hometown to make a difference in the community. I grew up in Harbor Springs, in Northern Michigan, but spent two years in New York as a marketing consultant for SS + K and prior to that, worked in the Obama White House and in the Department of Homeland Security as an Advisor. In 2013, I came back to Michigan and founded Coolhouse Labs on a simple premise: that big ideas can come to life in small towns in Michigan.
Two years and 13 companies later, we’ve more than proved that thesis. We lead companies from coast to coast through our “Summer Camp for Startups,” an intense, hands-on 12-week experience through which companies focus on building awesome products and getting those products into their customers’ hands. They are surrounded by a talented team of designers, strategists, and a national network of mentors. The culmination of the 2015 summer program will be a Demo Day in Ann Arbor on September 11 during Demo Week, in partnership with the University of Michigan’s Desai Accelerator, and we’re excited to show Michiganders downstate the exciting work we’re doing with these entrepreneurs in Northern Michigan:
DreamItReel – Video-editing-as-a-service that allows customers to dump their raw video footage, and have it turned into a professionally edited video for significantly less than current market prices.
Fletch – Connecting college students to peers in their courses, as a means for increasing engagement, which is one of the leading factors in student retention and graduation rates.
Nift – Generating reviews based on what people are actually doing and not just saying, by analyzing millions of data points that increase the sample size and objectivity of online reviews.
Nomsy – Creating the go-to source for people who are concerned about the food they consume, by providing recipes, products, and restaurant options that cater to eaters who are vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, and more.
Vervid – Vertical video platform for the 90% of time that we naturally hold our phones upright, with easy, on-the-go editing tools that enable people to share their portrait mode footage.
Additionally, Coolhouse Labs and Desai Accelerator will be hosting an investor breakfast at 9am on September 11th – location yet to be determined.
As connected as we are to the shores of Lake Michigan and our communities “Up North,” we’re excited to report that Coolhouse Labs is undergoing a bit of a growth spurt and is opening an additional Michigan location. In the fall, we will be opening Coolhouse in Ann Arbor in partnership with local angel investors and entrepreneurs Joe Malcoun (CEO of Nutshell) and Guy Suter (CEO of Notion). Coolhouse Labs will run two classes per year (Summer in Northern Michigan and Winter in Ann Arbor), as well as make seed-stage investments.
This summer’s cohort is shaping up to be the strongest yet, with companies from New York to the Bay Area working in markets as diverse as mobile video, mobile discovery, ed. tech, and more. We hope you’ll be able to join us September 11 at our Ann Arbor Demo Week presentation and meet some of these fascinating companies in person!
Jordan Breighner was born and raised in Harbor Springs, Michigan before moving to Utah in high school to pursue a ski racing career. He found his way to the University of Utah and it’s ski team. After college, he joined the Obama Campaign in the summer of 2008. He continued his eastern migration with a move to Washington, D.C. to work in the Obama administration. After two years in the administration, he joined with some former campaign friends to help start the D.C. office of SS+K, a creative communications agency based out of NYC. Now, he’s trying to revitalize the economy of Northern Michigan and help tech startups solve problems for small businesses by launching Coolhouse Labs.