2017 Demo Week features a series of presentations to investors by the latest cohorts of companies that have completed an accelerator program. In this exclusive guest post, Angela Kujava, Managing Director of Desai Accelerator, talks about her new role, the addition of new mentors to program and the organization’s ultimate entrepreneurial experiment – running two cohorts in 2017.
The Desai Accelerator began its third cohort on January 24, with more change than just a new group of exciting startups. I assumed the role of Managing Director, having most recently served as Director of Innovation at Logic Solutions, a software development firm headquartered here in Ann Arbor. With experiences guiding entrepreneurs through development projects, creative direction, and marketing plans, I joined Desai with an opportunity to exercise my skill sets immediately.
I was honored to take the reins from founding Managing Director, Kelly LaPierre. Kelly built a strong foundation at Desai, and remains involved in the program, supporting our teams with a workshop and individualized consultations.
Several new mentors joined our program, including Edward Tang (Avegant) and Jeremy Schneider (Rentlinx – exit to AppFolio), and we are pleased to announce the addition of Entrepreneur in Residence, Michael Godwin. Michael is the founder and Managing Director of Resonant Venture Partners and spends one day a week advising our teams. His expertise as both an entrepreneur and venture capitalist is an invaluable resource for startups.
I am also thrilled to announce our most entrepreneurial experiment yet – running two cohorts in 2017. The Global Accelerator Network reports that while only 23% of accelerators ran more than one cohort in 2015, more than 43% of member accelerators ran two or more cohorts in the last year. We are joining the ranks of that ambitious 43%, with our next cohort starting on July 10. Applications are now open on Angelist. Please also feel free to refer interesting companies to us directly!
Our Winter 2017 Demo Day is April 26th! This outstanding group has made remarkable strides in the last 13 weeks, and we are eager for you to see their progress. You can RSVP for the event on Eventbrite. The cohort includes the winners of the 2017 Michigan Business Challenge and Ace ’17 Pitch Pit competition:
- Circadian Risk creates software that assists companies with mitigating daily risks associated with events including criminal and terrorist activities. Using Circadian Risk’s method, organizations can achieve real-time physical risk assessment and active mitigation. Circadian Risk is the future of security assessments and risk management.
- Foodstand is a digital health behavior change company. Their first product is a mobile app that helps people build healthy eating habits through bite-sized micro-challenges with focus on little leaps, positive reinforcement, and social accountability systems.
- SAHI Cosmetics provides makeup that is custom-designed for women of medium skin tones who are currently underserved by the cosmetics industry. SAHI Cosmetics believes that every individual can #OwnYourColor.
- ScoutDay is a recruiting platform that connects high school baseball players with MLB scouts for evaluation, and membership in an expansive network of college coaches. ScoutDay provides unprecedented exposure for players, efficiency for scouts, and a high quality recruiting pool for coaches. We’re building the future of America’s pastime.
- Warmilu is a warming technology company with a patented device that generates nonelectric, reusable, portable, safe personal warmth. Current applications include infant transport and hypothermia prevention, and stadium seating. Warmilu’s social mission is to spread warmth to reduce infant death in resource-scarce settings.
About the Desai Accelerator
The Desai Accelerator is a joint venture between the University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute at the Ross School of Business and the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering. While the accelerator is supported by the University of Michigan, affiliation to the university is not required. Startups at Desai gain access to talented University of Michigan student interns as well as to mentorship from one of the most expansive alumni networks in the country. We’re grateful for the Accelerator’s funding and support from the Desai Sethi Family Foundation, the Davidson Foundation, the Wadhams family and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.