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University of Michigan Desai Accelerator’s Summer Cohort Drawn from Global Startup Applicants

Six new startups are being welcomed into the summer 2018 cohort of the Desai accelerator, a joint venture between the Ross School of Business and the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Providing interns and expert mentorship throughout the 16 week program, the accelerator supports startups and ventures as they transition from early-stage development to the point where they seek external investors.

Even though only six companies were selected, the total pool included applicants from ten different states and six countries, with 33% having female founders and 60% having founders that are not affiliated with the University of Michigan.

Improvements for this year’s program mean that entrepreneurs can tap a staff of 10 interns instead of six, who will help execute design, business, and tech projects during the accelerator. The cohort also will have greater access to mentors and industry experts through regularly scheduled meetings.

“There are exceptional resources to nurture startups here in southeast Michigan, from the world-class talent at the University of Michigan to the thriving, growing industries and global perspective that characterize the community,” said Desai Accelerator managing director, Angela Kujava in a press statement. “We are proud to be a part of this ecosystem.”

The six companies are:

  • Movatic, a software platform allowing users to pay for, rent, and find different mobility services.
  • Mi Padrino, an online application making the paying and planning of Hispanic events like quinceañeras, baptisms, and weddings effective and easy.
  • Jottful, assisting small businesses maintain affordable and professional websites through a tech-enabled service.
  • Cheddur, a social network helping average consumers get started with digital services and currencies, while serving as an advertising platform for both.
  • Canopy, giving families and individuals a web application to help them talk about and make end-of-life healthcare decisions.
  • Arbor Automation, eliminating the need for manual programming with an automated service that improves manufacturing prototype hardware.

All companies receive a $25,000 investment and office space in downtown Ann Arbor, and will showcase their progress to active investors at Desai’s Demo Day on September 12th.

The Desai Accelerator is managed by the Ross School's Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and the College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship. Funding has been provided by the Desai Sethi (DS) Family Foundation, the Davidson Foundation, the Wadhams family and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

Applications for the 2019 cohort open in December.