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Hundreds of early-stage tech companies will compete for up to $1 million in prizes, access to investors and mentors

DETROIT – July 26, 2017 – Michigan startups can now apply for this year’s Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. The annual November event is Michigan’s largest startup pitch competition, showcasing the state’s high-tech, high-growth companies to investors and the broader community. Accelerate Michigan is a program of Invest Detroit Ventures, an early-stage investment platform powered by Invest Detroit.

“Our goal is to connect Michigan startups to capital and mentorship both regionally and nationally. We want everyone to know about the incredible small business innovation happening across the state of Michigan,” said Martin Dober, VP and Managing Director of Invest Detroit Ventures.

Each year, more than 200 companies participate in the Detroit-based competition vying for a chance at upwards of $1 million in prizes, with a grand prize award of $500,000. Past participating companies have raised more than $550 million in funding and created more than 1,000 jobs in Michigan.

“We still consider winning the ‘Best Product and Service’ award at the sixth annual Accelerate Michigan competition a major milestone for LawnGuru. It’s the premier startup event in Michigan and an incredible opportunity for networking with founders, investors and local media,” said LawnGuru Co-Founder and President Skye Durrant.

In addition to funding, participating companies receive mentorship and access to Michigan’s burgeoning network of investment opportunities. Companies that apply must be tech-enabled or product-based and past the proof-of-concept stage in one of the following sectors:

  • Advanced Materials & Manufacturing
  • Alternative Energy
  • Business Services
  • Consumers Products
  • Information Technology
  • Life Science / healthcare
  • Media
  • Mobility
  • Other

To participate, companies must be based in Michigan or willing to relocate to Michigan and have raised no more than $2 million in private investment. Applications require a two-page executive summary and 10-slide pitch deck that covers the following details of the business:

  • Market problem
  • Company solution and value proposition
  • Market fit and market size
  • Customer acquisition / Product distribution
  • Business model
  • Competitive landscape
  • Financial projections and current team

Screeners and judges will review and score companies based on each of the aforementioned categories throughout the competition. To encourage early submissions, the application fee starts at $50. The fee bumps up to $100 on Aug. 4, and then to $150 on Aug. 25. The deadline for applications is Sept. 1 at 11:59 p.m.

After a review process by the screening committee comprised of Michigan investors and entrepreneurs, Accelerate Michigan will announce the 36 semifinalists in October. Those companies will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges in the morning and afternoon of November 16 at the historic Masonic Temple in downtown Detroit.


Ten finalists will be selected to pitch that evening during the Gala Awards Dinner at Detroit’s historic Masonic Temple, where the $500,000 grand prize and a number of highlight awards will be awarded.

About the Accelerate Michigan Competition

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is the state’s largest startup pitch competition. Now entering its eighth year, Accelerate Michigan moved the event from Cobo Center to Detroit’s historic Masonic Temple in order to accommodate attendance and pitch competitions. The competition has featured notable grand prize award winners that include SPLT (2016), Banza (2015), SkySpecs (2014), Varsity News Network (2013), Algal Scientific (2012), DeNovo Sciences (2011), Armune Biosciences (2010). Many of these have gone on to raise significant venture capital rounds from Michigan Venture Capital Association members.

Through the support of strong partners, collaborative investors, and a burgeoning tech sector, Accelerate Michigan has been established as a pillar of the local start-up community. Since inception, participating companies have generated 1,000+ jobs in Michigan and have raised over $550 Million in capital.

The annual event is made possible by grants and sponsorships from the New Economy Initiative and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s 21st Century Jobs Fund, as well as a significant amount of corporate and community support. For competition & registration information for the November 16 event, please visit www.acceleratemichigan.org. You can also follow Accelerate Michigan on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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