Macomb Innovation Fund awards $225,000 to five Detroit-area technology startups

Five early-stage companies from Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne counties will receive $225,000 in funding from the Innovation Fund Macomb Community College, Powered by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Since July 2015, the Macomb Innovation Fund has awarded $1.4 million to 24 companies, which have garnered $3.5 million in follow-on funding. These companies have also created internships or learning opportunities for nearly 340 Macomb Community College students which is a requirement to receive funding.

The Innovation Fund is a $2.7 million effort to stimulate economic development and job growth among promising Detroit-area entrepreneurs and next-stage companies with high-growth potential. Funding is provided by Macomb Community College’s Strategic Fund and JPMorgan Chase, as part of the company’s $100 million commitment to Detroit’s economic recovery. The unique initiative provides mentoring and capital to early-stage businesses, as well as learning opportunities for Macomb Community College’s students.

“JPMorgan Chase invests in this fund because small businesses are the backbone to Detroit’s economy,” said Chauncy Lennon, Head of Workforce Initiatives, JPMorgan Chase. “We are proud to support the innovative business ideas presented by Macomb Community College Innovation Fund winners because they create new jobs and opportunity as well as stimulate further investment in the local economy.”

Two companies will receive awards that are designed to advance the progress of emerging companies toward larger-scale funding. These companies must provide matching funding and commit to paying back the award:

  • Brio Device (Ann Arbor/ Washtenaw County) – $100,000 award. Brio Device has developed a new class of intubation devices, which are employed to insert airway breathing tubes. The company’s focus is to simplify and increase the success of the intubation process through devices that combine articulation, visualization and software guidance technology in a disposable intubation tool.

  • VizBe (Sterling Heights/Detroit/ Macomb County) – $50,000 award. VizBe had developed an employee engagement software that provides guided goal-setting for personal and professional goals. Employees can also engage in group or peer-to-peer accountability related to these goals through VizBe’s communication platform.

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