Nov 17, 2017

Award, News

  • Orbion Space Technology wins big
  • Nearly $1 million in prize money
  • More than 60 competing businesses

Orbion Space Technology won the $500,000 grand prize at the eighth annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition.

The Houghton-based startup, which develops systems to propel satellites into space to collect data, came out on top at the event attended by more than 500 people at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, according to a news release from Accelerate Michigan. In total, nearly $1 million in prize money was awarded.

During the daylong competition, 45 investor judges and senior entrepreneurial leaders scored more than 60 companies across the state. The runners-up received awards and in-kind services from event sponsors WeWork, Varnum LLP, Google and Plante Moran. They are:

  • Mi Padrino, an Ann Arbor-based company that operates a crowdfunding and event planning platform — $100,000
  • Alerje, a Detroit-based company that develops modular cell phone cases that carry a slim epinephrine auto-injector and notify 911 in emergencies — $50,000
  • Carma Car, a Detroit-based company providing all-inclusive monthly car rental packages without the hassle of owning a vehicle — $20,000
  • Novolux BioSciences, a Houghton-based company making dyes brighter in any color — $20,000
  • Spellbound, an Ann Arbor-based company that develops augmented reality experiences for pediatric patients in hospitals — $10,000

Student venture award winners in the competition are:

  • Locker Lifestyle (Grand Valley State University) — $6,000
  • GoSpot (Northwood University) — $4,000
  • Xgrip (Northwood University) — $3,000
  • MP Insert Engineering (Western Michigan University — $2,000
  • Canopy (University of Michigan) — $6,000


Published in Crain’s Detroit, November 17, 2017.

Post by Lynn Makela