photo by: Leisa Thompson Photography

At the recent Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition (AMIC), Ann Arbor SPARK entrepreneurial services client SpellBound won the Women-led prize of $150,000 and Shoptelligence won the $50,000 third place prize. Derq, who Ann Arbor SPARK worked to attract to the region this year, won the $20,000 social enterprise prize. In total, eleven of the 2018 AMIC semi-finalists are Ann Arbor SPARK entrepreneurial services clients.

VerteCore Technologies LLC, a Mississippi-based orthopedic medical device company, was awarded AMIC’s $500,000 grand prize and the $10,000 people’s choice award. VerteCore will be relocating to Ann Arbor in the coming months.

“Companies from across the country and in fact around the world have competed at AMIC.  This competition exposes the advantages of locating in Michigan to the world. Ann Arbor SPARK, in particular, offers unparalleled support for growing businesses, from talent to investment,” said Skip Simms, Ann Arbor SPARK senior vice president. “We are proud to continue our role as the original and ongoing investment sponsor of AMIC. It has been a great strategy for us. The awardees go on to raise millions in additional capital after our investment and previous winners have already given us significant returns. In fact, the past two years our investment has come from those returns. We look forward to the success VerteCore will bring to Michigan and our fund.”

AMIC provides one-on-one connections with fellow entrepreneurs, investors, business acceleration resources, and experts in their specific sector. It’s an opportunity to showcase companies and innovations, with an eye on attracting investment.

Throughout its duration, Ann Arbor SPARK, via the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, has been the AMIC Investment Sponsor, providing $250,000 of the total investment awarded to the winning company.

About Ann Arbor SPARK

Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit


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Source: SPARK