In today’s world, networking is an ever-present component for success and is a key resource for individuals looking to connect with others with similar interests. Professionally, networking can help you advance your career and integrate into a new community. In Ann Arbor’s tech ecosystem, while specific passions inspire meetups, participants often discover a group where shared interests further empower the tech climate that grows in the region. 

through Meetups represents an integral part of the effort to create a thriving
environment that continuously fosters tech and professional talent in the Ann
Arbor region. Ann Arbor SPARK supports the flourishing tech-related meetup
atmosphere by hosting spaces, providing sponsorship, and managing event
logistics for several Meetups. 

celebration of our community’s catalysts of collaborative effort and vision,
SPARK would like to highlight a few of the groups with whom we work and
showcase how they promote tech-related interests in our community. To capture
the spirit of each group, we also turned to a few of the organizers for a quick
take on what makes their meetup tick and thrive.  

Ann Arbor New Tech Meetup

since 2009, Ann Arbor New Tech is one of the oldest and largest tech group in
the region. During its monthly flagship events (held on the third Tuesday of
each month), companies get an opportunity to pitch products and conduct Q&A,
followed by community announcements and networking. Ann Arbor New Tech welcomes
members from all sectors and industry functions with open arms, holding demo
events, educational panel and speaker events, “unconferences,” and happy hours
every few weeks for members to attend and enjoy. 

IGDA Ann Arbor – International Game
Developers Association

If you make
games and are looking to make friends too, IGDA Ann Arbor is for you. This
branch of the International Game Developers Association meets at the SPARK East
Innovation Center in Ypsilanti for lectures, exhibitions, tutorials, industry
talks, and free food with Southeast Michigan’s game-dev community. Every fourth
Thursday of the month, you’ll get an invaluable opportunity to receive
meaningful feedback, find a new teammate to work with, or even just showcase
your project with other great minds in your community—including a special guest
lecturer from some of the region’s coolest companies.  

Arbor has managed to punch above its weight and deliver value for the community
in large part due to its pragmatic, application-oriented focus. Every week we
hold Shark Tank-style (but friendly!) show-and-tell sessions where community
members demonstrate the neat games, technologies, and business models they are
building. The emphasis is on “building”—we want to reward community members who
invest themselves in doing stuff and making things that other people care
about. To that end, we have begun a freelancing initiative to help our local
game developers become sustainable professionals.” – Austin Y.

A2 Mobility Tech

As the
mobility space continues to evolve, A2 Mobility seeks to inform those interested
in the future of mobility tech by creating a vibrant face-to-face community in
Ann Arbor. With unique opportunities that range from visiting mobility tech
companies growing in our own backyard to hosting thought leaders from sights of
innovation around the world, A2 Mobility provides an arena in the community for
sharing insight and strengthening passion for mobility. 

“What sets A2
Mobility apart is the element of going around the community and physically
visiting the various mobility startups, right in their space. In creating an
opportunity to personally witness the amazing things that are being done by
local startups, our hope is to spark the blossoming of partnerships between
companies as well as encourage more people to stay and work locally. We create
a space for more targeted discussions that connect players in the mobility tech
scene and help make collaborative relationships possible among companies (such
as that between IndustryStar and May Mobility, fostered within just a few
months).” – Komal D.

Michigan Ethereum

MI Ethereum
is a space for software developers, philosophers, entrepreneurs, and anyone
else with an interest in blockchain technology and smart contracts to meet and
connect. Ethereum is a decentralized, open-source computing platform that
allows applications to run exactly as programmed, without any outside interference.
MI Ethereum hosts leading authorities with a breadth of technological knowledge
and provides room for meaningful dialogue for the Ethereum community in the

Ann Arbor FinTech Meetup 

For this group, fintech isn’t just limited to financial technology—it’s about all things both finance and technology. In addition to covering client-facing technologies in banking, strategies on engaging digital customers, and discussions on cryptocurrency (among many others), members also have opportunities to engage in various self-help activities, such as creating a personal financial plan, under the guidance of some of the industry’s best leaders. So, if you have an interest in learning, sharing, and growing in regard to all things fintech, there’s a place for you at Ann Arbor FinTech Meetup.

Arbor FinTech meetup is a community of FinTech enthusiasts, committed to
learning and sharing knowledge about the exciting field of FinTech, which is at
the intersection of finance and technology. We provide a platform for FinTech
startups to get support, validation, expert advice from professionals with deep
domain expertise. The 450+ member community continues to thrive with monthly events
featuring lively panel discussions, startup demos, and talks by FinTech
industry leaders.” – Krishnan K.

Ann Arbor R User Group

A group for users of R, an open-source programming language for statistical computing and graphics, this is a community that welcomes all levels of R programmers to share knowledge and continue learning. Join for talks and tours of software packages and peruse various code—all with plenty of pizza, refreshments, and friends.

makes hosting a Meetup super easy for the Ann Arbor R User Group: we provide
the content and they provide the space, equipment, food, and beverage with zero
hassle. We first tried SPARK almost four years ago when our last venue fell
through and have been there ever since. We owe a lot to the hard work and
diligence of Charlotte Dillard, SPARK’s excellent coordinator who makes sure we
always have what we need to run our events. Many thanks to Charlotte and SPARK!
” – Clayton Y.

Arbor/Detroit NLPers (A2D-NLP)

For all
those interested in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning
(ML), A2D-NLP is the place to meet. From researchers and students to
practitioners and enthusiasts, everyone in the Ann Arbor and Detroit areas is
welcome to join the discussion on the latest developments in NLP. Come and
share your thoughts on current trends and best practices and stay up-to-date
with some of the best minds in the community. 

Ann Arbor Machine Learning Meetup

The state of accelerated growth in machine learning creates abundant opportunities for researchers, engineers, and business professionals alike in today’s world. Ann Arbor Machine Learning Meetup enters this thriving scene with a mission to strengthen the communication between active machine learning players in the community. With guest speakers from some of Ann Arbor’s very own startup leaders as well as distinguished industry experts from across the country, members can access a wealth of experience and knowledge in the world of machine learning through various topic-focused events. Join for a fruitful monthly discussion of the most relevant applications of machine learning and explore the opportunities abound.

The post Ann Arbor Region Meetups Connect People, Passions within the Tech Community appeared first on Ann Arbor SPARK.

Source: SPARK