Esperion Provides Drug Development Update, Financial Results

ANN ARBOR — Esperion Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:ESPR), the pharmaceutical startup working on a new class of cholesterol-reducing drugs, provided a drug development update and financial results for 2016.

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NASA Taps Michigan Tech Prof to Lead $15M Space Research Institute

HOUGHTON — Michigan Technological University Professor Greg Odegard will lead a new, multidisciplinary and multi-institution Space Technology Research Institute.

The institute is funded by a $15 million 5-year grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Odegard, pictured at right above, is the Richard and Elizabeth Henes Professor of Computational Mechanics at Michigan Tech and associate chair and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. He is also an adjunct professor of materials science and engineering at Tech.

Odegard’s team will include 22 faculty members from 10 universities, two companies and the U.S. Air Force Research Lab. Their STRI is called the Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design or US-COMP.

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LTU Kahn events featured on M2 TechCast

SOUTHFIELD — Lawrence Technological University will celebrate the architectural legacy of the legendary Albert Kahn in several events and exhibitions in the days and weeks ahead.

LTU staff highlighted the events on a podcast last week.

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StockX Closes $6M Funding Round

DETROIT – StockX, the online consumer “stock market of things,” announced that it has closed a $6 million round of funding from several celebrity investors, including actor Mark Wahlberg, rappers Eminem and Wale, music manager Paul Rosenberg, former AOL executives Ted Leonsis and Steve Case, singer-songwriter Tim Armstrong, talent manager Scooter Braun, fashion designer Jon Buscemi, and others.

Additional investors include Courtside Ventures, a media and technology venture fund, and  Detroit Venture Partners, both backed in part by Quicken Loans founder and downtown Detroit investor Dan Gilbert.

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Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Grandville, Rochester teams win VEX Robotics at MSU

EAST LANSING — Detroit Catholic Central High School’s VEX Shambots B team won the coveted VEX Robotics Excellence Award and a three-team alliance from Bloomfield Hills, Grandville, and Rochester were high school tournament champions at the 2017 Michigan VEX Robotics State Championship on Sunday, Feb. 19, at Michigan State University.

At the middle school level, Hudsonville Robotics took home the VEX Excellence Award and a three-team alliance that included two teams from Flint’s Carman Ainsworth Middle School Robotics and the Technology First team from Lambertville were tournament champions.

There were 76 teams, including 48 high school and 28 middle school teams, competing at the 2017 state games, all working for the right to represent Michigan in the 2017 VEX Robotics World Games in Louisville, Ky., April 19-25.

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SVSU to host FIRST Michigan high school robotics championship

UNIVERSITY CENTER – Saginaw Valley State University will welcome nearly 5,000 high school students from across Michigan for the statewide FIRST Robotics competition Wednesday, April 12 through Saturday, April 15. Including professional mentors and family members, an estimated 7,500 people will descend on the Great Lakes Bay Region for the competition, which is designed to inspire students to pursue careers in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“We are dedicated to growing the next generation of passionate STEM individuals,” said Gail Alpert, president of FIRST in Michigan. “The robot is the vehicle we use to help them understand fields from mechanical engineering to computer science to business.”

SVSU President Donald Bachand said hosting the FIRST Robotics competition is a good fit for SVSU academically.

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New auto wiring diagnostic from Clinton Twp. Firm

CLINTON TWP. — Tweddle Group has introduced a new automotive wiring diagnostic system, Tracer.

The company says today’s automotive wiring diagrams are incredibly complex. Consequently, automakers and dealerships lose significant revenue to the investigation of Diagnostic Trouble Codes. These issues also create costly repairs during end-of-line testing, when vehicles must be taken offline just before shipping and held in repair areas within the manufacturing plant. Current testing systems can spot an issue with a vehicle, but can’t isolate root cause and can’t help the technician find the issue in a visual, specific area of the vehicle. Vehicles are often unnecessarily dismantled. Days may be wasted and cumulative repair costs can be massive.

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MSU Engineering celebrates science and engineering during EWeek 2017, Feb. 18-25

EAST LANSING — In honor of National Engineers Week in February, the Michigan State University College of Engineering is planning activities and events to emphasize the importance of the contributions made through engineering, science and technical skills. EWeek at MSU runs from Feb. 18-25.

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Third class of ‘Hacker Fellows’ to interview with startups at LTU’s Detroit Center

DETROIT — Hacker Fellows, a program of Invest Detroit Ventures, has began to match its 2017 class of 15 young software developers to early-stage, tech-based companies in Michigan.

Having completed the Hacker Fellows year-long fellowship program, these 15 developers are soon to be hired full-time by Michigan startups, advancing Michigan’s tech ecosystem, and furthering the mission of retention of talented graduates of Michigan’s universities.

Thanks to the recent financial support of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan (CFSEM), and the Ford Motor Co. Fund, Hacker Fellows is soon to kick off its third year of training, mentoring and supporting recent graduates in launching successful careers with startups.

hacker-fellows

“The importance of developing our technology talent in the region cannot be understated. The Hacker Fellows program is a critical to this effort,” said Don Jones, associate director at CFSEM, which recently committed an additional $550,000 in funding to Hacker Fellows over two years.

On Friday, April 7 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Hacker Fellows has invited its 15 current fellows to in-person interviews with more than 30 startups from across the state. Each fellow will have the opportunity to interview with five to seven companies in hopes of receiving a full-time offer. The interviews will take place at Lawrence Technological University’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology (DCDT), 4219 Woodward Ave.

Once all 15 fellows have received full-time offers, the true Hacker Fellows experience begins in Detroit, with a five-week software and entrepreneurship boot camp at DCDT. Following the five weeks of training, each of the Hacker Fellows goes to work at their paired startup, where they receive a $10,000 to 15,000 grant to boost their first-year salary. Beyond the salary boost, each fellow receives ongoing support from the Invest Detroit Ventures team throughout the year.

“The 2016 Hacker Fellows boot camp focused on front end technologies — specifically Angular JS, Node JS along with HTML and CSS — all technologies I had a strong interest in learning about,” said Jessica Wu, a 2016 Fellow now working for NewFoundry, an Ann Arbor design and software development firm. (The entire 2016 cohort is pictured below.)

2016-hacker-fellows

Added Bradley Hoos, Hacker Fellows executive director: “There’s a huge need for top tech talent in Michigan and it’s been really exciting to see Hacker Fellows become the go-to source for young startup developer talent. The raw talent of our fellows is really impressive and once they are aware of the great things happening in the Michigan startup community, they are choosing to be a part of it. In fact, 13 of our 15 2016 fellows told us that they would have left the state if it weren’t for Hacker Fellows. That’s powerful.”

Hacker Fellows’ goal is to attract and retain top developers in  Michigan and pair these developers with early stage tech startups. In the first two years of the program, more than 70 Michigan startups have engaged with and interviewed Hacker Fellows. All 2015 and 2016 Hacker Fellows accepted positions at Michigan startups, with Fellows joining the program from 14 different universities and working at 21 different Michigan tech startups. Since working with Hacker Fellows, participating startup companies have created more than 160 jobs.

Hacker Fellows is free for participating Fellows and startups thanks to the generous support of sponsors CFSEM, MEDC, and the Ford Motor Co. Fund.

The Hacker Fellows program has an open application period year around, and officials say they’re always interested in interviewing passionate and talented developers. If you’re interested in applying, visit this link.

Visit http://www.hackerfellows.com/matchmaking-introduction/ to hire a Hacker Fellow.

More information at www.hackerfellows.com, including the latest on free and open meetups. Follow Hacker Fellows on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well.

Invest Detroit is a certified Community Development Financial Institution and a source of private sector financing which uses a variety of funding tools through managed for-profit and non-profit targeted funds to support economic and community development in underserved communities, primarily in the City of Detroit.

Representing $225 million in funds, committed capital and New Markets Tax Credit allocations, Invest Detroit serves as a platform to meet a broad range of financing needs to support business expansion and real estate development, the creation and retention of jobs, and the revitalization of distressed areas.

Invest Detroit represents the vision of the Board of Directors and management of the Detroit Investment Fund, which was created and funded in 1995 by members of Detroit Renaissance, now known as Business Leaders for Michigan. In 2010, the DIF Board and management team enhanced and transitioned the capabilities of the DIF to create Invest Detroit, which serves as an umbrella entity for the DIF and other for-profit and non-profit managed funds.

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