ANN ARBOR — Four Michigan companies have received a combined total of $200,000 through the Michigan Microloan Fund Program this past quarter, bringing the total amount loaned through the Fund to more than $2,500,000. The companies received the funding to support commercialization of their core products.
The funding award recipients discuss the business impact of the Michigan Microloan Fund Program: http://youtu.be/mBIzM-UWGJo
“From a company doing high tech manufacturing to a university spin out to two online portals, these companies represent the wide range of businesses that are taking advantage of the business opportunities available in Michigan,” said Skip Simms, Ann Arbor SPARK senior vice president and administrator of the Michigan Microloan Fund Program. “The Michigan Microloan Fund Program is an important part of a broader entrepreneurial eco-system that offers the support start-ups need to move their products to market.”
Electric Field Solutions (EFS) of Ann Arbor will design, assemble, and sell Charge Tracker, a transformative technology capable of locating electric charge buildup on objects located tens of feet away from it. EFS is using the microloan funds to modify its electric field sensor to be used in industrial applications; currently it is used for research. The redesigned sensor will be used in customer visits in an effort to identify the most attractive market segment to pursue.
Phenometrics, Inc., of Lansing is a technology transfer spin-off company from Michigan State University. Phenometrics’ flagship product is an environmental photo bioreactor (ePBR TM) that reproduces outdoor pond environments in the laboratory so that scientists can study algae under more natural conditions. Phenometrics is using the microloan funding to scale up production as well as hire a technical engineer.
Detroit-based Rippld is a connection, collaboration and services exchange platform for creative professionals and the clients that need their talents. The company will use the microloan to hire development talent to build out its platform and launch a marketing campaign in preparation for its beta launch.
Seelio, formerly truApp, Inc., based in Ann Arbor, is a stage for college students to distinguish themselves through an online portfolio of work and connect with companies. Seelio’s dynamic multimedia platform offers a visual approach for students to display their college experiences and illuminate their unique personalities. The microloan is funding Seelio’s beta launch, and served as a bridge to the company’s recently closed seed funding round.
The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund was the funding for all of the microloans except Seelio’s, which was funded by the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA). All of these microloan awards were made March-June of 2012.
Since the Michigan Microloan Fund Program was established in July 2009, 60 companies have received more than $2.5 million in subordinated loans. Microloans available through the Michigan Microloan Fund Program range from $10,000 to $50,000. To qualify, companies must be a small business, have ownership or license to innovative technology, and be privately held.
The Michigan Microloan Fund Program is comprised of three distinct microloan funds: The Eastern Washtenaw Microloan Fund, the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, and the City of Ann Arbor via funding from the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti LDFA.
Funds for this initiative were provided by the 21st Century Jobs Fund, a Michigan Strategic Fund program designed to accelerate the growth and diversification of Michigan’s economy. The MEDC, a public-private partnership between the state and local communities, provides administrative support for the 21st Century Jobs Fund. The MEDC markets Michigan and provides the tools and environment to drive job creation and investment. For more information on the 21st Century Jobs Fund initiative, visit www.MichiganAdvantage.org.
For more information about the microloan programs managed by Ann Arbor SPARK, visit www.annarborusa.org/funding-incentives.