Inaugural Michigan Tech Week Coming to Detroit’s Gem Theatre in October

The Gem Theatre in Detroit will be host to Detroit and Michigan's inaugural Michigan Tech Week on Oct. 12 and 13. // Courtesy of The Gem Theatre
The Gem Theatre in Detroit will be host to Detroit and Michigan’s inaugural Michigan Tech Week on Oct. 12 and 13. // Courtesy of The Gem Theatre

Michigan Founders Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, announced the Gem Theatre in Detroit will host the state’s first Michigan Tech Week Oct. 12-13. The event will highlight and seek to expand the state’s tech ecosystem.

“Michigan Tech Week will bring together major stakeholders in Michigan’s tech ecosystem to collaborate with hundreds of attendees and drive opportunities to high-growth startups,” says Trista Van Tine, executive director of Michigan Founders Fund. “We can’t think of a better city to host the inaugural event than Detroit, which was recognized as the No. 1 emerging startup ecosystem globally, according to Startup Genome’s 2022 Global Startup Ecosystem Report.”

The two-day event will feature a variety of keynote presentations, venture networking, founder panels, cultural tours of Detroit, Black Founders Brunch, happy hours, and a closing celebration party.

Featured keynote speakers include author and entrepreneur Pete Wilkins; Ryan Anderson, vice president of global research and insight at MillerKnoll; as well as moderated discussions led by entrepreneurs Dug Song and Jason Raznick.

Michigan Tech Week will also showcase a first-of-its-kind venture pitch competition featuring promising Michigan startups, sponsored by The Song Foundation. Participants will have the chance to win more than $100,000. To apply to pitch, click here.

“The Song Foundation is proud to support Michigan Tech Week by sponsoring its startup venture pitch competition,” says Khalilah Burt Gaston, executive director of the foundation. “We share the same vision and mission with Michigan Tech Week as far as providing access to capital, connections, and clarity around Michigan resources.”

Van Tine noted Michigan was the fastest growing state for VC investment from 2016 to 2020, and there have been major VC-backed success stories in every part of the state. “The inaugural Michigan Tech Week in Detroit will pave the way for future cities to play host in the years to come, such as Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids,” she says.

Michigan Tech Week is a collaborative effort by the Michigan Founders Fund, Midwest House, Endeavor Great Lakes, Intermitten, Bamboo, Cahoots, Shine & Rise, Start Garden, Techstars Detroit, and Venture Catalysts.

“Building a successful tech company can be a great thing for a few people. Building a vibrant tech community can be a game changer for a whole region. Tech Week will be a foundational piece for a growing community that will be open to our entire state,” says Ted Velie, co-founder of Midwest House and Michigan Tech Week coalition member.

Key panels include:

Oct. 12, 2022

The Recession Proof Vertical: Growing a FinTech Company — This panel will feature Jason Raznick, CEO of Benzinga; Steve Roberts, CEO of Autobooks; Kevin Heras, CEO of InvestNext; and Kathleen Craig, CEO of Plinqit.

How I’m Doing It: First-time Founder Hustle — This panel will feature Danielle Smith, CEO of Detroit Maid; Prashant Salla, CEO of FixMyCar; Sydney Davis, CEO of NixCode; and Brian Olatunji, CEO of ReadiCharge.

Oct. 13, 2022

The Future is Now: ClimateTech/Energy Innovation — This panel will feature Danny Ellis, CEO of SkySpecs; Deeana Ahmed, vice president of strategy and government relations at Out Next Energy Inc.; Kylee Guenther, CEO of Pivot Materials; and Chris Thomas, co-founder and partner of Assembly Ventures.

Midwest’s Best Kept Secret: Michigan HQ Advantage — This panel will feature Dug Song, chief strategy officer at Cisco Security; Lisa McLaughlin, co-CEO of Workit Health; Katie Hall, CEO of Claira; Mykolas Rambus, CEO of Hush; and Mike Duncan, CEO of Bankjoy.

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