Nine Blackstone LaunchPad Teams To Compete For Thousands In Accelerate Michigan Prize Money

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November 11, 2013


Nine Blackstone LaunchPad teams to compete for thousands in Accelerate Michigan prize money

Blackstone LaunchPad on Nov. 13-14 will enjoy its biggest showing ever in the semifinals of the Accelerate Michigan Student Innovation Competition as nine of its clients compete for thousands of dollars of no-strings-attached prize money.

“We’ve never had this many of our student entrepreneurs make it to the second stage of the competition,” said Aubrey Agee, senior program administrator for Blackstone LaunchPad. “This is an international entrepreneurial competition that showcases the best and brightest new business concepts. That nine of the 34 semifinalists are Wayne State students using Blackstone LaunchPad to develop and refine their business plans reflects both the tremendous innovation within our student body and the extensive resources Blackstone LaunchPad has made available to them.”

Wayne State University is the best-represented university in the competition, followed by University of Michigan with seven contestants. The first round of competition consisted of a one-page executive summary submitted in September. Semifinalists then submitted three-minute videos and coversheets in October, and will compete on Nov. 13 with a five-minute pitch before a panel of judges. The best of these will be invited back the next day to pitch again. The first-, second- and third-place prizes are $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000, which can be spent however the recipients choose.

Funded out of New York City by The Blackstone Group’s Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Blackstone LaunchPad is the university business laboratory that assists WSU students with business plan development, networking, and venture funding. According to Agee, two Blackstone LaunchPad teams have made it to the top ten since the laboratory’s inception in 2010.

“We’re stepping up our coaching efforts until the competition,” Agee said. “Our Wayne State semifinalists have come a long way since arriving at our door with their ventures. They have fine-tuned their business models through careful market research and perfected their pitches through practice. They’re going to compete with the confidence that only comes through preparation, and we’re thrilled to be a part of that process.”

The nine Wayne State semi-finalists are:

AnnoTree (, AskSupportNow (, ClickTheCause (, College Tour (, DragAroundMe (, Eli Tea (, J IV Media (, MyGoToNumber (, and SIB Medical (