Ann Arbor continues to be one of the top growing tech ecosystems around the country with some of the best startups to watch. A combination of university talent pipelines, top-rated quality of life, growing startup ecosystem, and growing VC funding has Tree Town topping lists as one of the best places to start a tech company or find a top tech job.
This is especially true if you’re working in tech industries that have roots in Michigan, such as mobility, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and software. This was a year like no other for Ann Arbor startups, so we have time keeping up with all the news from Ann Arbor tech companies.
Check out some of the Ann Arbor companies with the biggest growth, best funding and most innovative products to watch into 2022.
Small Ann Arbor Startups to Watch in 2022
DocNetwork was founded in Ann Arbor by a pediatrician to create online medical records for children’s schools, camps, and organizations such as YMCAs and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. After creating COVID screening solutions in 2020 and expanding their partnerships, DocNetwork announced a new partnership with Daxko in 2021 that allows for seamless integrations with YMCA and JCC platforms.
Blumira is another Duo alum security startup in Ann Arbor that is growing quickly. After raising $10.3 million in funding recently, they expanded their team that is creating security solutions for businesses focused on ransomware attacks and data breach protection and resolution.
Founded in 2018 (and formerly known as Flugauto), Blueflite is a last-mile logistics startup that offers drone delivery services. Industrial delivery and drone applications in settings where human crews need to be safe such as scenes of accidents or fire are just a couple of the possible near-term uses for this cutting-edge technology.
AdAdapted creates technology that helps you add advertised products to your grocery list with one click. This creates unique customer insights for brands on what people will be likely to buy, but it also makes for easy shopping for consumers without the fuss of multiple click additions to carts and lists. They work with Mars, General Mills, and other CPG brands.
5. Refraction AI
Refraction AI have been testing their last-mile autonomous robots around Ann Arbor for a few years now, and we have to say that for rolling delivery bins, they’re super cute. More importantly, they work in traffic, bike lanes, and operate in all weather conditions--something we’ve been wondering about since seeing them drive around with bike riding human babysitters in sunny weather. Refraction AI has been featured in Mashable, TechCrunch, WIRED and the Washington Post.
Censys quickly grew from a University of Michigan student project into one of the hottest cybersecurity startups in the growing Ann Arbor security ecosystem. They specialize in attack surface management: making all a company’s online security vulnerabilities visible to be dealt with. Censys launched a new more comprehensive and easy to use product recently that’s putting them on the map with more mainstream businesses.
BrandXR is a one-of-a-kind no-code XR startup that helps users create augmented reality experiences through art murals, phone apps and more. Founded in Ann Arbor but growing in Orlando and Detroit, BrandXR now works with NASA, among many other cool clients.
EverActive is an IoT startup with offices in Santa Clara, Charlottesville (VA), and Ann Arbor. EverActive’s battery-free wireless sensors are powered from harvested energy and deliver continuous cloud-based analytics via solutions built upon advances in ultra-low-power circuit design and wireless communication. EverActive has won multiple awards, including a recent 2021 IDEA Innovation Award.
9. Groundspeed Analytics
Groundspeed Analytics is an AI-leveraged software startup that serves the insurance industry. The idea is to leverage AI to find a more efficient way to process quotes. Groundspeed recently announced a new strategic partnership with Unqork.
Nutshell is an Ann Arbor startup that has gone global with its CRM and email marketing platform. Their newest product offering completes a suite of products that help sales and marketing professionals stay organized as they reach out to customers.
ArborMetrix is an Ann Arbor startup dedicated to improving healthcare outcomes using data models and healthcare analytics for improved research. They serve medical specialty associations, medical provider organizations, device manufacturers, and pharma to give them a way to make sense of their data and drive better results for patients. As of 2020, they have partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics.
DynamoMetrics creates planning, reporting and analytics software for government agencies and public sector organizations. Modeling through DynamoMetrics software can help city governments prove out the likely efficacy of planning initiatives to help communicate the details and impact of public projects to stakeholders and the public. They have program partners across the state of Michigan in Detroit, Jackson and Battle Creek and are growing quickly.
Connectspace helps you create online and hybrid virtual events with end-to-end software. They’re based in Ann Arbor with an additional office in Detroit and work with big names like TEDx, Michigan Realtors, Pure Michigan Business Connect and other clients.
14. Ripple Science
Who manages recruiting and tracking clinical trial patients? Ripple Science out of Ann Arbor has created a better way to handle all the associated tasks and organization for this complex process. They accelerate enrollment and improve retainment of trial participants.
Kumanu is a workplace wellness program provider that aims to create better solutions for employees to avoid burnout, create resilience, and connect with their fellow employees for a greater sense of purpose and wellbeing. We love that they focus on purpose and true connection as the root of wellbeing for their programs. Clients including Google, Coursera, Promedica, Duke Health, and the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center.
16. Spellbound AR
Spellbound has gone from bootstrapped XR startup to award-winning company with a growing team. Founder Christina York created the tech to work as augmented reality for published books but quickly pivoted into healthcare when she found the technology could be readily used as pediatric patient distraction during medical procedures. They work with the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital and many other partners and recently launched an AR scavenger hunt game called Arise.
Enterprise file migration and data management is SkySync’s bread and butter. This Ann Arbor startup has created a seamless solution to a big problem for companies: how to migrate and store files and data while meeting compliance and data privacy requirements. Maybe not the sexiest topic, but an important one. They’re already trusted by clients including Nike, Dell, Disney, and P&G.
A genomics startup in Ann Arbor is a growing thing, just like cybersecurity. Genomenon, a genomics health IT company co-founded by serial Ann Arbor software entrepreneur Steve Schwartz, helps pharma and clinical diagnostics labs accelerate research and work for solutions for patients with rare genetic diseases and cancer. They were named 2020 Global Company of the Year in Clinical Genomics Interpretation by Frost & Sullivan.
FixMyCar is a newer startup out of Ann Arbor that is hiring locally and remotely for team members who want to support consumers in servicing their cars at home while mechanics make twice the wage they would at a mechanic shop. FixMyCar is backed by Mucker Capital, Marc Randolph (Netflix's founder and former CEO), Richard Wolpert (HelloTech CEO), Joe Malcoun (Cahoots and Nutshell founder) and various angel investors, so you know this startup is going places.
Nickels partners with financial institutions to help their customers manage student loan debt and credit card debt using behavioral science and coaching. The tech is white label ready and already used by Ann Arbor’s Lake Trust Credit Union.
21. Human Element
Human Element always seems to be on lists of growing Ann Arbor companies. That’s because this e-commerce startup has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic when every company out there needed an upgraded e-commerce platform or integration for online sales when customers switched overnight to fully remote shopping.
22. Blue Conduit
BlueConduit is a mission-driven tech startup that has helped Flint, Michigan, vastly speed up its locating of lead pipes that needed replacing in the Flint water crisis. They work with cities like Detroit, Toledo, and other municipalities to locate problems based on sometimes incomplete city records. The founders are from Ann Arbor, but this company now hires remotely and has a major job on its hand working with infrastructure cleanup across the US. Their solution was just named one of TIME's best inventions of 2021. Expect to see them everywhere soon.
LynxDx pivoted from cancer treatment to COVID-19 testing during the early pandemic, and now is one of the primary providers of rapid COVID-19 tests in Ann Arbor and for the large University of Michigan network of employees. As information about COVID-19 emerges from research, expect to see startups like LynxDx at the heart of treatment solutions.
Supply chains have become front-page news since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global networks of everything from furniture makers to grocery suppliers. Now there is FreightVerify, a supply chain visibility platform for complex supply chains. If you want to be on the front lines of the pandemic in tech, supply chain solutions are where it’s at right now.
CubeWorks’ CubiSens technology was developed on the Ann Arbor North Campus research block that is home to many innovative robotics and autonomous research facilities. CubeWorks is creating the world’s smallest sensors, to be used in IoT applications for pharmaceutical logistics, for environmental monitoring, and for temperature logging and reporting.
LearnDash has created the world’s most trusted online course platform for Wordpress. They’re used by Yoast, University of Michigan and more, and have earned awards from Capterra, G2 Crowd, and eLearning Industry for their online learning expert designed technology.
FreightRoll claims that its app-based, paperless trade documents can save shipping companies up to 30% of freight overhead costs. It’s also another solution to make your supply chain more visible. They have been recognized for this innovation in FreightDocs, FreightWaves, and Venture Michigan.
27. RightBrain Networks
RightBrain Networks is an end-to-end cloud development lifecycle solutions company based in Ann Arbor. With RightBrain, you can handle AWS migration, DevOps, and more. RightBrain is unique because of its early adoption of DevOps and its continued growth, with over 1500 client projects in 10 years. The company was founded by Jamie Begin, founder of the AWS Michigan User Group.
LoanSense was founded by Catalina Kaiyoorawongs and Ivan Herndon after they found that student loan repayment needed new solutions. LoanSense helps you find a repayment plan for your student loans so you don’t miss out on opportunities for forgiveness, consolidation, and repayment. The coolest thing about LoanSense is there is a one-time advice option for $47, or you can sign up for the concierge option that includes 4 months of full support.
With Movatic’s app, you can rent a bike, scooter, or bike locker from Movatic’s network of 300+ local operators. This is a system we can see scaling very well as shared mobility becomes an integrated part of transportation in the U.S.
Healpay isn’t just another payment processing company. They also enable users to automate workflows and resolve accounts. It’s a perfect system for collections attorneys, legal, auto finance, healthcare, and property management companies who need to keep on top of payments in a particular way.
Another delivery robot company testing in Ann Arbor, Bedestrian creates last-mile delivery solutions using autonomous bots. This startup is focused on hospitals and healthcare environments for usage, though their new Asimove robots are designed for use in uncontrolled busy settings.
PassiveBolt is a startup that sits at the intersection of home and vehicle security technology. They have developed automated security systems that aim to make moving from your vehicle to your home a seamless and hands-free experience. Now, they’re winning awards, picking up a recent win at CES in Vegas.
Honesti is a mental health app for college students founded by students at the University of Michigan. They have won $20k in funding from the inaugural A2EF pitch competition, have been incubated at the Zell Entrepreneurship Program, and won multiple awards for their project.
Mid-Sized Top Startups in Ann Arbor
1. Workit Health
Workit Health was founded to create online options for addiction recovery treatment. Based in Ann Arbor, this startup is one of the fastest growing healthtech companies in the area and is quickly expanding their team after raising $118 million in funding. That’s because Workit Health has worked with changing requirements for substance abuse treatment to create solutions that are more private, accessible, and affordable than traditional treatment options. Workit also combines substance abuse treatment with other commonly co-occurring treatment needs such as eating disorders and mental health for better outcomes.
2. Strata Oncology
Strata Oncology is a new genomics startup out of Ann Arbor’s west side, where many life sciences companies find wet lab space and room for growing headquarters. Strata’s mission is to create precision profiling and treatments for cancer patients. In 2021, Strata Oncology was given $90 million in funding from Pfizer, Merck, and other pharma companies to further their cancer testing research.
3. May Mobility
May Mobility was one of the first autonomous shuttle companies to emerge from Ann Arbor’s growing self-driving vehicle research scene, and continues its historic growth with local and remote hiring. They have been expanding services to multiple cities, and recently launched a self-driving shuttle service called A2GO around Ann Arbor.
Danny Ellis’s Skyspecs is a green company on a mission to make automated drone inspection of wind turbines the new normal, creating a preventative type of maintenance that’s safer, more proactive, and technologically efficient. Skyspecs now offers its own in-house developed turbine system management software to complete the suite of inspection product offerings for energy companies. They also just acquired Fincovi and Vertikal to further growth.
Daysmart is a software company that seemingly does it all: they coordinate automating appointments, tracking inventory, integrating payments, and marketing. DaySmart already has 20,000 users and 250 employees.
While Koddi is no longer a startup, they are still a great startup based in the Ann Arbor with offices around the world. Koddi helps create ad programs for business and have already driven $20 billion in transactions for customers. The Koddi platform helps with native sponsored placements, meta search and media campaigns. They also just won the Digiday Worklife Award for Most Collaborative Culture.
ITHAKA is the parent company of Ann Arbor-founded JSTOR, an online archiving service for academic libraries and institutions of higher learning used by many universities and libraries around the U.S. and the world. ITHAKA has expanded to include ARTSTOR, Portico, and ITHAKA S+R, which pulls together archiving of books, journals, art, and digital collections to preserve knowledge and make information more accessible for future generations. ITHAKA was just awarded $1.5 million from the Mellon Foundation to make JSTOR accessible to incarcerated college students.
Top Publicly-Traded or Acquired Tech Companies in Ann Arbor
KLA is a leading global tech company with a brand new headquarters in Ann Arbor. KLA semiconductors go into virtually every smart device you own, and they also have a hand in technology being developed for driverless cars, VR, and factory robotics. This is one of those tech companies you don’t realize you already rely on and are at the forefront of all new tech innovations.
2. Duo Security
Now part of Cisco after being acquired for $2.3 billion several years ago, Duo Security still maintains its Ann Arbor original headquarters and a culture that values work-life balance. The startup launched an entire ecosystem of cybersecurity startups after its acquisition, and continues to innovate in the multi-factor authentication space. Duo tech is used by Etsy, Facebook, Zillow, and RandomHouse.
Wisely is customer intelligence for restaurants. Customer intelligence helps restaurants profile customer preferences, sentiment, and habits to better serve them. Wisely is already used by brands like P.F. Chang’s to boost loyalty programs and better communicate with customers.
Amesite creates AI-driven, intuitive workforce training programs. They partner with Michigan Works, The Henry Ford, and more to create immersive learning environments. Working with both businesses and higher education, Amesite has been featured everywhere from FOX Business to Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, Forbes, CNBC, and Business Insider. They recently made headlines for their 100% retention rate for Detroit students.
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