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news in review
Five of the most talked-about stories of the week, ranked in ascending order of actual importance
Kirsch said the city must establish a solid pool Within the University, the CFE and Zell Lurie
of startups with strong financing mechanisms. Institute are the most prominent entrepreneur-
That, coupled with a workforce that can provide ial supporters. The Zell Lurie Institute manages
both innovation and leadership, is what will the Michigan Business Challenge and the Dare
help Ann Arbor join the ranks ofother entrepre- to Dream grants, and in the last 10 years it has
neurial-based cities like Silicon Valley. awarded $700,000 in grants and almost half a
But while Michigan has opportunity and an million dollars through the Business Challenge.
innovative workforce, many say the manage- Along with educational resources, a key
menet-leadership aspect and financial support component of the CFE is venture creation and
have yet to completely come to fruition. acceleration, illustrated most prominently in
"One of the problems that Michigan has suf- TechArb, a student venture workspace created in
fered with is that there just isn't enough venture May 2009 that plays host to about 30 employees
capital," said Elizabeth Parkinson, director of of nine student startups.
marketing and public relations for Ann Arbor "We started TechArb with a group of students
SPARK. "Some of that is starting to change. It's who wanted a space, and we were going to start
not happening to the extent that it is on the West it in the fall, but they didn't want to wait for us,"
or East Coast, but it's certainly happening." Klinke said. "They just went ahead and found
SPARK and the University's myriad entrepre- some free space in the basement of the Google
n'erial support systems are actively working building, put money in a pot, bought tables from
toward establishing Ann Arbor as a hot spot for IKEA and called it BYOC - bringyour own chair."
This semester, TechArb relo-
cated to a fourth-floor space
'As a newly graduated university down the hall from SPARK in
an office building on Liberty
s ~ ~ ~ tud td u av th a iltyt Street. The space is smaller, but
student, you 'have Uhe AM1t0 the close proximity promotes
collaboration between the two
take on quite a bit of risk." organizations.b
"We're all friends and there's
quite a bit of overlap between
investment and business creation, however, and what we do, so we can bounce ideas off each
the economic crisis has dramatically acceler- other, get feedback, get advice. So it's really just a
ated that endeavor. great collaborative environment," said Eric Gar-
cia of Phonagle, a startup specializing in mobile
SPARKING INNOVATION social games.
All of the startups in TechArb are technology
Since its founding in 2005 by local academic based, from iPhone application developments to
and business leaders, SPARK has served to esca- social networking sites. They receive business
late awareness and cooperation with the Uni- mentorship from the CFE, but the science behind
versity's entrepreneurial organizations. State their projects remains in the students' hands.
and local funding has also increased to support "These guys are on the cutting edge," CFE's
SPARK's steady growth. But recently, entrepre- Klinke said. "At TechArb, they are more ahead of
neurial interest from students and members of what's happening than people of my generation,
the community has skyrocketed. so they're poised to be very successful because
"The real thing that's happened this past year they're really in it and we're supportingthem."
is the explosion in the financial markets and the Klinke said the companies are acutely aware of
collapse of the Detroit Three - General Motors, their participation in creating Ann Arbor's entre-
Ford and Chrysler," Parkinson said. "We've had preneurial ecosystem.
a lot of people, students included, turning to "one of these companies could be the next Dell
entrepreneurship as a career path. It's almost or the next Google, so we look at how can we sup-
double the amount of business plans we've port these students to stay here and not go to Cal-
r ieived." ifornia," Klinke added. "Part of what I'm trying
. Last year, SPARK received close to 150 plans to do is help them plug into this entrepreneurial
for new businesses, and Parkinson projects that ecosystem."
number will top 300 this year. Of those plans, MPowered is another critical student-initi-
SPARK will choose 50 to 60 to turn into busi- ated element of Ann Arbor's entrepreneurial
ness accelerator engagements, fast-forwarding ecosystem. Ashwin Lalendran and Israel Vizars
them through business formation and commer- founded the group in 2007 after they went to
cialization, looking to turn a profit. Stanford University to meet with venture capital-
"The more that we can get to commercial- ists. While at Stanford; the two realized that Ann
ization as quickly as possible, the more that are Arbor, with its increased entrepreneurial aware-
going to survive," Parkinson said. ness, could develop an entrepreneurial economy
Despite the massive increase in proposals, similar to that of the Silicon Valley.
"Snowmageddon" hit the D.C. area
last week, bringing almost five feet
of snow. Locals rushed to stock
up on supplies, and several local
universities cancelled classes as
the city virtually shut down. Guys,
it's called a snow plow.
Iconic and daring British fashion Three f
designer, Alexander McQueen, on Frid
was found dead on Thursday, the biology
start of New York Fashion Week. It of Alab
is believed McQueen committed fire dur
suicide in the wake of his mother's the sho
death earlier this month. she wo
t ..... . - . - - . . . . . . .
aculty members were killed Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritash-
ay when Dr. Amy Bishop, a vili, 21, was killed Friday after he lost
'professor at the University control of his sled during a practice
ama in Huntsville, opened run at the Whistler Sliding Centre in
ring a staff meeting. Prior to Vancouver. Kumaritashvili was trav-
toting, Bishop was informed eling nearly 90 miles an hour before
uldn't receive tenure. he crashed into a support beam.
---.---..--- ..- .,---
It was announced last week that
President Barack Obama will be
the keynote speaker at the Univer-
sity's spring commencement. His
speech will mark the fourth time a
United States president has deliv-
ered the graduation speech.
"If you look at any of the successful entrepre-
neurial towns across the country, Ann Arbor has
the exact same setup," Leland said. "The Bay
Area, or Boston or Boulder, Colorado, they have
large research universities, they have a campus
that's interlaced with commercial business and
they have educated, interesting, motivated peo-
ple. So the University of Michigan is really going
to drive this spark for more entrepreneurship."
MPowered hosts numerous events during the
year that bring attention to entrepreneurship, but
what it's most well-known for is the 1,000 Pitches
Competition and the Career Fair, which features
startups and small companies.
The 1,000 Pitches Competition,. which
prompts students to proffer business ideas
through recorded videos, drew 2,165 pitches this
fall - double the number from the year before.
The Career Fair also saw record numbers in Jan-
uary with 80 startups showcased at the event and
an estimated 2,000 attendees.
Klinke considers this vital to the student
entrepreneurial movement on campus.
"The MPowered student group is really key to
our success," she said. "Because if an old person
like me talks about entrepreneurship, it's just,
like, 'What do I know?' But if one of your peers
talks about it, it can make it more exciting."
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
This amplified attention to entrepreneur-
ship has motivated more University students to
dive into startups, but the recession continues
to be one of the biggest factors drawing student
interest. With inherent instability in both career-
track jobs and entrepreneurial ventures, students
are becoming more willing to take on the risks
associated with entrepreneurship, and delve
head first into a new project or startup.
University alum Jason Bornhorst started two
companies in the last two years and joined a
startup company based in TechArb.
The 23-year-old graduated with a bachelor's
degree in computer science engineering from the
University in December, but his involvement in
startups began long before graduation.
"As I was coming up on graduation, I definitely
wasn't looking forward to searching for a job,
and I figured that my prospects would probably
be grim," Bornhorst said. "As a newly graduated
university student, you have the ability to take
on quite a bit of risk, and in that sense it makes
complete sense to go work for a startup or to start
your own company."
Though initial startups often fold, Bornhorst
explained that failure is OK. He could always
start over, he said, and apply the lessons learned
to the next endeavor. -
"It's multitudes more worth it than going to get
some entry-level job atsome company - and that's
even assuming you can get that job," he said.
Bornhorst said he draws his knowledge from
experience. In the summer of 2008, he began his
first startup, a social networking site called Cam-
pus Roost, with a $25,000 grant from the Univer-
sity. The startup ultimately failed, but Bornhorst
took those lessons, which he said could fill an
entire book, and applied them to his subsequent
After Campus Roost, Bornhurst set off to
develop DoGood, a non-profit iPhone applica-
tion that tracks the daily "good deeds" of its
users. Since its creation, the application has been
downloaded 70,000 times, generating more than
300,000 "good deeds" to date.
When a Minnesota-based mobile applica-
tion company, Mobiata, moved to Ann Arbor six
months ago, Bornhorst joined the company as an
engineer. Mobiata exceeded $1 million in revenue
its first year, and its mobile travel apps - includ-
ing FlightTrack, HotelPal and TripDeck - have
been featured in high-profile technology publica-
tions, television commercials and have all been in
the top five in the iPhone travel application store
at some point.
Now that the company has shown it can
be profitable, it will soon need to move out of
TechArb. But Bornhorst sees a strong future with
Mobiata and Ann Arbor, noting that companies
like these are needed for the city.
"Large companies grow and get big, and then
because of that they slow down, and it's a great
opportunity for smaller, more agile startups,
such as student businesses, to identify a need and
See ENTREPRENEURSHIP, Page 8B
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quotes of the week on the cheap
"I have a supremacist dick that is rather white supremacist. I How to be a cheap date
possess a Benetton heart and a fuckin'David Duke cock andI
am going to date separately from my dick."
Singer/songwriter JOHN MAYER answering the question "Do black women throw
themselves at you?" during an interview with Playboy.
"We're ending it across the board."
Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager ROBERT BOBB on his plans to
sign an executive order ending social promotion - advancing students to the next
grade level even if they're not ready. Bobb's announcment followed a story in the
Detroit Free Press about a graduate of Denby High School - a Detroit public school
- who was unable to read her diploma.
"Everyone says that Canada will own the podium. That's fine
by us. We'll just rent it for the month."
American snowboarder NATE HOLLAND quoting American.aerial Olympic gold iLLUSTRATION BY KATIE EBERTS
medalist Nikki Stone on the United States's hope for the Vancouver games. B eing wined and dined is fun, but do you ever feel guilty watching your girlfriend/boy-
friend/prospective lover spend his or her hard-earned money in an effort to impress
you? Get with these tough economic times and learn how to be cheap date.
the rules Follow these instructions if dinner and a movie are on the agenda: when you get to the
restaurant, pretend you didn't know the evening's plans included food and say you've already
eaten, though you're more than happy to sit and watch your partner eat his or her meal.
No. 251: No. 252: No. 253: If your date insists on feeding you, and the thought of watching someone eat weirds you
has had If you insist on us- out, suggest a romantic trip to Whole Foods during the mid-afternoon - prime free sample
Pajama pants Everyone atime. Spend hours wandering the aisles helping yourselves to delicious, and free, food.
shouldn't be worn out- Olympic aspirations at ing ChatRoulette, For the'movie portion of the evening, feign nyctophobia - fear of the dark - and instead
side of your house, But one point - there's no please, don't to it rent a film from AskWith to the tune of zero dollars. Watching in a private setting like your
den or bedroom is more conducive to extracarricular activities anyway.
sweatpants? Totally need to tell everyone by yourself. Oh, and Have advice for life on the cheap? Let us know. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
kosher. about your's. keep your shirt on.
by the numberscoURTESY OF H ARPER'S AND T H E UNITED STATES CENSUS BUREAU
Percent of American women who report Average number of mar- Number of Valentine's Day
believing in love at first sight compared riages that take place in cards exchanged annually
to 66 percent of men who believe in it the U.S. every day in the United States