Varsity News Network Wins Big at the 2013 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition by Taking Home $500,000 Cash Grand Prize

Grand Valley State’s own Soletics awarded $25,000 for best student business idea

DETROIT--()--For the fourth year in a row, the judges have spoken by awarding more than $1 million in cash and prizes to the winners of this year’s Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, with the grand prize winner, Varsity News Network of Grand Rapids, Mich. taking home the $500,000 cash grand prize for its innovative web and mobile student athletics platform.

The evenings’ gala and awards ceremony at Detroit’s historic Orchestra Hall – keynoted by newly appointed VMware CIO Tony Scott – capped off another highly successful year for the competition, as investors from 77 global firms, along with more than 50 entrepreneurs and 35 student competitors from around the world, participated in this year’s festivities.

“I must say, we saw some exceptional competition this year, businesses and students alike; their passion for technology and innovation is truly awe inspiring,” said Paula Sorrell, Vice President of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Venture Capital at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “The collaborative efforts of our entrepreneurial, investor, education, and economic development partners, year over year, are equally as impressive; the competition would not be possible without all of their support, so on behalf of the entire Accelerate Michigan program, we want to thank you all for another outstanding year!”

About the 2013 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition Winner

Varsity News Network is a web and mobile platform that enables high school athletic directors to manage critical communication and create media coverage for athletic programs and athletes. Its platform aggregates local high school audiences across one system for all their sports information, creating a single channel through which brands, vendors and products reach individual scholastic communities, at scale.

“We’re thrilled to win the Accelerate Michigan competition. Thanks to the $500,000 investment, we’ll be able to expand our product offering and develop our mobile platform,” said Ryan Vaughn, Founder and CEO of the competition’s grand prize winner, Varsity News Network. “Our mobile app is the next big step towards our goal… to provide unprecedented access to the triumphs, stories, media, and memories that shape the lives of student athletes and their families; we could not be more excited!"

In addition to Varsity News Network taking home top honors, Covaron Advanced Materials was awarded the $100,000 runner-up prize, followed by REL, Inc. who received $50,000 for third place. Additional competition awards and recognition can be found below.

Company Sector Awards & Winners – $25,000 Cash Prize

  • NextEnergy Transportation and New Mobility Award – Wave Aircraft
  • DTE Alternative Energy Award – Inmantech, Inc.
  • Masco Advanced Materials Award – Lite Brake
  • Comcast Information Technology Award - PlanReaction
  • Life Science Award – Cure Launcher
  • Medical Device Award – ENT Biotech Solutions
  • Next Generation Manufacturing Award – AutoBike
  • Products & Services Award – PinDrop, Inc.

People's Choice Award – $10,000 Cash Prize

  • Turtle Cell

Student Competition Awards & Winners

  • Soletics – Grand Award Winner, $25,000
  • SIB Medical Technologies, LLC – Second Prize Award Winner, $15,000
  • AirFuel – Third Prize Award Winner, $10,000

About Accelerate Michigan and Its Partners

About the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is an international business competition offering more than $1 million in cash prizes and in-kind awards. The competition is a collaborative effort of the New Economy Initiative, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Quicken Loans / Opportunity Detroit and the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan. For more information, visit

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About the Michigan Economic Development Corporation 21st Century Jobs Fund

About The New Economy Initiative

About Quicken Loans and Opportunity Detroit




Racepoint Group, Inc.
Paul Doyle, 617-624-3200

Release Summary

Varsity News Network Wins Big at the 2013 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition by Taking Home $500,000 Cash Grand Prize


Racepoint Group, Inc.
Paul Doyle, 617-624-3200