ANN ARBOR, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At the conclusion of its latest Entrepreneur Boot Camp, Ann Arbor SPARK awarded Canopy its $25,000 Best of Boot Camp prize and Celant Innovations its $10,000 runner up prize. The winners were selected by an esteemed panel of experts who considered observations made by the Boot Camp teaching teams throughout the process as well as the quality of each entrepreneur’s investor pitch. For the first time, the Boot Camp panel of judges consisted of all women: Lauren Bigelow, Growth Capital Network; Angela Kujava, Desai Accelerator; and Sonali Vijayavargiya, Augment Ventures.
“Although we only award prizes to two of the participating companies, all of the entrepreneurs receive valuable education and assistance throughout the program, and Boot Camp ‘graduation’ is quite often the first step in Ann Arbor SPARK’s ongoing support of an entrepreneur,” said Bill Mayer, Ann Arbor SPARK vice president, entrepreneurial services. “It’s that early stage support – from advice to grants to access to mentors – that helps these company hit the road running. This spring Boot Camp attracted an exciting, diverse cohort of startups that we’re excited to watch grow.”
Boot Camp is designed for entrepreneurs who are prepared to assess and validate the feasibility of their business concept, build a business model, and find beta customers. Participants get hands-on assistance to test ideas over an intense multi-week program, interacting with multiple mentors and early stage investors. Boot Camp is funded by the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone (LDFA).
The winning company, Canopy, builds digital tools to help families talk about and make end-of-life healthcare decisions, and then share those decisions through a legal document with loved ones and medical providers.
“Canopy is honored to have been selected as Best of Boot Camp,” said Elisabeth Michel, co-founder. “This award will help support our team and accelerate our progress towards achieving key milestones, particularly as we further develop our product and build traction.”
Boot Camp runner up Celant Innovations develops and operates cloud-based and on-premises solutions relating to document drafting and analysis for legal, accounting and financial services industries. Celant Innovations’ founder, Jason Lee, explained that the company will use the prize money, “for developing additional features and sales and marketing efforts.”
About Ann Arbor SPARK
Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone (LDFA), Washtenaw County etcs/Michigan Works!, the City of Ann Arbor, Bank of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit www.AnnArborUSA.org.