ECE Innovator Program

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ECE Innovator Program

Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan has launched the ECE Innovator Program, which is aimed at inspiring and facilitating the commercialization of research conducted in ECE. The program will provide financial support to a team of entrepreneurs with both technical and product management skills.

The program acknowledges ECE as a hub of top-notch research and  innovation that has led to significant commercialization of the intellectual property generated by its faculty and students. 

The ECE Innovator Program is made possible through a donation by ECE alumnus and serial entrepreneur Rick Bolander, Managing Director and co-founder of Gabriel Venture Partners and eLab Ventures. ECE has matched Bolander's donation to launch the program.

ECE Innovator Program Past Events
Click here for past events, including kick-off meeting slides and presentations

A team of 2 or more including at least one past or present ECE graduate student, post-doc, or researcher, and at least one individual with expertise in product management. The innovation should be based on technology produced in ECE. 

A total of $75,000 will be provided for a period of 6-12 months.  The funds could be used to cover personnel costs for positions at the University of Michigan, commercialization plans, prototype development, and launching of a start-up company aimed at commercializing a disruptive and innovative technology developed through ECE research.

- Announcement of ECE Innovator Program:  April 23, 2018
- Information Session and Mixer: May 15, 2018
- Startup Launch Workshop by Jonathan Fay: June TBD, 2018
Proposal Deadline: July 9, 2018
- Finalists Announced: August 31, 2018
- Finalists Presentation to Selection Panel: September 21, 2018
- ECE Innovator Announced: September 28, 2018
- Program Funding Start Date: November 1, 2018

Proposals are limited to 6 pages (12pt font, times new roman, 1-inch margins) and should provide the following information about the innovation activity that will be facilitated through this program:

  • What is Disruptive about the Innovation?  What is the existing state-of-the-art solution to be displaced?  What features of the innovation are novel over the existing state-of-the-art?
  • What pain does it solve for a customer (please provide any customer discovery feedback)?  What are the benefits and value of those novel features?
  • What addressable market does it serve?
  • What are the technical risks?  What is the development timeline?
  • What is the appropriate price, the cost and quantitative benefit to customer (include ROI)?
  • What is the status of the IP, and whether it is available to the future company?
  • Who are team members and what is their role (attach 2-page bio for each member, not included in the page limit).  Any team is required to include product management experience.
  • Budget, how will the $75K be used and what are the expected outcomes over the 6-12 month duration of the program?  A prototype of the innovative technology should be developed by the end of this program.
  • Have you received other funding?  If so, how much and from what source?

Proposals, in the form of a pdf file, and/or questions about this award should be submitted to Mrs. Lisa Armstrong at the following email address by July 1, 2018 with the subject of “ECE Innovator Proposal.”

May 8, 2018