Lean Rocket Lab Looking for Next Great Michigan Manufacturing Startup

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Business incubator Lean Rocket Lab will host a pitch night Tuesday, August 13, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at its downtown Jackson location to provide exposure and support to Michigan’s most promising manufacturing-technology and hardware startups.

JACKSON, Mich. — The Lean Rocket Lab event will see five finalists from across the state pitch their ideas to a judging panel featuring six industry experts, with the winner receiving $20,000 and curated networking opportunities for attendees with Jackson’s manufacturing industry leaders and investors.

“We’re excited to be hosting our first pitch night, as well as the overwhelming interest we’ve received with more than 45 applications submitted,” said Brandon Marken, founder and CEO of Lean Rocket Lab. “Not only will this event provide aspiring entrepreneurs and startups an opportunity to expand their networks and compete for funding, but it will help showcase the innovative ecosystem we have established here in Jackson County.”

Lean Rocket Lab is part of the Jackson area SmartZone supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) that offers coworking and meeting spaces in downtown Jackson to help aspiring entrepreneurs catalyze their business ideas. With its strategic location, it offers access to experts, capital, prototyping, engineering, IP, marketing and technology resources. It opened in December 2018.

The August 13 pitch night will be the first such event hosted by the Jackson SmartZone and is open to all members of the Lean Rocket Lab community. Judges of the competition will include:

  • Martin Dober, senior vice president and managing director of Invest Detroit Ventures
  • Ken Johnson, founder of Phase 10
  • Eric Boorom, founder and managing partner of Worth Investment Group and Qualite Sports Lighting
  • Chris Rizik, CEO and fund manager of Renaissance Venture Capital Fund
  • Kimberly Gamez, CEO and founder of Mi Padrino
  • Andrew McColm, cofounder of Fusion Coolant Systems

“Events like Lean Rocket Lab’s pitch night are proof Michigan has a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem that makes our state a highly desirable and successful destination for high-tech startups,” said Fred Molnar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation at the MEDC. “Resources and opportunities are available across the state to help tech entrepreneurs develop their innovative ideas.”

The MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech startup companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more on the MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation visit www.michiganbusiness.org/entrepreneurship.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.