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The Top Tech Report Stories Of 2013: First Quarter

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mattroush Matt Roush
Matt Roush joined WWJ Newsradio 950 in September 2001 to spearhead the...
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January

* Neogen Corp. announced Thursday that it has acquired the assets of Scidera Genomics LLC, an animal genomics business based in Davis, Calif. The 15-employee company, formerly operated as MetaMorphix Inc., or MMI Genomics, was a pioneer in the development of cattle, poultry, swine, and canine genetic testing.

* Dow Corning Corp. in Midland announces the layoff of 500 employees, mostly among its professional ranks. Later in the month, Hemlock Semiconductor, a Dow Corning joint venture making silicon for solar panels and microchips, announces the layoff of 400.

* Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc., the Internet’s largest lender, announced it closed more than $70 billion in home loan volume in 2012, a 133 percent increase over the $30 billion previous record set in 2011.

* On Jan. 3, the United States Department of Energy announced that it has awarded Novozymes and Lansing’s MBI International up to $2.5 million to develop new enzyme-based technologies to convert corn stover (that’s the leftovers from corn harvesting) into sugars for subsequent conversion into biofuels.

* Huron Capital Partners LLC announced today that it has recently completed the first and final closing of its fourth investment fund, The Huron Fund IV L.P., with $500 million in aggregate commitments.

* DTE Energy announced that it exceeded its 2012 target for spending with Michigan-based companies last year as part of its ongoing commitment to the Pure Michigan Business Connect Initiative. Through December, DTE Energy spent $826 million with Michigan-based suppliers, compared with $598 million spent in 2011 and $475 million in 2010.

* The state of Michigan’s official travel and tourism Web site, michigan.org, is once again the most visited state tourism Web site in the country. The site attracted more visits than any other state tourism website for the sixth year in a row, according to the independent online measurement company Experian Hitwise.

* The software and IT services provider Compuware Corp. reported net income of $25.3 million or 12 cents a share in the third fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, up from $21.6 million or 10 cents in the same quarter a year ago.

* The Michigan Economic Development Corp. Wednesday announced a new effort to attract entrepreneurial college students from around the country and connect them with the resources they’ll need to create and sustain a successful Michigan business. LiveWorkLaunch, based on MEDC’s successful LiveWorkDetroit career networking program, will showcase opportunities available in Michigan for graduates looking to build a business, and connect them to the support and capital required to take an innovative business plan from concept to reality.

* Compuware Corp. rejected an $11-a-share buyout offer from a New York hedge fund, Elliott Management Corp. Compuware officials said the offer “significantly undervalues the company and is not in the best interest of shareholders.”

February

* Allegan-based Perrigo Co. announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Yardley, Pa.-based Velcera Inc. for $160 million in cash.

* Red Level Networks, a Michigan-based provider of IT products and services, announced that it has completed its office expansion in its headquarters in Novi. The company said office expansion comes as a result of significant growth in clients and the need for additional engineers and staff.

* TechTown is launching a venture accelerator program. Under the competitive program, “companies will spend 12 weeks developing their concepts from idea to launch or incubation and recruiting high performance tech teams,” TechTown president and CEO Leslie Smith said.

* Beringea and the Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group have launched Michigan Growth Capital Partners II L.P., a $180 million fund dedicated to providing growth equity to Michigan companies. Also, Grow Michigan LLC, a collaboration of the Michigan banking community, Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan Strategic Fund, Monday announced the completion of its $30 million initial round of capitalization and commencement of investing operations.

* A new set of map-based visualizations by John Nelson of the Lansing data visualization company IDV Solutions shows the extent of flooding in the New York City area following Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

* Less than three years after the first person moved in, the University of Michigan has transformed a vacant former pharmaceutical company complex into a vibrant hub for research — an achievement marked this week with the move of the 2,000th person to the North Campus Research Complex, the 2.1-million-square-foot research center Pfizer Corp. sold to UM for a song.

March

Stik, a Detroit-based reviews Web site driving local referrals for professional services, announced Monday that it has closed a $2.3 million Series A financing. The round was co-led by North Coast Technology Ventures and Detroit Venture Partners. Draper Associates, First Step Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Automation Alley also participated in the round.

* A new $7.5 million fund will help University of Michigan medical discoveries make the leap from the laboratory to the market, accelerating their potential to help patients. Funded in part by a new $2.4 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s 21st Century Jobs Fund, the new effort will help the UM Medical School and UM Tech Transfer identify, nurture and “fast forward” medical research projects with a high potential of commercial success.

* Billhighway, the Troy-based provider of cloud-based financial management solutions for nonprofit organizations, announces the availability of Billhighway Give, an app that brings together data integration, branding, campaign tracking and motivational tools for nonprofit fundraising campaigns.

* Detroit has become the only two-time winner on the top five list of fastest growing tech cities, according to the New York City tech job site Dice.com. Detroit was No. 5 on the list this year, with year-over-year growth of 10 percent in tech job listings. Detroit was No. 1 on the list in 2011.

* Lansing-based Neogen Corp. announced it has seen a spike in sales of its rapid meat speciation test kits as beef processors scramble to respond to the unscrupulous use of horse meat, and other species of meat, in the “economic adulteration” of beef products.

* Detroit-based Detroit Venture Partners announced a second round of funding for iRule, a platform for home entertainment automation that makes it easier for consumers to control their home theater system with a universal remote control anytime from anywhere from a mobile device.

* Rock Ventures announced the acquisition of the 1001 Woodward office tower. The 23-story 1001 Woodward features 275,000 square feet of Class A office space. The building was designed by Detroit-based SmithGroup, and built in 1965 for the First Federal Savings and Loan of Detroit. It is home to GalaxE.Solutions, Meridian Health Plan, the University of Phoenix and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, among others. The property was 68 percent occupied when acquired. Quicken Loans said it will lease 65,000 square feet, bringing the occupancy of the building to 87 percent.

* Finally, a big-budget movie is coming to Michigan under the state’s shrunken film incentive program. The Michigan Film Office announced Wednesday the feature film Transformers 4 has been approved for a film incentive from the state.

* Lakeshore Express Aviation has announced they will start flight service between Oakland County International Airport (PTK) and Chicago Midway (MDW) on June 7. Lakeshore Express operates out of private terminals at both airports, eliminating the time and hassle associated with flying out of Detroit Metro Airport. Flights on Lakeshore Express’ Saab 340b aircraft will run Thursday through Sunday between destinations.

* Logic Solutions Inc. and Larky, a venture-backed startup also based in Ann Arbor, Monday announced the updated Larky mobile app and Web site. Larky reminds people of all the perks of the many loyalty and reward programs many people belong to.

* Elena Semouchkina, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University, and her graduate student, Xiaohui Wang, reported successful experimental demonstration of making objects invisible to microwave-length electromagnetic waves with both artificial “metamaterials” and common materials such as ceramics. It’s a step on the road to real-life invisibility cloaking.

* Grid Logic, a technology company in Lapeer, has been awarded a $3.8 million grant through the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy of the United States Department of Energy, and another $3.8 million from NextEnergy, the state’s advanced energy industry accelerator, to work on room-temperature superconducting wire for utility applications.

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