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2013 Tech Report Year In Review — The Third Quarter, July-September

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July

* Lansing-based biotech firm Neogen Corp. (Nasdaq: NEOG) acquired the assets of SyrVet Inc., a veterinary instrument business based in Waukee, Iowa. Price and other terms weren’t immediately disclosed.

* Central Michigan University students and faculty are able to increase their scientific research on the Great Lakes thanks to the purchase of a 32.5-foot vessel by the CMU College of Science and Technology.

* Merit Network, Inc. announced the completion of three key segments of its Round II REACH-3MC network build-out: Grand Rapids to Big Rapids, Rose City to Oscoda, and Hillman to Posen. In 2010, Merit Network received two federal stimulus awards totaling $102 million for REACH-3MC — the Rural, Education, Anchor, Community and Health care – Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative — 2,287 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure in rural and underserved areas throughout Michigan.

* GreenLancer.com, a Web-based provider of engineering and services for solar energy projects, announced it had secured another $222,500 to complete its A round financing of $500,000. Launched in 2011, GreenLancer.com combines cloud computing with a national network of green energy engineering freelancers (or “greenlancers”) who are highly skilled at developing and engineering plans to meet clients’ diverse energy needs.

* Compuware and a New York hedge fund, Elliot Management, have extended a standstill agreement between them to Sept. 15. Elliott proposed an $11-a-share buyout of Michigan’s biggest tech company last December. Compuware rejected the offer as too low in January. The two sides have been in periodic negotiations since. Elliott and its affiliates own 18.67 million shares of Compuware stock,

* The Michigan Angel Fund, a $2 million professionally managed equity fund focused on capital efficient early stage companies located in Michigan, recently closed the fund to new investors, and began investing in early stage companies.

* The Allegan generic and store-brand health products maker Perrigo Co. announced early Monday that it would acquire Ireland-based drugmaker Elan Corp.. plc for $8.6 billion (5.6 billion pounds). Under the transaction, Elan will be acquired by a new holding company incorporated in Ireland — called, for now, New Perrigo.

August

* Michigan’s largest private equity firm, Beringea LLC, Monday announced a $3 million investment in Freeosk Inc., a provider of high-tech kiosks that offer free samples of products, with operations in St. Joseph and Chicago.

* More than 100 aviation industry, economic development and government officials gathered Thursday in Alpena for the kickoff of the Michigan Advanced Aerial Systems Consortium. The group is pushing to have the Federal Aviation Administration name Alpena as one of just six national unmanned aerial systems test sites in the country. There are currently 25 applicants.

* Chicago-based Coyote Logistics LLC will establish a new location in Ann Arbor, a $1.2 million investment that will generate up to 125 new jobs.

* Livio Radio has rolled out two new products aimed at automakers and car audio makers as it completes its transition from Internet radio company to software company. Livio Keys is a Web-based system that allows automakers to offer deals through car audio systems. Livio’s other new technology is called the FM Traffic Button, a one-touch traffic system for car audio system with advertising the automaker can sell.

* Ford Motor Co. said late Thursday it would cut its gas mileage claims on its C-Max Hybrid and will write “goodwill” checks to current C-Max Hybrid owners and leaseholders to make up for earlier claims. Ford said the original 47 mpg claim in city and highway driving for C-Max Hybrid was done under current EPA testing rules. But based on real-world driver complaints, and after further testing, Ford is cutting the mileage label claim on its 2013 C-Max Hybrid to 43 mpg.

* A data security breach at Ferris State University put identifying information of thousands of people at risk of being accessed, and the school is offering free credit monitoring as a precaution to those affected, officials said.

* Lawrence Technological University has received a $20 million gift to support its “Proud Heritage, Bold Future” capital campaign. It is the largest cash gift in the 4,500-student private university’s 81-year history. The gift will be used to help fund the planned Richard E. Marburger STEM Center, which will support existing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs at LTU and introduce new programs.

* Software from iDashboards turns reams and reams of raw data into useful information that can be analyzed in an instant. The company has just moved into a floor and a half of space at 900 Tower Drive in Troy, about 22,000 square feet. The company is now up to 67 employees and has six job openings right now in sales, marketing and professional services.

* A new wrinkle on restaurant review websites has launched nationwide and will be adding new services by the end of the month. The site, http://myfab5.com, is the brain child of a team of University of Michigan graduates and students.

* Revolution Lighting Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: RVLT), a Stamford, Conn.-based manufacturer of LED lighting technology, has acquired Relume Technologies, a Beringea, LLC portfolio company based in Oxford, Mich. that manufacturers outdoor LED products and smart grid control systems for outdoor lighting applications.

September

* A yearlong controversy over the bland, pole-barn appearance of an expansion at a high-tech company in a Lansing neighborhood has apparently ended. The Walnut Neighborhood Organization, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and particle accelerator manufacturer Niowave Inc. announced an agreement to enhance the appearance of the 14,000-square-foot addition on Niowave’s property, the former Walnut Street School in Lansing.

* More than 150 economic development officials and dozens of inventors, entrepreneurs and makers gathered in East Lansing for the Innovate Michigan Summit. The event was sponsored by the MSU University Center for Regional Economic Innovation. Topics included barriers to more tech-based entrepreneurship in the western Upper Peninsula, green entrepreneurship, youth-based tech entrepreneurship in Detroit, skills and training gaps, navigating the business permit process in Detroit and more.

* General Motors’ former Willow Run plant is being positioned for redevelopment as a connected vehicle research center. The Detroit-based contractor Devon Industrial Group will manage the dismantling and removal of the industrial buildings on the property, where bombers were built during World War II, supervising the Bloomfield Hills demolition and environmental remediation firm MCM Management. Then, Walbridge Development LLC, an affiliate of the Walbridge Group Inc., plans to redevelop the 332-acre property into a shared R&D center and test track for connected vehicles.

* The Grand Rapids IT firm Atomic Object has acquired Ann Arbor software development firm SRT Solutions. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

* Detroit Metropolitan Airport Monday announced the launch of new, upgraded its free Wi-Fi service throughout both passenger terminals. Airport customers can now enjoy unlimited wireless internet access at no cost — and at higher speeds — following the transition of the airport’s wireless infrastructure to network provider Advanced Wireless Group LLC.

* An overflow crowd packed the 600-seat Community Arts Auditorium at Wayne State University to hear about how high tech can accelerate the recovery of Detroit in the second annual Techonomy Detroit conference.

* A new iPhone app sponsored by Oakwood Healthcare means to make it easier to manage your health and connect to health services. Oakwood’s Medical Avatar app can be personalized to show a three-dimensional image of the user’s body. Users can also download a photo of their face that is melded onto the body image.

* TechShop, a California membership-based do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication center, Monday announced a goal to raise $60 million to build more TechShop centers across the country, including one in Grand Rapids. TechShop already has a location in Allen Park in a former Ford Motor Co. engineering center.

* Shares in Detroit’s newest tech stock soared Thursday, the first day of their trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Shares of Covisint Corp. (Nasdaq: COVS) jumped 23 percent to close at $12.31 a share after the company’s initial public offering of 6.4 million shares went on the market at Thursday’s open at $10 a share. The shares hit as high as $13.74 during the day. Covisint is a subsidiary of the Detroit software and IT services provider Compuware Corp. (Nasdaq: CPWR). It provides secure business communication technology.

* Ford Motor Co. has acquired the Ferndale-based in-car connectivity technology developer Livio for an undisclosed sum. The company says it will keep its storefront location in Ferndale and its employees. Livio, which formerly made its own line of Internet radios and other hardware under the Livio Radio brand, offers software called Livio Connect, designed to make smartphone interaction (the art of pairing your handset with your car) simpler for developers and easier for users.

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