TRAVERSE CITY — This week’s TCNewTech meet-up was all about health and how health-related technology might boost Traverse City’s economy.
“You guys are on the precipice of something massive in this community,” said keynote speaker Mike Biselli, who operates Catalyst HTI, a health-tech shared workspace in Denver.
He was referring to the economic opportunity lurking in the rapidly growing health technology field.
Biselli created his first startup company in 2011 and sold it in 2013. Then he turned his energies to creating a collaborative environment specifically designed to bring a variety of health-related enterprises under one roof where people can talk about how their segments of the healthcare industry can intersect and innovate.
“At the end of the day, this industry touches every one of us,” he said of health.
The special February edition of TCNewTech’s monthly gathering was co-sponsored by the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. The event nearly filled the available seats on the main floor of City Opera House.
GTRCF President and CEO David Mengebier said the organization is pushing forward with efforts to grow the region’s health ecosystem, create technologies that improve access to care and provide local jobs.
TCNewTech and the foundation are two of a group of local organizations working to build local health-related industry. Other involved groups include Munson Healthcare, investment group Boomerang Catapult, and startup hub and technology incubator 20Fathoms.
Two presenters competed in a $1,000 pitch competition focused on health technology.
Dan Kincaid of Sense Diagnostics had five minutes to pitch his company’s emerging technology of a device that uses low-power radar to detect blood flow inside the brain. Kincaid is seeking $5 million in investment to pursue development of the technology intended for use by first responders to detect internal bleeding.
Yale Zhang of SPLT had five minutes to pitch his company’s enterprise carpooling app. SPLT, pronounced “split,” refers to the idea that multiple riders can split the fare for a shared ride. The company’s app facilitates connections. Zhang spoke about SPLT’s initiative to expand into the Grand Traverse area, specifically with rides for people with mobility issues and for medical visits.
Attendees voted, via cellphone text, to award the $1,000 to SPLT.
Boomerang Catapult investor Casey Cowell introduced Les Cook, Michigan Technological University vice president for Strategic University Partnerships.
The Houghton-based school began talking in 2017 with business leaders in Traverse City about opportunities for collaboration. Among those opportunities is developing progressive methods of education delivery that complement the traditional campus experience. Dialogue between the university and Traverse City leaders has continued. The most recent contact was a November visit to town by university President Richard Koubek.
“We know Traverse City is a natural place for us,” said Cook.
The next step in the collaboration process, he said, is to craft a memorandum of understanding with Traverse City.