Critical High-Tech Startups Receive Record Level of Business Accelerator Fund Support Through LEAP

LEAP Celebrates 8 New BAF Approvals and Statewide Recognition for High-Tech Clients

LANSING, Mich. (Jun. 25, 2021) — Despite the pandemic, Greater Lansing’s entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to thrive in 2021, especially among the Lansing Economic Area Partnership’s (LEAP) high-tech clients served through Michigan’s Business Accelerator Fund (BAF) program.

Access to the BAF program occurs through LEAP as the region’s Gateway for high-tech startups. LEAP recently celebrated the seventh consecutive year as the region’s designated Gateway Representative on behalf of the Lansing Regional SmartZone and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Support for the Gateway Representative program is made possible by the MEDC’s 21st Century Jobs Trust Fund. This consistent support has been vital in strengthening the region’s capacity to help lead and evolve the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem into a top 25 startup community.

For the past several years, LEAP has led the statewide SmartZone network in the number of BAF approvals and total amount distributed through the program. So far in 2021, LEAP has received a record number of 8 approvals for BAF awards to high tech startup companies from the Lansing region.

“We’ve had success in the B2B world with a few significant relationships. But the B2B2C part of our business has really lagged. We simply haven’t had the support available to run marketing campaigns to acquire customers, hone our message and identify the best prospects,” said Franklin Gold, Co-CEO and CSO of SU2 Systems. “The BAF award will enable us to start growing this critical piece of our business, which will also help us get the funding we need to continue our growth right here in the Lansing region.”

Recently awarded BAF clients include:

  • SU2 Systems, an innovative financial technology company serving individual and institutional traders through lending brokers via their flagship product, Orion Multi-Trader,
  • FibrosIX, a life sciences company developing proprietary, first-in-class, small-molecule therapeutics that inhibit a novel target in critical signaling pathways that play a central role in the pathogenesis of fibrotic disease,
  • Will Winn Games, a commercial game design and development studio partnering with Michigan State University’s top-ranked game development program. The company’s immediate goal is to market and launch its award-winning game, Plunder Panic,
  • MagPlasma, a technology company developing plasma processes for contagion disinfection, including COVID-19, and application for advanced product manufacturing,
  • SafetySit, a medical device company partnered with a major health system to release a series of safety-oriented medical devices for rehabilitation. The company’s flagship product is a patented, FDA class 1, 510K exempt mobile backrest for use on any hospital bed,
  • Scion Plasma, a company developing Soft Beam, a vacuum coatings technology for efficient manufacturing of thin-film products, which are used in a wide array of industrial processes to produce everything from semiconductor devices, television displays and solar panels.
  • ARUtility, an augmented reality utility location application that visualizes above and below ground utilities in real-time to reduce damage, make excavation more cost-effective, assist users with asset management and help engineers identify potential conflicts before they happen.
  • Iaso Therapeutics, a biotech startup dedicated to developing next-generation vaccines to enhance human health and treat diseases. The company has develped a new vaccine carrier technology.

ARUtility was also recently honored by Michigan Celebrates Small Business as one of its 2021 SmartZone Best Small Businesses. The company is an MSU Conquer Accelerator program graduate, previous Hatching winner, LEAP Jumpstart grant recipient and a current Plug and Play Ventures accelerator program member.

“The Lansing startup community, with the support of partners such as the MEDC, Lansing Regional Smartzone, SBDC, MSU Foundation and Red Cedar Ventures, continues to create, support and grow high caliber startups who are bringing substantial investment to our region,” said Joe Carr, LEAP’s vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation. “There’s never been a better time to be a startup in the Lansing region as there is right now.”

The state of Michigan was recently identified by Crunchbase as the fastest-growing state for venture capital (VC) investment, with an impressive increase in venture dollars from $300 million in 2016 to $3.1 billion last year and

“This all spells opportunity for entrepreneurial visionaries and business owners across Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties, including the eight LEAP clients who recently secured  support through the BAF program,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “Through leadership and partnership in our region, our once stagnant entrepreneurial efforts are thriving at historic levels.”

The Michigan Small Business Development Center (MI-SBDC) administers the BAF program in partnership with MEDC. The program is traditionally available to participating business accelerators, such as LEAP, in Michigan’s statewide SmartZone network to help high-tech companies purchase specialized services that are not otherwise available to them through accelerators.

Visit LEAP’s website to learn more about our services to startups and entrepreneurs.

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About LEAP
The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders partnering to build a stronger community for all — working every day to grow, retain and attract business to the Lansing, Michigan, region.