THIS WEEK: Ross Alums Vie for $100,000 in ‘Rise of the Rest’ Competition


The stakes are high: a $100,000 prize is up for grabs — and the winner will be determined by billionaire investor Steve Case, Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert, and Scott DeRue, the Edward J. Frey Dean of Michigan Ross.

On October 11, Case’s Rise of the Rest tour is making a stop in Ann Arbor. Case has pledged to give away a total of $500,000 in five different cities to promising startups. The Rise of the Rest tours are a nationwide effort led by Case and his partner in Revolution, LLC Tige Savage, who graduated from Ross with an MBA in 1998. 

The events are a vehicle for the two venture capitalists to showcase — and invest in — entrepreneurs in emerging startup ecosystems across the U.S. Through the initiative, nearly $3 million has been invested in startup businesses across a diverse set of 26 cities so far.

On Wednesday, several successful entrepreneurs will be competing for the prize during a pitch competition at the Michigan Theater from 4:00 to 6:00pm, including Ross alumni Shelly Sahi and Grace Hsia.

  • SkySpecs
    Pitching: Danny Ellis, CEO | About: SkySpecs automates predictive maintenance of energy infrastructure with drones.
  • SAHI Cosmetics LLC
    Pitching: Sheleen (Shelly) Sahi, Founder & CEO | About: Sahi Cosmetics provides custom makeup for women with medium skin tones.
  • Pitstop
    Pitching: Shiva Bhardwaj, CEO | About: Pitstop predicts vehicle failures before they happen.
  • Genomenon, Inc
    Pitching: Mike Klein, CEO | About: Genomenon is an interpretation software for diagnosing and treating cancer.
  • Inmatech, Inc
    Pitching: Les Alexander, CEO | About: Inmatech commercializes novel high-performance supercapacitors for energy storage systems.
  • Warmilu
    Pitching: Grace Hsia, CEO | About: Warmilu provides non-electric warmth to those who need it most.
  • SurClean, Inc
    Pitching: Susan Sprentall, Founder, President & CEO | About: SurClean laser surface prep removes paint, replacing old traditional methods.
  • Civionics, Inc
    Pitching: Gerry Roston, CEO | About: Civionics improves manufacturers’ profitability by reducing downtime.

Case will be joined by Governor Rick Snyder, Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor, bestselling author J.D. Vance of Hillbilly Elegy, Michigan Ross Dean Scott DeRue, Mary Grove from Google for Entrepreneurs, Robert J. Manilla from The Kresge Foundation, and other local political, business, and civic leaders for discussions about the past, present, and future of Ann Arbor’s startup economy throughout the day of the tour.

The public is invited to attend several of the day’s events, including:

Fireside Chat

3:00pm - 4:00pm
Michigan Theater,
 603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
RSVP to attend HERE

Fireside Chat will feature Steve Case, author J.D. Vance, and Mary Grove from Google for Entrepreneurs moderated by Emily Heintz of the Michigan Venture Capital Association.

Startup Pitch Competition for $100,000 Investment from Steve Case

4:00pm - 6:00pm
Michigan Theater,
603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
RSVP to attend HERE

Join us for the Rise of the Rest $100,000 Pitch Competition with eight of the most innovative startup companies in Michigan, who will be given the opportunity to pitch Steve Case and a panel of all-star judges. Judges include Steve Case, author of the Hillbilly Elegy J.D. Vance, David Hall from Revolution LLC, Ashley Larson from Revolution Growth, Scott DeRue from Michigan Ross, and Robert J. Manilla from The Kresge Foundation.  

Happy Hour

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Michigan Theater,
603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
RSVP to attend HERE

Case will host an after-party for entrepreneurs, investors, and all other members of the Ann Arbor entrepreneurial ecosystem. Join us to celebrate all the amazing progress in Michigan, meet the people making it happen, and enjoy a few drinks. Those attending the pitch competition will have first priority into the happy hour, which has limited space, so be sure and register for the pitch.