The Top 12 Michigan Innovation Stories from 2014

By Amanda Lewan on December 30th, 2014 / Comments

Michigan is for makers, makers who aren’t afraid of pushing the boundaries while they create.

At Michipreneur, we uncover many of these makers and their new products developed.  Last year we covered hundreds of businesses, events large and small, and watched over 143 startups populate our growing Michigan Startup Directory.

All of this business growth excites and inspires us, and some businesses really stand out as innovating their industry. Sometimes innovation can be simple, the combination of unlikely ingredients to create a whole new product. Other times innovations lead an industry by inventing a whole new approach.

The following are the most innovative stories we witnessed in 2014. We hope they inspire you to keep pushing boundaries this year.

Technology

Hemingwrite Tool – The Hemingwrite is a distraction free typewriter that stores all of your work in the cloud. Pretty nifty, huh? Hemingwrite recently reached their kickstarter goal raising over $250,000 for the product. We can’t wait to see what happens when the Hemingwrite hits the market. Read the full story.

Magic Book – How could you bring a book to life? This startup won the Detroit Startup Weekend Challenge in 2014 and rightly so with their awesome approach to bringing storytelling to life through 3D features. Read the full story.

Cribspot – Remember the old college apartment hunt? It was never easy in East Lansing. Apartments and homes are leased out sometimes a year in advance before the move in date. Cribspot has created a better way for college students to find housing and pay their bills. The startup has also gained momentum this past year with user growth and funding. Read the full story.

YumVillage – The world is heading towards a sharing economy. Many companies like Uber, Airbnb, and even co-working spaces like ours Bamboo Detroit provide ways for people to share resources. YumVillage is like the Airbnb for chefs who want to pop-up around Metro Detroit. Restaurant entrepreneurs can rent out space, and manage the event all with the help of the platform YumVillage. Read the full story.

Avegant’s Glyph Headphones – These are not your average headphones, not by far. They rocked the CES 2014 show in Vegas, and the Ann Arbor based company is set to take over with their high tech gear. The headphones create the feeling of a private movie showing just for you. Read the full story.

 

Retail

Jam Jar – Mason jars are more than hip decor. The mason jar can be a very useful container too. This local company invented a product while at school that makes the mason jar a tad bit sweeter, adding music to the mix.  Read the full story.

Trash-ease– Innovation can be simple and very useful. This new approach to your typical trash bag makes any outdoor event easier. It’s especially great if you’re the one planning and cleaning up after the tailgate. Read the full story.

Original Stix – You can’t live in Michigan without loving the Detroit Red Wings. Local entrepreneur Terry Johnson grew up loving and playing hockey. Terry knew how many hockey sticks were thrown out in the industry, so he invented a better function for used sticks. Original Stix takes recycled game-used hockey sticks and transform them into craft iPhone cases. This Detroit made product is being sold all over the world right now. Read the full story. 

Rebel Nell – Social entrepreneurship takes on the jewelry world with Rebel Nell. The Detroit based startup noticed an excess of graffiti in the city, and invented a way to transform graffiti chips into beautiful jewelry. This jewelry is assembled by local women in Detroit. Read the full story.

 

Food

Banza Pasta – In a world where gluten free diets are a plenty, this startup has created an attractive food product. Banza Pasta is made from chick peas, providing more protean and a delicious new way to eat pasta again. The startup also received national attention from a feature on Restaurant Startup this past year. Read the full story.

Get Up and Go Baked Goods – Enjoy a cup of coffee? Maybe a baked good along with it? How about combining your usual caffeine crave into the sweet taste of a muffin or brownie? The caffeinated baked good fad created by Get Up and Go has taken over the campus of the University of Michigan, and we expect them to keep delighting customers across the state. Read the full story.

Foodlab Detroit – Foodlab Detroit has grown and expanded their network of shared commercial kitchens and resources for food entrepreneurs in the Detroit area. We’re always impressed with their collaborative approach to growing businesses. They received a special feature and award from Oprah this past year in a heartwarming story. Read the full story.

We hope you keep on creating and inventing over 2015. Keep us posted on any innovative stories you see in your area.

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Co-founder Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.