Detroit and Ann Arbor startups headed to Erie Hack finals in Cleveland

Contact:  Kristin Palm
Date: April 25, 2017
Phone: (313) 483-1326


Detroit and Ann Arbor startups headed to Erie Hack finals in Cleveland
Micro Buoy, Purily to pitch water innovation ideas, compete for $100,000

Two metro Detroit startups will compete for a portion of $100,000 in prizes at the Erie Hack Water Innovation Summit and Competition Finals on May 3 from 10:30-1pm at the Global Center for Health Innovation, 1 Saint Clair Avenue Northeast in Cleveland.

The teams advanced from the Erie Hack Semi Finals, held at TechTown Detroit on April 13. Erie Hack is a months-long, international water innovation accelerator and competition that has brought together coders, developers, engineers and water experts to generate creative solutions to challenges facing the Lake Erie watershed. The six-city competition, taking place in Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Erie, Toledo and Windsor focuses on leveraging open data sources to create mobile and product-based technologies to elevate the value of clean water and leverage its potential to drive the economic vitality of the Great Lakes region.

The Detroit finalists are:

Micro Buoy
A team of Wayne State University graduate students in engineering who have developed a micro-buoy system to provide continuous measurements of harmful water pathogens, temperature, dissolved oxygen, lead and other nutrients. The buoy transmits real time data to water treatment plants, water authorities and is made accessible to the public via a customized mobile app.

Developed by a team of University of Michigan engineering students, Purily created a mobile app that electronically monitors consumers’ monthly water usage and leverages incentives from restaurants and charities to promote water conversation. Consumers who show a significant decrease will be rewarded with promotions to various local businesses that value community involvement and environmental awareness. Ultimately, a significant portion of Purily’s revenue will support various water well and community water projects.

“Over the last three months, we’ve seen numerous innovative solutions for problems facing the Lake Erie watershed. Micro Buoy and Purily are two of the strongest,” says Paul Riser, TechTown’s managing director for technology-based entrepreneurship. “We look forward to continuing to work with these teams to develop their promising ideas.”

In addition to cash prizes, select Erie Hack teams will have the opportunity to work with their host accelerators to further develop their products. The Erie Hack Finals are open to the public and are part of the International Water Innovation Summit. Tickets are available at

Erie Hack is presented by Cleveland Water Alliance, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, Wayne State University and TechTown.  Platinum sponsors include: AT&T, Cleveland Port, The George Gund Foundation, HIMSS,  The Joyce Foundation and NEORSD. Collaborators include GE, NASA Glenn Research Center, IBM Watson IoT, DigitalC, Great Lakes Observing System, NSF International, FreshWater Forum of the Cranbrook Institute of Science, WEtech Alliance, Venture Michigan, Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, Michigan’s University Research Corridor, and WDIV Channel 4.

For more information, visit

TechTown is Detroit’s most established business accelerator and incubator, offering a full suite of entrepreneurial services for both tech and neighborhood enterprises. We help startup and established businesses develop, launch and grow, while strengthening and diversifying the local economy.