Three Detroit startups receive cash prizes at TechTown’s Start Studio Showcase


Date: Dec. 20, 2019

Contact:  Kimberly Palter

Phone: (313) 483-1326



Three Detroit startups receive cash prizes at TechTown’s Start Studio Showcase

46-year-old Novi man takes first-place in pitch competition


TechTown Detroit announced today that the creator of Skilled-Tec, a mixed and augmented reality platform created to provide training in the skilled trades field, won the $1,500 first-place prize at the Start Studio Fall Showcase pitch competition, the culmination of Detroit’s only idea-stage program for tech and tech-based businesses.

The showcase on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at TechTown included pitch presentations from 11 tech-based business ranging from the gaming to shopping industries, with over 60% of participants identifying as black or African American and over 40% in the age range of 40 – 60 years. Judges included representatives from Alerje, Ally Financial, Backstage Capital and Wayne State University.

Skilled-Tec’s Shannon Tucker, 46, who works in higher education, said “Start Studio was a great opportunity to start my entrepreneurial trek. What made it such a wonderful experience was the people – from leadership on down. I was able to take my idea, refine it through customer discoveries, and with exceptional feedback from my coaches and mentors, put my best entrepreneurial foot forward.”

The $750 second-place prize was awarded to HNZE Canopy, a roofless and renewable energy system, and the $250 third-place prize went to mobile productivity and planning platform ezDay Tech.

Start Studio’s seven-week program offers one-on-one coaching, technical assistance and group learning to help entrepreneurs refine their ideas, providing a catalyst for creative tech concepts that might otherwise never take off. Startups are guided through testing, research and the creation of a sample product.

“We are excited to support these dynamic tech entrepreneurs at the beginning stages of their companies,” said Marlo Rencher, director of technology-based programs at TechTown. “They represent a new wave of innovation that we believe will help create jobs and opportunity for Detroit. We are committed to their continued success.”

The third cohort of Start Studio will begin in the spring of 2020. For more information, visit Start Studio is sponsored the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, New Economy Initiative and the William Davidson Foundation.

Start Studio 2019 Fall Showcase