Press release

Ann Arbor SPARK Celebrates Achievements, Region’s Economic Progress at Annual Meeting

Sponsored by Businesswire

Ann Arbor SPARK hosted its 2019 Annual Meeting at Eastern Michigan
University highlighting results from the organization’s work in 2018.
The event also presented awards to three SPARK businesses driving growth
in the region, welcomed guest speaker Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and
featured a keynote address by Amy Liu, vice president and director of
the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings and the Adeline M. and
Alfred I. Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy.

“The Ann Arbor SPARK annual meeting is an opportunity to recap our real
results, for real people, in real places including the startups we have
helped grow, and the new jobs plus investments that have occurred in our
region as a result of our collaborative partnership between the private,
public and academic sectors,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann
Arbor SPARK. “We value this time to connect with the hundreds of
community and business leaders who are vested in our mission to grow
regional economic prosperity.”

Ann Arbor SPARK’s work in 2018 continued to boost the region’s economy
through business growth and success:

  • Business attraction and retention of 31 successful projects, resulting
    in $147 million in new investment commitments, 1,280 announced jobs,
    and 1,149 retained jobs.
  • Assistance to 224 startups that currently employ 748 full-time
    employees and incubation of 68 startup companies

New for this year’s annual meeting, Ann Arbor SPARK introduced the
Legends Award, honoring Duo Security for its incredible success,
including the 2018 $2.35 billion acquisition by Cisco. David Parsigian,
Ann Arbor SPARK board chair, presented the award emphasizing, “Duo’s
commitment to our region, combined with its ability to attract talented
job seekers who want to live and work here, has led to Cisco signaling
its commitment to continuing to grow here in Ann Arbor.”

Two other awards were presented as well. Groundspeed Analytics received
the Entrepreneurial Services Company of the Year award for its growth
since its participation in Entrepreneur Boot Camp in 2015. Last year,
Groundspeed closed a $30 million Series B round of funding and has plans
to continue growing its team of 75 employees.

KLA, which announced its selection of Ann Arbor for a new research and
development center in 2018, received the Project of the Year award. This
new office is expected to result in $70 million in investment in the
region and the creation of up to 500 jobs. KLA, headquartered in
Milpitas, California, is currently occupying Ann Arbor SPARK’s “soft
landing” space at the SPARK Central Innovation Center while it works on
building a permanent location in the region.

Governor Whitmer presented her economic priorities for the State of
Michigan budget — roads and infrastructure, drinking water, and skills
training. She concluded her remarks by saying, “When we solve these
fundamentals, we make Michigan a more competitive state where our kids
stay, where our families thrive, and where businesses continue to

Keynote speaker Amy Liu began by acknowledging that Ann Arbor SPARK’s
emphasis on entrepreneurship and economic development is unique among
the organization’s peers across the country.

In her presentation, Liu laid out a new framework for economic growth
built on three primary strategies. The importance of nurturing a dynamic
business ecosystem, building a skilled workforce which includes grooming
existing talent, and creating connected places where jobs and
opportunities are available throughout a well-designed economic district
ideally connected by transit. Liu concluded by encouraging the community
to focus on developing technical talent, sustainable placemaking, a
globally connected infrastructure, and exhibiting the presence and
support of a diverse population.

Ann Arbor SPARK’s annual meeting was made possible through support from
sponsors, including premier sponsors Comcast Business and DTE Energy

About Ann Arbor SPARK

Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by
encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and
retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business
at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK
collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor
partners. For more information, please call (734)
 or visit