The air is cool, the leaves are changing color, and the buzz is back in Ann Arbor. It’s that time again – time for the Fall 2022 edition of the Urban Entrepreneurship Practicum course at University of Michigan Ann Arbor. I’ve been teaching in the U-M College of Engineering/Center for Entrepreneurship since 2012, and I must say I’ve never been more excited about teaching than I am right now.
Big congratulations to Mo Faisal, Jeff Fredenburg, and the team at Movellus for closing a $23 million Series B funding round. Mo and Jeff are both Ph.D. graduates of the U-M College of Engineering, which is where they began development of the core technology and business concepts for Movellus. The company has developed and patented novel timing generation technology for next generation complex integrated circuits. Their technology provides a potential competitive advantage for semiconductor industry companies. I invested in Movellus’ initial seed round and each subsequent round, so needless to say I’m happy and proud about the company’s achievements to date.
I’ve participated in more Demo Day events than I can remember. These events have been sponsored by community organizations, education institutions, companies, investment groups, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, and even churches. In 2015, President Barack Obama presided over the first-ever White House Demo Day. This occurrence cemented the status of Demo Day as a bonafide cultural phenomenon.
The Lab Drawer® founders Alecia Gabriel and Deirdre Roberson started their company because, as black STEM professionals and artists, they envision a world in which black and brown excellence in STEAM fields is commonplace. I first met Alecia and Deirdre when I served as their coach for Detroit Demo Day 2021. I was immediately drawn to their expertise, energy, and dedication.
Though I lived and worked just a few miles from where this hidden giant of science lived and worked; though his nephew was my professor and thesis advisor at University of Michigan; though we frequented the same barbershop, for Christ’s sake; I never met Walter S. McAfee. I didn’t even know who he was until after he died. I now know that he could have, as much as anyone, claimed to be a founder of The Space Age.
More than six years ago, in September 2014, I took delivery of my first electric vehicle – a Tesla Model S. Around that same time, I bought Tesla stock. Both decisions turned out to be fortuitous, if not downright prescient, in light of the current excitement about Tesla in particular and electric vehicles in general. Tesla has changed my perception of cars and personal transport. Somewhat sadly, my love affair with internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles is fading. I’ve been electrified.
My favorite uncle, William Wise Hayden, died in 2004. Uncle Bill was a factory worker at Ford Motor Company and a proud United Auto Workers member, and in his off hours he was a man about town and an avid photographer. I visited Uncle Bill at his Detroit home a few months before he died, and during that visit he gave me one of his most prized photo albums. I felt as if he was bequeathing the album to me, and that feeling was reinforced when I read the words on the cover. The words, typed on a blue plastic label affixed to the green vinyl album cover, were: ”BETWEEN THESE COVERS ARE THE GOOD PEOPLE.”
My friend Brenda Perryman succumbed to Covid-19 on April 5, 2020. Shortly after she passed, I vowed to publish the video interviews she produced for the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative (recorded and edited by our friend Michelle Wyche Watson). These interviews are a testament to Brenda’s community involvement, her commitment, and her talent. Take some time to watch and enjoy, and if you knew Brenda, to remember.