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Posted on Thu, Feb 24, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Two start-ups join Venture Accelerator, U-M Tech Transfer's hub for opportunity

By Freelance Journalist

Two University of Michigan start-up companies have moved into the new Venture Accelerator near the offices of the U-M Tech Transfer at the North Campus Research Complex.

EngXT and Civionics join Life Magnetics as occupants of the Accelerator, which is housed on the campus acquired from Pfizer in 2009.

EngXT is based on the research of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences Professor Nilton Renno, on electric-field measurement devices, originally developed for NASA's most recent Mars mission.

According to Renno, the members of the EngXT team are enthusiastic about being a part of the Venture Accelerator because of “the mentorship offered by the U-M Tech Transfer, the interaction with others start-up companies, and the exposure to potential investors.”

EngXT is producing sensors to monitor and protect against electrostatic overstress and electrostatic discharge in products and manufacturing environments. Detecting and monitoring static charges from dust and other contaminants is a $10 billion-a-year problem for industry, and EngXT says it's uniquely positioned to provide a solution.

Civionics is a venture based on the research of engineering Professor Jerry Lynch. Its innovative intelligent sensor technology is designed to better monitor the nation's aging infrastructure, making it possible to identify problems before they become visible and save energy through green building automation systems that manage the lighting, heating and air-conditioning of unoccupied spaces.

The addition of the Venture Accelerator adds one more resource to the integrated set of capabilities that are available for U-M start-up opportunities.

Beyond housing several emerging U-M start-ups, the Venture Accelerator will act as a hub for our regional venture community in order to encourage interactions and engagements with other start-ups, entrepreneurs, service providers, students and other members of our venture community.

The Venture Accelerator will eventually house about fifteen U-M start-ups, all based on U-M research discoveries and nurtured by U-M Tech Transfer’s Venture Center. Providing a steady stream of high quality start-up venture opportunities for entrepreneurs and venture partners while creating an environment to expand our job-producing venture community are part of the university’s increasing commitment to the economic vitality and quality of life for greater Ann Arbor and all of Michigan.

Stay tuned for more exciting developments.

Mark Maynard is the marketing manager at U-M Tech Transfer. He can be reached at The University of Michigan is committed to catalyzing the transformation of our economy by supporting technology transfer, encouraging entrepreneurship, and linking faculty and businesses to spur innovative research. Go to for more.