Team Soletics, from Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business, took first place and won $25,000 at the Accelerate Michigan Innovation competition November 14 in Detroit. Grand Valley alumnus Ryan Vaughn took first place in the Company Award category, winning $500,000.
Accelerate Michigan is an international business competition designed to bring together later-stage entrepreneurial companies with local, national and international investors.
Soletics competed among 35 teams in the student competition. Three undergraduate students were on the team, including Michael Kurley, chief executive officer; Lindsay Noonan, chief marketing officer; and Vanessa Gore, public relations specialist.
Soletics creates smart, outdoor athletic gear. The team is creating a jacket system, tailored to skiers and snowboarders, that will cool the core, heat the extremities, and provide excess power that can be used to charge a mobile device. The system uses a mixture of solar and thermoelectric fabrics and materials to provide power.
Vaughn, formerly an Entrepreneur in Residence at Grand Valley’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, is the co-creator of Varsity News Network. Varsity News Network is described as the ESPN.com of high schools sports. Local media coverage can be limited so the network allows fans to promote their teams on the Web.