Market Overview Wins $25,000 as "Best of" Ann Arbor SPARK Boot Camp


At the conclusion of its latest Entrepreneur Boot Camp, Ann Arbor SPARK
awarded its $25,000 Best of Boot Camp prize and Breath of
Life its $10,000 runner up prize. The winners were selected by an
esteemed panel of experts, based on the business's investor pitch.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: Awarded Best of Ann Arbor SPARK Boot Camp, L to R: Lee Gorman, Entrepreneur Boot Camp fa ... Awarded Best of Ann Arbor SPARK Boot Camp, L to R: Lee Gorman, Entrepreneur Boot Camp facilitator, Jonathan Goldstein, Ann Arbor SPARK Director of Entrepreneurial Services Operations, and co-founders Brooke and Curtis McFall. (Photo: Business Wire)

"This year's Boot Camp cohort was a diverse bunch, ranging from online
apps to a consumer product for newborns," said Bill Mayer, Ann Arbor
SPARK vice president of entrepreneurial services. "What was impressive
is that the tech ecosystem in Ann Arbor has room – and support – for so
many different entrepreneurial endeavors. It's exciting to think of the
impact these emerging companies, which were strengthened by the Boot
Camp experience, will have on our regional economy as they continue to
grow and evolve."

"Boot Camp is often our first engagement with companies," Mayer added.
"Successful completion of the Boot Camp program sets the stage for an
on-going relationship and continued support – which is critical to early
stage companies - from Ann Arbor SPARK."

Boot Camp is designed for entrepreneurs who are prepared to assess and
validate the feasibility of their business concept, build a business
model, and find beta customers. Participants get hands-on assistance to
test ideas over an intense multi-week program, interacting with multiple
mentors and early stage investors.

The winning company,, is a summer camp staffing solution. It
brings camps and staff together via an interactive online platform. Its
content and site functionality, designed by summer camp owners, reduces
the time, effort, and money spent by camps every year when finding staff.

"The feedback and coaching we received while in the Boot Camp, including
an emphasis on customer discovery, helped launch CampGig to the next
level," said founder Curtis McFall, describing his experience. "Everyone
involved, from the Ann arbor SPARK management team to the coaches,
mentors, and other Boot Camp participants were fully engaged in the
process, making it an extremely valuable experience for our company."

"The money we received from Boot Camp will allow us to ramp up our
marketing efforts, hire our first employee, and continue developing our
core software," he added.

Runner up Breath of Life is a software platform that promotes
meditation, relaxation, stress reduction, and sleep induction through
deep slow breathing supported by auditory biofeedback. Using only a
smartphone, the software measures respiratory rhythms of the user and
generates a tapestry of soothing sounds that ebb and flow with the
breath in real time.

"Ann Arbor SPARK's Boot Camp was immensely helpful for us," said Breath
of Life founder Ben Collins. "The customer discovery exercises really
helped us test our idea in the real world, and will certainly impact our
direction going forward. The mentoring sessions were completely
game-changing. We were paired with people who've walked the same path
we're currently on, and it's hard to overstate the value of those
conversations. As far as the winnings go, we're evaluating opportunities
in marketing and user acquisition."

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 including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan
University, Washtenaw Community College, Washtenaw County, Livingston
County, the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti SmartZone (LDFA),
Washtenaw County etcs/Michigan Works!, the City of Ann Arbor, Bank of
Ann Arbor and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. For more
information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit

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