Houghton companies receive tech startup stabilization fund

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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN) – Two companies in Houghton were part of 58 start-ups that received funding from the Tech Startup Stabilization Fund provided by Invest Detroit Ventures with support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The funding is an investment from IDV with the intention to help start-up businesses during the pandemic. One company that received funding was StabiLux Biosciences which was started by Professor Yoke Khin Yap at Michigan Technological University.

Steve Tokarz, CEO, says that the company couldn’t access their laboratory in the beginning of the pandemic. They used their funding to help pay employees during that time and covered some other expenses. Tokarz says IDV did a great job helping start-ups during this time.

“The program was launched, executed very timely, very efficiently and then the money released very quickly,” said Tokarz.

Tokarz also says the State of Michigan should keep an eye on StabiLux because he thinks this will help them unleash the next 50 years of biomedical research. The company develops dyes for use in biomedical research.

“We make dyes that help researchers see cells, I mean all biomedical research, it has to do with seeing cells,” said Tokarz. “We have a breakthrough technology that really changes the way it’s been done in the past, it’s completely out of the mainstream.”

The other company that received funding was Sightline Data, Sightline helps colleges and universities analyze data to increase retention, recruitment and to better utilize their resources. COO, Erin Thompson says this funding will help them to grow and help support universities and colleges in more ways.

“This just really helps us to be stronger in supporting our clients and to help them through this tough time and also we’re looking to expand our team so this helps us to do that more quickly,” said Thompson.

During the pandemic, Thompson says colleges are facing new challenges that using data can help solve. She says Sightline hopes to offer more services to colleges in the future.

“It’s a different set of challenges we’re helping institutions with now,” said Thompson. “We’re really focussing on being a resource for them, we’re putting out webinars and we’ve done some articles.”

Both companies said they are happy to have received the funding and it will help them continue to grow during the pandemic.

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