LANSING, Mich. — The Lansing region and Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem was well represented at the Aug. 13 Manu-Tech Night pitch competition hosted by Lean Rocket Labs in Jackson, Michigan. Top players in the Michigan startup accelerator ecosystem including PROTO Accelerator, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), 100k Ideas, Ann Arbor SPARK and Centrepolis/LTU were in attendance to evaluate high-tech manufacturing startups as they pitched their products in the hopes of securing additional funding. Among the night’s winners was a 2018 graduate of LEAP’s PROTO Accelerator physical products program, Black Pine Engineering.
Black Pine Engineering is a manufacturer of cutting-edge compressor engines which includes several innovations allowing for the production of a smaller, more efficient and lightweight turbine. Black Pine took second place at Manu-Tech Night as the night’s People’s Choice award winner, competing against four additional startups.
Black Pine received investment and comprehensive business guidance in 2018 through the PROTO Products program to further develop and market their innovative turbine compressor technology. In addition, PROTO president Tony Willis assisted Black Pine CEO Zach Hoyle in fine-tuning his pitch for the recent Manu-Tech pitch night.
“LEAP’s PROTO Accelerator products program allowed us to iterate and test our prototype and prepare to enter the market with a solid product,” said Zach Hoyle, CEO of Black Pine. “Even after the program officially ended, PROTO has maintained an ongoing commitment to helping us succeed, including providing coaching to help me hone my pitch for this competition.”
“Zach is the definition of persistence. For four years he’s been dedicated to pushing Black Pine forward,” said Tony Willis, president of PROTO Accelerator. “Along with being persistent, Zach has the great trait of being coachable, which is significant when it comes to the startup environment. Being willing to learn and adjust is crucial for entrepreneurs in this stage, and across the high-competitive startup landscape. This is part of the value PROTO brings to our startup companies. We’re eager to help them succeed and happy to assist.”