Health, social startups featured in latest Made at Michigan report


Communicating end-of-life wishes could be one of the most important things a person can do for their health and their family. So why don’t more people take the time to complete advance directives and share them with their loved ones?

That’s a question that led three University of Michigan graduate students to develop Canopy, an online application that walks users through a step-by-step process modeled after TurboTax, with the goal of turning a complex process into something simple and user-friendly.

“It’s been an awesome experience to bring to life what we’re learning in the classroom,” said Elisabeth Michel, a Canopy co-founder and a student at the School of Public Health.

Michel and her partners, Ann Duong and Brandon Keelean, joined forces through Innovation in Action: Solutions to Real-World Challenges, a five-month, universitywide challenge led by SPH that stimulates innovative, collaborative undergraduate and graduate students to address real-world problems.

From left, graduate students Ann Duong, Brandon Keelean and Elisabeth Michel are the co-founders of Canopy group. (Photo by Dan Lane)

Canopy is among more than 60 ventures that U-M students across campus are pushing forward with support from the institution’s top-ranked entrepreneurial programs. Details of more student startups and endeavors are published today in the second annual Made at Michigan report.

The report, available as a print magazine-style publication or a sortable web version, shines a spotlight on ventures over a broad range of disciplines, including for-profits, social ventures, and innovative new products and services with market potential.

“Whether launching a nonprofit organization to help children study science or working with our expert faculty to develop a device to improve disease detection, U-M students use their entrepreneurial skills to develop innovative solutions to the problems we face as a society,” President Mark Schlissel said.

Ventures highlighted in Made at Michigan 2017 include:

• AIM Tech — A medical technology company whose first product, NeoVent, is a no-power, easy-to-use respiratory therapy device designed for premature newborns.

• CellScope Retina — A portable, affordable and easy-to-use smartphone-based camera that decreases the barrier for retinal screening for eye diseases.

• SAHI Cosmetics — Makeup that is custom-designed for women of medium skin tones who are underserved by the cosmetics industry.

• Sage & Grace — Endeavors to shake up the funeral industry so that those with limited resources can better plan for end-of-life issues.

The Made at Michigan report is produced by Innovate Blue, along with a network of programs, centers and institutes that help support U-M’s student innovators and entrepreneurs. For print copies, email

Innovate Blue connects and unites U-M’s nationally top-ranked entrepreneurship programs, including more than 15 centers and programs in entrepreneurship and more than 30 entrepreneurial student organizations. Taken together, these programs encourage innovation, creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit that spurs economic development and contributes to the public good.


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