DETROIT – A few changes have been made to the Chinese-government backed InnoSTARS competition that is coming to Detroit April 29, part of the IoT TechConnect conference at the Michigan Science Center.

Modifications in the rules now have opened the quarter final competition to any Michigan or Ontario, Canada, company interested in the China market, not just those that understand the China market. The Chinese are particularly interested in industries for:

1. Battery technology
2. Vehicle, Driver, Passenger, car monitoring
3. Commercial Transportation (truck, logistics)
4. Internet of things for Oil and Gas industry upgrades

A second modification is InnoSTARS is looking for Michigan judges who understand technology. Previously the ask was for judges who understood the technology needs of the Chinese market.

Deadline to apply is April 15. Entry is free. 

In its third year, InnoSTARS has vetted more than 1000 US technology companies.
In 2018, preliminaries were held in Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, Boston, and Seattle. In 2019, InnoSTARS competition will be coming to Detroit for the first time.

Every spring, InnoSTARS hosts what are called Preliminary Pitch/Demo Days in multiple US cities. Some of the cities focus on one industry sector, while others invite technology companies from multiple industries to compete. InnoSTARS judges are screened and selected in each preliminaries city, and include a balance of US-based Chinese technology executives who understand business in China, and non-Chinese investors who understand technology.

The judging panel scores each US technology companies on a range of factors, but ultimately the companies that appear to offer a compelling strategy to address an immediate need in the China market get selected.

Working along-side the US judges is a panel of Chinese judges in China who would review each application and utilize a factor-based scoring model to identify companies with the most promise for the China market.

In each of the preliminary competitions, several of the highest scoring companies are invited to participate in a sponsored trip to China every fall to compete in the semi-finals in their sector, and in finals which are against companies from other sectors.  The semi-finals and finals include a panel of Chinese judges who are experts in their fields.  Winners of the finals are awarded cash prizes, China support services, and media coverage.

The April 29th Detroit preliminaries will offer pitch slots to 10 pre-qualified Michigan technology companies who demonstrate market readiness for the China market.  Held in conjunction with the IoT TechConnect, it’s expected that many IoT-based innovations will end up presenting at the April 29 show.

Application to pitch at the 1st InnoSTARS competition in Detroit can be found at this link. Entry is free: to apply is April 15, 2019.