20Fathoms Tech Incubator Launches in Traverse City

Partnerships with MSU, Michigan Tech University and Grand Circus/Detroit to help nurture Traverse City area tech talent and help new companies grow.

20Fathoms, a tech business incubator for budding entrepreneurs, has opened in the heart of downtown with an eye toward making the city a magnet for tech talent and companies.

Executive Director Andy Cole

“Traverse City is surprisingly dense with entrepreneurial talent,” says Andy Cole, executive director of 20Fathoms, who brings experience from the Boston startup scene. “Many talented remote workers choose to live here for lifestyle reasons, and the area also attracts a high number of people who have been successful elsewhere and are now interested in investing and mentoring. That means we have the essential pieces to create a thriving startup ecosystem. When you put all these pieces together effectively, a certain magic occurs, and that’s when startups really accelerate.”

Casey Cowell, former founder/CEO of tech giant US Robotics and now principal at Boomerang Catapult, a Traverse City venture capital firm, says the pool of tech talent in Traverse City is deep but in need of a shared workspace where they can collaborate and learn from tech veterans.

“20Fathoms is going to help a lot of local entrepreneurs get the support they need to turn ideas into real companies with real jobs,” he says. “This is going to be a very good thing for Traverse City. Down the line, you’ll see more and more of these startups take root and flourish here, and that will attract similar companies and talent. Success breeds success.”

Cole says 20Fathoms will help entrepreneurs take “customer-validated concepts through the fragile early-stage trajectory.” Entrepreneurs accepted into the incubator program will enjoy dedicated and shared workspaces, admission to onsite events, access to helpful business resources, and connections to an active community of investors, mentors, local business leaders, services providers, and fellow entrepreneurs.

Michigan Technological University, Michigan State University’s Innovation Center, and Grand Circus, a Detroit tech education company, will partner with 20Fathoms to offer advanced coaching, programming, and support.

The name 20Fathoms is a nod to Northern Michigan’s clear waters and the depth of local tech talent. It’s also a reference to the number of startups the incubator will host this summer.

Online admission applications are now being accepted for both 20Fathoms’ inaugural cohort and co-working spaces. Apply at www.20Fathoms.org. “Interested parties should apply as soon as possible to have a better chance of acceptance into one of the initial workspace openings,” Cole says. “However, applications will also be accepted on a rolling basis as we grow and graduate successful startups who grow too large for our space.”

20Fathoms is also accepting sponsorships and partnerships. Those interested may inquire at [email protected]

A grand opening celebration with the Traverse City community is planned for mid-July when 20Fathoms will introduce its initial cohort of entrepreneurs, offer tours of the workspace, and discuss upcoming plans and events. 20Fathoms, second floor of 101 North Park Street, is located downtown at the corner of Front Street and North Park Street.

—Press release provided by 20Fathoms


More Tech Companies in Northern Michigan