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TechTown To Host Boston-Born Marketing Hackathon For Startups

DETROIT -- TechTown Thursday announced that the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange, an organization representing Boston's digital marketing, media and Internet technology community, has selected the Detroit-based nonprofit incubator and accelerator to host the first MITX Up Detroit, an event that will pair TechTown startups with veteran marketers for a free two-hour mentoring session on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

"Most entrepreneurs initially fail to realize that a smart marketing strategy can yield significant returns on investment," said Leslie Smith, president and CEO of TechTown. "It typically takes a few years for that aha moment to strike -- when mistakes or missed opportunities become glaringly obvious. TechTown clients learn from day one that success often hinges on marketing, which makes MITX Up Detroit the perfect complement to our existing curriculum."

MITX Up's popularity in Boston prompted an expansion of the event, and Detroit's thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem made it a logical host city. As a key sponsor, Google encouraged MITX Up organizers to connect with its Ann Arbor office to help facilitate the expansion and serve as the local sponsor. Representatives from Google Ann Arbor then reached out to TechTown, which is affiliated with Wayne State University, because of its strength in the Detroit market and similarities to the Boston incubators. If all goes according to plan, organizers expect to take MITX Up Detroit to a different incubator every quarter.

"Entrepreneurs are helping to drive Detroit's and Michigan's growth, and we're committed to helping them build their businesses," said Mike Miller, head of Google's Ann Arbor office. "By partnering with MITX, we're regularly helping startups improve their odds of attracting the best customers, employees and investors."

At the Nov. 13 event, called a hackathon, small teams of marketing and communications experts recruited by Digitas, Google and TechTown will work hand-in-hand with four TechTown client startups to resolve marketing issues or develop marketing strategies. Participating clients are:

* Pill Pouch, Detroit: Medication management product for seniors
* ReGainGo, Detroit: Group coupon website offering daily deals for the home
* TSP Enterprises, Farmington Hills: Accessory for pick-up truck beds that prevents items from sliding during transport
* University Pharmacy, Detroit: Independent pharmacy on the campus of Wayne State University

"It's very exciting for us to expand MITX Up success to Detroit," said Debi Kleiman, president of MITX. "As another great city that's doing so much to spur innovation and startup activity, we thought it was the perfect place to go next. The digital marketing community there is vibrant, with a whole set of really exciting marketing experts who want to work with startups, and, at the same time, there's a burgeoning ecosystem that's driving a connected and growing community of entrepreneurs."

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