ANN ARBOR — A company manufacturing a Swedish doctor’s invention, a high-tech mouth guard for athletes and nighttime teeth-grinders, is expanding into a 15,000-square-foot plant in Saline with assistance from Ann Arbor Spark.
The new location for Akervall Technologies Inc. includes a wet lab for research and development, offices for management and sales, and a manufacturing area. Akervall will make its Sisu Mouth Guard and Sisu Nova Night Guard at the new plant.
A video on Akervall Technologies and its expansion is available at this link.
Ann Arbor Spark officials say their regional economic development organization has supported Akervall Technologies since its inception, with funding as well as incubation and business acceleration services. Akervall Technologies received, and repaid early, funding through Ann Arbor Spark from the Michigan Microloan Fund Program.
“Supporting a company like Akervall Technologies in taking a great idea, developing an innovative product and bringing it to market — all from the Ann Arbor region — is exactly the mission of Ann Arbor Spark,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor Spark. “That Ann Arbor Spark has identified and offers a range services that can help a company across this continuum, and that this region has the ecosystem to support its further development, shows the strength of our entrepreneurial economy.”
Added company co-founder and president Sassa Akvervall: “Moving to a new facility where we can move confidently towards commercialization and production of the Sisu products is a huge milestone for Akervall Technologies,” said Sassa Akervall, company co-founder and president. “On top of having operations, research and development, and manufacturing under one roof, we also recently purchased a packaging machine. We plan to first bring packaging in-house, then eventually our own manufacturing in order to bring jobs back to Michigan.”
Akervall Technologies was recently recognized as one of the 2014 “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch,” an awards program presented by Michigan Celebrates Small Business. The company was also recently awarded a National Science Foundation Phase II grant award.
The company currently has 12 employees and is hiring sales staff.
The company’s Sisu guards started out as Protech Dent, but with assistance from Ann Arbor SPARK’s business accelerator services, rebranded in 2012. Sisu is rapidly gaining momentum in the athletic and night teeth-grinding mouth guard markets.
“Sisu” is a Finnish word meaning determination, bravery, and resilience — or more colloquially, guts.
Sisu Mouth Guards were invented by Dr. Jan Akervall. He was born in Sweden and graduated in 1990 from the Lund University Medical School. He completed a two-year fellowship in ear, nose and throat medicine at the University of Michigan in 2002 and became an associate professor at Lund University before moving back to Michigan in 2004. He is currently a partner at the Rontal-Akervall Clinic in Farmington Hills and medical director for translational research and clinical director of the BioBank at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.
More at www.sisuguard.com.