| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Vimeo RSS Feed

Startup News

666 Articles | Page: | Show All

Microcide aims to rid world of toxic-cleaning substances

Microcide, a clean-tech cleaning firm, is starting to make a name for itself and is aiming to become a household name in 2014.

The Midtown-based business, it calls the Metropolitan Center for High Technology home, made the semifinals of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition this fall. It is also prepping to bump up its marketing efforts next year in an effort to scale it sales.

"We are selling to grocery stores and food processing companies," says John Lopes, president of Microcide.

Microcide makes nontoxic and environmentally safe microbicidal cleaning supplies for personal care, public health, food and agriculture industries. They range from non-toxic soaps to mouthwashes.

"We thought we could do it without adding extra toxins to the environment and help improve the health of people," Lopes says.

Microcide employs three people. It holds close to a dozen patents for its technologies. It is also looking at moving to a bigger space next year.

Source: John Lopes, president of Microcide
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Atomic Object grows downtown Detroit office to 5 people

One year Atomic Object opened a satellite office in downtown Detroit, the software firm has grown its staff in the Motor City to five people and a couple of summer interns.

The company's most recent hire in Detroit is the man running the office. Dan Santoscoy worked for Dell for nearly 20 years, including spending the most recent 13 as the CIO of Butzel Long, handling its IT operations on behalf of Dell. He came onboard at Atomic Object earlier this fall with aspirations of being a player in downtown Detroit’s emerging startup ecosystem.

"I wanted to work in a place much smaller than Dell where I could have a bigger impact," Santoscoy says. "I wanted a new challenge. I wanted to grow something. I wanted to work in software."

The Grand Rapids-based company has been expanding across Michigan over the last year, opening offices in both downtown Detroit and downtown Ann Arbor. The downtown Detroit office is in a loft office space in Harmonie Park. The office has become increasingly involved in the local software community, taking on more work in the development of web and mobile apps. Among its recent projects is building out the ReapSo app.

"We're looking for more opportunities in mobile," Santoscoy says.

Atomic Object is currently looking to fill two senior-level positions in its Detroit office for software developers and designers. It is also looking to fill two spots for its summer internship program.

Source: Dan Santoscoy, managing partner of the Detroit office for Atomic Object
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Kidpreneur set to open pop-up location in downtown Detroit

Kidpreneur, the Northville-based entrepreneurial education company for tweens, is opening a pop-up location in downtown Detroit in mid January.

"Why not?" says Thanh Tran, founder of Kidpreneur. "Detroit is a great place. We want it to be known as a kid-friendly and family friendly place."

Tran is a serial entrepreneur and father of two young children. Teaching his kids the ins and outs of running a business inspired him to launch the company earlier this fall at the WaterWheel Centre. Kidpreneur hosts 9-week classes about how to start a business to kids between the ages of 9- and 13-years-old. The classes, which average about 4-5 students per class, teach everything from opening a dog-walking business to designing a mobile app.

Kidpreneur won the D:hive PILOT program for winter 2014, which allows the company to operate a pop-up retail space free for two months on Woodward Aveue in downtown Detroit. It is taking the space currently occupied by Spielhaus Toys and will have a staff of 5-7 people working there for two months. It will open its doors on Jan. 18.

Kidpreneur will offer its 9-week classes, along with several other shorter classes and one-day events. Tran also hopes to eventually host hackathons and TEDx-style talks for young people in downtown Detroit’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.

"We just want to be a part of that growth," Tran says.

Source: Thanh Tran, founder of Kidpreneur
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Grey Label Group aims to help build local startups

A couple of friends and professional colleagues in Midtown are launching their own marketing firm aimed at helping build the brands of startups in Detroit called Grey Label Group.

Meredith Kerekes and Stephen Roginson, the company's co-founders, have a couple of decades of marketing experiences between the two of them. Kerekes recently served as the chief of staff of TechTown and was named as one of Crain’s Detroit Business' 40 Under 40 last year. Roginson worked in marketing for Coca-Cola and is the founder of Batch Brewing Co.

"We have been working on the idea for the past couple of months, connecting with the freelance community to make sure this project brings that community what it needs," Roginson says.

The 6-month-old Grey Label Group is focusing on helping early stage startups establish their brands, build a market presence and strategically plan for their future growth. Its first client was helping push forward the crowdfunding campaign of Rebel Nell, which turns paint flakes from graffiti into jewelry.

"We want to pull from the vast pool of creatives (freelancers) to find the best solution for each client," Roginson says.

Source: Stephen Roginson, co-founder of Grey Label Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Beautiful Soup brings slow-food soup to Detroit

Angela Dagle has aspired to run her own food-centric business for a long time. She looked into catering and other traditional avenues, but didn’t have the passion for it. What she really wanted to do was make soup.

"I have always really liked making soup," Dagle says. "I have always had a knack for it."

That led her to launch Beautiful Soup, a slow-food business that wholesales soup. Dagle sells the soup at farmers markets, coffee shops and as a monthly subscription service. She changes the kinds of soups to fit the season, but has a few favorites in her business.

"White chicken chili is really popular," Dagle says. "I do a little mulligatawny, too."

Dagle is a graduate of D:hive’s BUILD class and has participated in FoodLab Detroit's business boot camp. She plans to continue her downtown Detroit-based business in 2014 by building up its customer base.

Source: Angela Dagle, owner & head soup maker of Beautiful Soup
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

India firm e-Zest bases U.S. operations in downtown Detroit

Downtown Detroit is welcoming another tech firm now that e-Zest Solutions is opening its headquarters in the co-working space in the newly renovated Broderick Tower.

The 2-month-old software firm specializes in providing services in emerging tech sectors, such as cloud-computing and mobile. It is the U.S. operations of its 13-year-old India-based parent corporation. E-Zest currently has two people on its payroll in Detroit and expects to hire another 15 people in 2014. It is looking to hire another two positions (account managers) right now.

"We're looking for seasoned people in those two positions," says Shail Arora, president of the U.S. operations for e-Zest Solutions.

Arora adds that e-Zest Solutions wanted to open a U.S. subsidiary so it could be closer to its North American customer base. It considered a number of different major cities to set up shop, including Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. The opportunity to get on the ground floor of up-and-coming entrepreneurial ecosystem as a key incentive in the decision to open in downtown Detroit.

"We like the growing tech community here," Arora says. "We thought that San Francisco would be too competitive for us. We also like the low cost of doing business here compared to San Francisco."

Grand Circus occupies one of the lower floors of the Broderick Tower, a loft-style office space overlooking Grand Circus Park and Woodward Avenue. It is adjacent to the M@dison Building, a hub for tech startups and creative firms, and a handful of commercial buildings fronting Woodward that Bedrock Real Estate Services (Quicken Loans' real-estate development arm) is redeveloping into eclectic offices for startups like Detroit Labs. That section of downtown is now bring branded as the M@dison Block.

"We wanted to be somewhere with a lot of energy," Arora says. "A place where there are a lot of startups."

Source: Shail Arora, president of the U.S. operations for e-Zest Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Hello Innovation aims to hire 100 in Detroit

Hello Innovation is expanding in its office space in downtown Detroit to help accommodate its growth.

The self-described "disruptive design firm" (formerly Platinum Innovation Group) employs 50 of its 100 staff members in its offices near Greektown, 407 E Fort St. It is adding one floor of the structure to its offices and building out a design center.

"We are a very design-driven company," says Joe Joachim, founder & CEO of Hello Innovation. "We are also heavy on the engineering side."

Hello Innovation is made up of a number of other companies, including Funeral One and Hello+Aerial, which works in the aerial drone industruy. It has offices in India and Brazil. The firm is also looking to hire 100 people, ranging from software developers to producers. Hello Innovation moved from St. Clair (near Port Huron) last year to be part of downtown Detroit’s emerging tech scene.

"Being part of that story is something we want to be around," Joachim says.

Source: Joe Joachim, founder & CEO of Hello Innovation
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Sentinl aims to commercialize gun safety tech

Omer Kiyani has firsthand experience with the dangers of gun ownership. He was accidentally shot in the mouth as a child because a firearm had been left unsecured and in the open.

That experience is the primary inspiration for his TechTown-based startup, Sentinl. The 1-year-old firm, formerly Logiksync, is developing gun-safety technology that secures a loaded weapon while making is accessible for quick use.

"I got tired of reading in the news about how another child died from a gunshot," Kiyani says.

Kiyani, a gun owner, has served as a safety engineer for Bosch for nearly a decade. The finger-print technology allows the gun's owner to unlock the loaded weapon when he or she needs it. Kiyani envisions the Sentinl gunlock as a solution that walks the fine line between advocates of gun ownership and gun control.

"Even if you don't have a gun, your neighbor probably does," Kiyani says. "While his kids might be trained on how to act around guns, you might not."

Sentinl has developed an alpha prototype of its gunlock and is aiming to launch the product next summer. The startup made the semifinals of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition where it worked to raise seed capital for product development. Kiyani hopes to raise $500,000 in seed capital in the next few months.

Source: Omer Kiyani, founder & CEO of Sentinl
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Blackstone LaunchPad startups excel at Accelerate Michigan

The number of student-led startups from Detroit competing in this year's Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition has jumped, both in quantity and quality.

Ten Detroit-based startups made the semifinals of the business plan competition last week, making up 10 of the 34 competitors in the student-portion of the event. Ann Arbor-based startups have traditionally dominated the student competition, taking a clear majority of the top three spots in each of the competition’s first three years. This year SIB Medical Technologies, a startup creating research collection instrument that was founded at Blackstone LaunchPad at Wayne State University, took second, the small business incubator's first winner at Accelerate Michigan.

"It shows that most of our students are entrepreneurs and not just exploring it," says Aubrey Agee, senior program administrator of Blackstone LaunchPad at Wayne State University.

Blackstone LaunchPad opened the small business incubator at Wayne State University three years ago. The idea is to encourage non-business school students to open their own businesses. Dozens of entrepreneurs have made their way through the program since then.

This year nine of the 10 startups in Accelerate Michigan’s student competition had ties to Blackstone LaunchPad at Wayne State University. Those nine startups are made up of more than 21 entrepreneurs.

"There are a lot of people who are hustling and busting their butts," Agee says. "We were able to help guide them a bit and get them pointed in the right direction."

Source: Aubrey Agee, senior program administrator of Blackstone LaunchPad at Wayne State University
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

GreenLancer.com hires 7, moves to David Stott Building

Awards and accolades are starting to stack up for GreenLancer.com. That's starting to translate into credibility within its industry, which equates growth for the downtown Detroit-based startup.

The 2-year-old firm has hired seven people over the last year and now employs a staff of eight people in the David Stott Building. It has raised $550,000 in seed capital and has won a handful of awards this fall.

"We take that with great gratitude," says Michael Sharber, CEO of GreenLancer.com. "We have worked for quite some time to build a platform that is scalable."

Among the accolades are being named Emerging Company of the Year by Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, a semifinalist in the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition and winner of the Start Up Alley Challenge at 2013 Solar Power International show last month.

"The credibility within the industry it gave us was worth its weight in gold," Sharber says of the Start Up Alley Challenge.

GreenLancer.com, which got its start in Bizdom, has developed a software platform that guides businesses through the process of integrating green technology into their operations. Those sort of sustainable options range from making energy-efficient improvements to installing alternative energy systems, like solar panels.

Source: Michael Sharber, CEO of GreenLancer.com
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

MenuTest.com creates restaurant software at Grand Circus

The team behind MenuTest.com is working to create the next generation of restaurant software from the offices of Grand Circus, a tech-training institute in the David Broderick Building in downtown Detroit.

The 6-month-old startup and its team of five people are working on a software platform for restaurants that will focus on creating efficiencies in the business and better performance from staff. That platform is currently in development with MenuTest.com working on the prototype.

"It will provide much better business analytics and test scoring for restaurant management," says Aaron Adams, founder of MenuTest.com.

It has also created a menu test option for eateries that can quiz staff on the menu, how the company wants to execute service and other intricacies of the business. It has developed quizes for the top 40 restaurants in the U.S. so they can have job applicants take the test online before even entering the establishment.

"In the restaurant industry there is a menu test that is generally done on paper and the manager has to score it by hand," Adams says. "This puts it all online."

Source: Aaron Adams, founder of MenuTest.com
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Power lineman starts own firm, State Line Construction

For 25 years, Ernest Coger has worked as a journeyman lineman. That means when it comes to fixing power lines or streetlights or traffic signals, he was the guy who climbed up to the problem and solved it.

Over the years he watched a number of his friends and colleagues branch out, start their own businesses and enjoy the successes of owning their own business. That turned on the CFL over Coger's head.

"They gave me the same idea," Coger says.

That was the genesis of State Line Construction and Maintenance. The company based in northwest Detroit (Puritan and Greenfield) specializes in repairing and building out the infrastructure of power lines, streetlights and traffic signals. The firm got its start helping reconstruct the eastern seaboard after Hurricane Sandy.

That allowed Coger to add two more work trucks to his fleet, which currently stands at six vehicles. The minority-owned company currently employs two people but Coger expects to staff up to 15 within the next year as he works to land contracts with the likes of DTE Energy and the State of Michigan.

"There is a lot of work out here right now," Coger says. "There is a lot of opportunity. I feel like I can be part of it."

Source: Ernest Coger, owner of State Line Construction and Maintenance
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Bizdom ups seed capital opportunities up to $125K

Bizdom is upping the amount of seed capital it can give to startups by six figures. The downtown Detroit-based startup accelerator is offering the opportunity for a convertible note worth up to $100,000 to startups that have gone through its accelerator class.

"We feel if we can make a large commitment to these startups that increases the chances of growing them," says Maria LaLonde, recruiting & development leader for Bizdom.

Bizdom offers a three-month program to tech startups looking to scale a good idea into the next big thing in Detroit's new economy. Companies that enroll in the program receive $25,000 in seed capital in exchange for 8 percent equity in the company. The addition of the convertible note (a loan that comes with an option for equity) brings the total amount of seed capital a startup can leverage from Bizdom up to $125,000.

Bizdom is part of a Quicken Loans family of companies network. That means Bizdom startups have opportunities to leverage more seed capital through a deep pool of investors associated with Quicken Loans, along with opportunities for mentorship and team building.

Bizdom has five startups working through its current fall class and is taking applications for its winter class that starts early next year. To apply, click here. Bizdom, which has locations in Detroit and Cleveland, has 37 portfolio companies, including 21 in Detroit. All of the startups that have worked through the accelerator’s program and future startups have the opportunity to score up to $100,000 in a convertible note.

"We do have several companies that will be receiving that convertible note," LaLonde says.

Source: Maria LaLonde, recruiting & development leader for Bizdom
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Life Beyond Barriers acquires spinal injury rehab center

Life Beyond Barriers has acquired Detroit Medical Center Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan's Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery in Rockford.

Life Beyond Barriers, which is based in downtown Detroit, specializes in combining medicine, science, engineering and entrepreneurship to enhance the quality of life for the injured and disabled. The 1-year-old organization is a partnership between Wayne State University and Urban Science. Life Beyond Barriers shares space with Urban Science in the Renaissance Center. It currently employs seven people.

The Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery specializes rehabilitation for spinal cord injury victims at a world-class facility designed to implement and study innovative treatments.

"The dominant factor here is we are all passionate about helping people," says Sandy Burns, director of the Life Beyond Barriers Rehabilitation Group. "We can problem solve together and create a prototype that is a win-win."

The Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery will serve as a field laboratory for Life Beyond Barriers, giving the organization direct access to a specific group of people. The center will be rebranded as the Life Beyond Barriers Rehabilitation Group and retain the center’s expert staff.

"This is best-in-class service," says Blake Mathie, vice president of operations for Life Beyond Barriers. "The work that Sandy and her team perform on a daily basis is life-changing."

Source: Blake Mathie, vice president of operations for Life Beyond Barriers and Sandy Burns, director of the Life Beyond Barriers Rehabilitation Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Trish’s Garage helps college students fit into professional life

Ebony Rutherford remembers her first job out of college. It was a sales position in the corporate world that demanded a better wardrobe than the average student has in their closet. She ended up nearly breaking her bank account getting the right clothes for the job.

That experience inspired Rutherford to start Trish’s Garage, a consulting business that helps students and recent grads put together a professional look on a budget.

"I want to help college students who are making the transition from school to work without breaking the bank," says Rutherford, who is also a seamstress. Part of her business is consulting on the best clothing buys to make. The other part is providing them with some affordable options.

"So you can find a pieces to put together with your cool jeans or skirt," Rutherford says.

Rutherford has graduated from D:hive's BUILD program, which teaches business basics to aspiring entrepreneurs, and TechTown's Retail Boot Camp program this year. "They were my spark of joy," she says. "If their resources weren’t available to me my business wouldn’t be where it is right now."

The name Trish's Garage is play on t-shirts (which Rutherford loves) and the Motor City's heritage. "I took the word "shirts" and made it into a gird (Trish)," Rutherford says. She plans to open a retail outlet in Midtown or on the Avenue of Fashion (Livernois in Detroit’s University District neighborhood) early next year.

Source: Ebony Rutherford, founder of Trish’s Garage
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
666 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts