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Detroit Labs doubles staff, preps to move into its own space

When the M@dison Building opened in downtown Detroit in late 2011, Detroit Labs was one of the first start-ups to move in. Today the mobile app company has grown to the point where it's almost standing-room only in its office, prompting it to start building out its own office nearby on Woodward Avenue.

"We are out-growing our space like you wouldn't believe," says Paul Glomski, co-founder & CEO of Detroit Labs. "We're proud to say, 'We are the fastest-growing startup in Detroit.'"

Detroit Labs launched in May 2011 as one of Detroit Venture Partners' first portfolio companies. It started out creating custom mobile apps for the likes of Quicken Loans, Stryker and Chevrolet.  It has now taken on work for Domino's Pizza, a company that is almost as well known for its software innovation as its pizza. Glomski points out that Domino's pizza ordering app does about $4 million in business a week, and Detroit Labs is one of the key players in helping make that happen.

"They wanted to bring in a team that lives and breathes mobile day and night," Glomski says. He adds that Detroit Labs will continue to do custom work for big companies in 2013 but also expects to begin creating its own original apps this year. "We have a lot of areas we are looking at," Glomski says. "We have a lot of games we're working on. We have an app in the app store (called Koha) that helps people share bills (for things like groceries and going out to eat)."

All of this new work has prompted Detroit Labs to go on a hiring spree. It has doubled its staff to 32 employees and some summer interns. Glomski expects his staff to surpass 50 by the end of the year. That expansion has led the company to make the most of its 2,000 square feet in the M@dison Building, creating makeshift standing desks and even turning a treadmill into a work space.

Detroit Labs is building out its own space less than a block from the M@dison Building. Glomski declined to reveal the address but did say it's a building owned by Dan Gilbert and will measure out to 10,000 square feet. The new space will be similar to the unique nature of the M@dison Building and should be good to go within a few months.

"They're already swinging hammers and doing the actual build out," Glomski says. "It will be very unique. Our team is taking a sense of ownership to build out the space. It will be spectacular. It will be unique to Detroit Labs. It will be cool and collaborative. Every building Dan Gilbert and Bedrock (Gilbert's real-estate development company) do is unique and this will continue that trend."

Source: Paul Glomski, co-founder & CEO of Detroit Labs
Writer: Jon Zemke

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