Stik made headlines late last year, moving from Silicon Valley to the M@dison Building in downtown Detroit. The promising Internet start-up is kicking off 2013 by making headlines with its venture capital-raising prowess.
The 2-year-old company raised $2.3 million in a Series A round, which was led by Detroit Venture Partners
(a M@dison Building neighbor) and Ann Arbor-based North Coast Technology Ventures
. Other investors participating in the VC round include Draper Associates
(which led Stik's $500,000 angel round), First Step Fund
, Michigan Economic Developme Corp
and Automation Alley
"This is part of the momentum that will support our business," says Jay Gierak, co-founder of Stik
. "We're happy to be in the M@dison Building and receive the support it provides."
Stik's technology helps confirm online reviews of businesses are written by real people through Facebook activity. The idea is to have small companies land new business and build their online reputation by authenticating online reviews. Stik works is growing in a number of industries, including mortgage, insurance and real estate.
Harvard graduates Nathan Labenz and Jay Gierak launched Stik in 2010 as a solution for companies looking to amplify online referrals. The former classmates, and housemates, of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg chose to start it in San Francisco to leverage Silicon Valley's robust tech community. The Metro Detroit natives moved the company to Detroit
last year to leverage the downtown's emerging entrepreneurial community centered around the tech hub at the M@dison Building.
Since the move, Stik as more than doubled its staff to 10 people after hiring six new employees. This latest round of seed capital will fund another expansion of the company's team this year. The M@dison Building and its creative culture that revolves around building startups has played a critical role in helping Stik recruit new talent.
"I wouldn't want to do it anywhere else," says Gierak.
Source: Jay Gierak, co-founder of Stik
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.