Stik expands staff to 25 as it preps for new product launch

A little more than a year ago, social media-startup Stik moved to downtown Detroit from Silicon Valley with a team of four people. Today it employs 25 after making the move from its initial office in the [email protected] Building as a Detroit Venture Partners portfolio company to its own space a few doors down at 1528 Woodward.

"The downtown business culture is a great place to be," says Nathan Labenz, co-founder of Stik. "Moving to Detroit was the right thing for us."

Labenz co-founded Stik with Jay Gierak in 2010. The partners are Harvard graduates, classmates, and former housemates of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook's other co-founders.

Stik started out helping small companies build their business through online testimonials while also enabling consumers to find professionals they can trust when making big purchases, like mortgages and insurance policies, directly through social media channels.

Stik made a name for itself by generating tens of thousands of these sort of online reviews. At one point it was generating a comparable number of online reviews as Angieslist. It has since backed changed its focus from review generation to finding new ways to generate revenue from them.

"We started 2013 with only a few thousand dollars a month in recurring revenue," Labenz says. "We have grown our revenue by a factor of 10 or so. That's still small, but we’re still testing it."

Labenz and Gierak plan to announce the release of a new version of Stik's technology later this spring. The company is also planning on raising another round of seed capital this spring and summer.

"This year is going to be about real revenue growth," Labenz says. "Then we can become a business with some real staying power."

Source: Nathan Labenz, co-founder of Stik
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

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