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Orange Egg Advertising expands clientele, staff in Ann Arbor

Orange Egg Advertising has been expanding its customer base over the last year, a phenomenon the company's leadership attributes to the quality of its work.

"It's a quality thing, which translates into more revenue," says Amy Grambeau, director of Orange Egg Advertising.

The Ann Arbor-based company has made a name for itself over its 13 years working with the likes of Silver Maples Retirement Community in Chelsea, Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, and Ann Arbor State Bank.

"They are keeping us busy," Grambeau says.

Orange Egg Advertising as also added a handful of new clients, such as  Dunning Toyota, and the Michigan Memorial Funeral Home. The work from those new accounts has allowed the company to increase its revenue by 25 percent and grow its core team to five people.

"We continue to grow," Grambeau says. "We are where we want to be."

Source: Amy Grambeau, director of Orange Egg Advertising
Writer: Jon Zemke

Berylline Corp. builds three-wheeled hybrid scooter that gets 100 mpg

When people think of hybrid vehicles, they usually picture cars -- maybe heavy trucks and buses. Berylline Corp. wants you to think of its three-wheeled scooters.

"We saw there was a void in the (hybrid vehicle) market for a scooter, a three-wheeled trike," says Dennis Dresser, president of Berylline Corp.

The Troy-based company has created a three-wheeled vehicle called the Berylline F2A hybrid scooter. The scooter has two wheels in the front and one in the rear. It weighs about 300 pounds and gets 100 mpg thanks to its hybrid system that includes a lithium-ion battery.

"You can drive it exclusively in electric mode or exclusively in gas mode or any combination," Dresser says.

The Berylline F2A hybrid scooter comes with a six-pound lithium-ion battery that is removable from the main body of the vehicle. The idea is to enable users to bring it inside their home and charge when they are not riding the bike.

"We wanted to make it as accessible as possible," Dresser says.

Berylline's team of seven people is currently showing off the scooter with the idea of raising money for production. Dresser hopes to raise $5 million in seed capital this year with an eye for selling the scooters next year.

Source: Dennis Dresser, president of Berylline Corp
Writer: Jon Zemke

Mt. Clemens-based eyeWyre Software Studios adds staff

2015 is turning out to be a very good year for eyeWyre Software Studios. The downtown Mt. Clemens-based firm has watched the volume of its work spike by 25 percent in the first quarter.

That has allowed eyeWyre Software Studios to hire a project manager, expanding its staff to a dozen employees and a dozen interns from Macomb Community College and a high school intern from Utica Community Schools. The company is also looking to hire a couple of software engineers.

"The first quarter of this year has been incredible for us," says Matt Chartier, president of eyeWyre Software Studios. "There has been a huge volume of activity."

One of its major projects is launching this spring -- an online recruiting system for culturecliQ. EyeWyre Software Studios designed and developed the software platform with a patent-pending algorithm that assesses and matches a company’s culture and needs to candidate’s employment requirements.

"The systems is pre-screening the candidate to fit the culture," Chartier says. "It's also doing the same for the candidate."

The idea is that there is a simpler way to find the right culture fit for an open position that doesn't require reading thousands of words from resumes and work samples. The hope is that the technology leads to better workplace matches with more longevity. It launched earlier this spring and Chartier expects it to gain traction through the rest of this year.

"It's a whole new way to think about recruiting," Chartier says.

Source: Matt Chartier, president of eyeWyre Software Studios
Writer: Jon Zemke

TelNet Worldwide opens Southfield data center

TelNet Worldwide is opening a new data center in Southfield, transforming a several-year-old building that had never been occupied into a state-of-the-art tech hub.

The Troy-based business opened a Tier III data center, renovating an existing building that was built in a tech park. "It was a brand-new building that has been empty for five years," says Mark Iannuzzi, president of TelNet Worldwide.

The 40,000-square-foot  facility is designed, equipped, and operated to standards ensuring high availability of mission-critical data and applications in a secure environment for industries such as health care, finance, manufacturing, and government. That makes the facility a Tier III data center, one level below the top-of-the-line (Tier IV) data centers.

TelNet Worldwide choose to put the data center in Southfield because of its proximity to numerous businesses, among other reasons.

"There is a very rich vein of fiber going through that area for a number of reasons," Iannuzzi says.

TelNet Worldwide has hired 30 people over the last year, expanding the company’s workforce to 135 employees and an intern. It is also looking to hire six new people right now, including technicians, support, engineers, and sales. Two of those positions are for the new data center.

Source: Mark Iannuzzi, president of TelNet Worldwide
Writer: Jon Zemke

Turbo-Teck launches new electronics website, Cablecables.com

Turbo-Teck is launching a new website, Cablecables.com, with the idea of providing electronics hardware odds and ends at a competitive price.

"Pricing is becoming quite a bit of an issue in the electronics industry," says Jay Askerow, CEO of Turbo-Teck. "People got away with high margins for years, but now with China in the picture, everything is much more price sensitive."

The Southfield-based business will sell high performance HDMI cables featuring RedMere technology, television wall mounts, and frameless in-wall, in-ceiling and invisible speakers among other items. The idea is to offer products at low prices that come with online sales and ship from a central location in the Midwest.

The 1-year-old company currently employs three people and is looking to hire two more in sales and operations. That team is working to make Turbo-Teck the least expensive option for home entertainment center accessory hardware in North America.

"We have quite a few people who buy from us nationally," Askerow says. "We have consumers and installers."

Source: Jay Askerow, CEO of Turbo-Teck
Writer: Jon Zemke

C&G Solutions PLC triples staff in Southfield

Jehan Crump-Gibson worked for many years as an attorney in both government and corporate settings. Those experiences inspired her to launch her own firm, C&G Solutions PLC.

"These were great experiences, but I didn't feel I had the autonomy to really help my clients," Crump-Gibson says.

She launched the legal practice five years ago. Today the Southfield-based firm serves the metro Detroit area and specializes in a broad variety of subjects, including civil litigation, probate, government affairs, and business law. Over the last year, the firm has grown its revenue by 35 percent, allowing it to make its first hires (an attorney and a clerk), expanding its team to three people.

"I have been able to grow personally and give some people some great work experiences," Crump-Gibson says.

That growth has come from word-of-mouth recommendations by C&G Solutions PLC's clients.

"My clients are pleased with my work and are helping me," Crump-Gibson says.

Source: Jehan Crump-Gibson, managing member of C&G Solutions PLC
Writer: Jon Zemke

Is metro Detroit the next Silicon Valley? Is Silicon Valley the next Detroit?

Metro Detroit and Silicon Valley are about as different from one another as two places can be. After all, Detroit's a blue collar manufacturing town while the Valley is the center of the white collar tech universe.
 
Yet Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program contends that these two iconic regions may actually be becoming more alike than different.
 
Katz writes:
 
"Increasingly, manufacturing has gone high-tech in Detroit, while the Silicon Valley/San Jose region has seen an uptick in manufacturing…
 
It would surprise no one that San Jose and Silicon Valley have the highest concentration of advanced industries workers in the country, with 30% of all jobs in the metro area in one of these R&D and STEM-intensive industries. While some might think Facebook FB 0.57% and Twitter TWTR dominate the Valley, manufacturing actually employs nearly half (46.1%) of workers. These 134,000 workers produce everything from semiconductors to computer equipment to aerospace parts and pharmaceuticals.
 
The reverse dynamic is at play in Detroit. While the automotive industry accounts for over one-third of all advanced industry employment, services still employ almost half. Over 32,000 professionals in the Detroit metro area are employed in the computer systems design sector alone—many of which feed into the larger automotive supply chain."
 
To learn more about how the economies of Detroit and Silicon Valley are becoming more similar, read Katz's piece for the Brookings Institution.

Southfield-based Nexcess hires 19, grows staff to over 100

Nexcess is a tech company on a significant growth curve, but things haven't always been this good for the Southfield-based company. While it has enjoyed about 30 percent revenue growth over each of the last few years, the web hosting firm had a rocky start when it launched in 2000.

"The first six years were hand to mouth," says Chris Wells, CEO of Nexcess. "It took a long time to be able to feed ourselves."

That was then. Today, Nexcess employs a staff of 112 people and several interns. It has hired 19 people over the last year, primarily people in technical support, system administration, and software engineering. It's still looking to hire a few people now.

"We're always looking for support technicians, system administrators, and software engineers," Wells says.

Nexcess' growth ride is being powered primarily through its work with e-commerce. Wells points out a number of businesses turned to e-commerce solutions when the economy went south and that trend has not abated since. However, Nexcess is looking to diversify more with work in cloud computing and virtualization.

Source: Chris Wells, CEO of Nexcess
Writer: Jon Zemke

UltraLevel spins out CloudSAFE in Southfield

UltraLevel, an IT firm, is spinning out a private cloud computing company called CloudSAFE this week.

"Our customers are companies like UltraLevel," says Michael L. Butz, Sr., founder & CEO of UltraLevel. "We have three partners, and we are working to grow it from there."

CloudSAFE offers integrated private and hybrid cloud services with live technical support. Its initial products include providing IT infrastructure out of the office and into a secure private cloud, IT disaster recovery services, a managed firewall protection services, and voice-over IP services.

The company is currently covering the Midwest and part of the Washington, D.C., area. Butz has plans to make the company a national player within the next 12 months.

"I'd like to establish us as North America’s premier private cloud computing company," Butz says.

CloudSAFE currently employs a team of 15 people and is hiring.

"We expect to double in the next 12 months," Butz says.

Source: Michael L. Butz, Sr., founder & CEO of UltraLevel
Writer: Jon Zemke

Vectorform partners with DTE to launch Powerley

A downtown Royal Oak tech firm and the biggest utility in Michigan are partnering to launch a new startup aimed at helping mobile users be more energy efficient.

Powerley is the product of a joint venture between DTE Energy and Vectorform, a digital experience company. The 1-month-old venture is launching a platform for utility customers to link their smartphones to smart meters, enabling them to take a comprehensive look at their energy use.

"Powerley can bring the technology and the expertise in energy efficiency to world," says Kevin Foreman, CTO of Powerley.

The Powerley home-energy-monitoring platform can help track energy usage down to the consumption of individual electrical devices. It also provides personalized tips on how to best save energy. Check out a video describing it here.

"A lot of our early adopters are either retirees or not as technology savvy as you would think," Foreman says.

The Powerley platform has been three years in the making. The joint venture currently employs six people and is looking to add a few more. Vectorform has also worked with DTE Energy to produce the DTE Insight mobile app, which allows utility customers to monitor and personalize their energy consumption patterns.

Source: Kevin Foreman, CTO of Powerley
Writer: Jon Zemke

Duo Security lands $30M from big-name investors, adds lots of jobs

Duo Security is making a lot of news this week. There is the new product launch, Duo Platform, that promises to be a more comprehensive online security solution. There are the new jobs created, a couple dozen easy. There are the new satellite offices, both domestic and international.

And then there is the money. A lot of money.

The downtown Ann Arbor-based tech startup just closed on a Series C worth $30 million. Redpoint Ventures led the round with participation by current investors Benchmark Capital, Google Ventures, Radar Partners, and True Ventures. That's a lot of big names from the Silicon Valley venture capital world.

The money will go toward expansion of the company in a number of different ways. First and foremost will be hiring. The company moved into its new, larger home at 123 N. Ashley earlier this year, crossing the 100-person employee mark about the same time. Duo Security currently has 30-some job openings, which can be found here.

"We are hiring across the board in every department," says Jon Oberheide, CTO of Duo Security.

Most of those jobs are in Ann Arbor. Some are elsewhere around the world. Duo Security has recently opened a California office and is in the process of opening a satellite office in London. That office is expected to play a key role in the company’s international expansion plans.

"We are expanding internationally for the first time," Oberheide says.

Duo Security has made a name for itself with its two-step verification software. The simple-yet-effective system that confirms the right person is accessing protected information with something as simple as a text message or push alert. The newest version of this is Duo Platform, a two-factor authentication solution that offers additional functionality, while keeping security easy and painless for the end-user. It offers a more comprehensive software platform that helps protect the path of access for everything from individuals to large businesses. Check out a video explaining it here.

"We want to build a platform that is easy enough to protect customers regardless of their level of sophistication," Oberheide says.

Source: Jon Oberheide, CTO of Duo Security
Writer: Jon Zemke

H3D expands camera tech to more nuclear plants around world

H3D has spent much of the last year becoming a global player, selling its camera technology internationally.

"We have sold our cameras to close to 20 nuclear power plants around the world," says Zhong He, chairman of H3D.

Zhong is also a professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences at the University of Michigan. He has been working on H3D’s camera technology since the late 1990s, spinning out the company four years ago.

H3D's Polaris H technology is a hand-held radiation camera that helps nuclear plant operators find potentially dangerous hot spots and leaky fuel rods with more speed and precision. It accomplishes this by laying a gamma-ray map over an image of a room, allowing it to pinpoint radiation sources.

H3D's has seen dramatic sales gains without a marketing budget. It also has landed two Department of Defense contracts. All of these wins are coming primarily through word-of-mouth advertising from the company's customers. The increased roster of clients has allowed the company to hire four people (engineers) over the last year, expanding its staff to nine people. It is also looking to hire another engineer if the right candidate comes around.

"We are financially quite sound," He says.

Source: Zhong He, chairman of H3D
Writer: Jon Zemke

InfoReady hires 7, looks to add a dozen more in Ann Arbor

InfoReady is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month, a milestone that carries a lot of weight with the startup's founder.

The Ann Arbor-based firm has doubled its revenue each year, notching 1,000 percent growth in that time frame. That growth streak doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon.

"At least the next three years," says Bhushan Kulkarni, CEO of InfoReady.

Kulkarni is a serial entrepreneur in Ann Arbor, having launched and exited a handful of tech startups over the last couple of decades. InfoReady was spun off one of those firm, GDI Infotech. InfoReady's software streamlines the research and business-venture-building process for everything from obtaining grants to building new startups. It even helps match the user with the best sources of funding and talent.

"It matches you with the right data," Kulkarni says.

InfoReady raised a $2.5 million angel round last year. It is now looking to recapitalize later this year with a planned $5 million Series A.

InfoReady has also expanded its team over the last year, hiring seven people. It currently employes a staff of 25 employees and a couple of interns. It is also looking to hire a dozen people, primarily in sales and marketing.

Source: Bhushan Kulkarni, CEO of InfoReady
Writer: Jon Zemke

IROA Technologies signs key license agreement with University of Florida

IROA Technologies launched its first product last year, and the Ann Arbor-based startup has started to reap some of the rewards of that hard work.

The 5-year-old company has signed up a couple of dozen of clients and entered into a lucrative licensing agreement with the University of Florida for its metabolomic testing kits.

"That (the product roll out) went really well," says Felice de Jong, CEO of IROA Technologies. "We now have about 30 collaborators and groups using our product."

IROA Technologies got its started as NextGen Metabolomics in 2010. It changed its name to its current brand in 2013 and scored a $1 million Series A early last year. That money went toward the development of testing kits for yeast and bacteria, which can help identify key metabolites in the diagnosis of diseases, such as cancer.

IROA Technologies reached a big milestone last year when it signed its licensing agreement with the Southeast Center for Integrated Metabolomics at the University of Florida. The agreement proved to be a big bit of validation for the testing kits , attracting new customers.

"That has played a key strategic role with us," de Jong says.

IROA Technologies plans to continue to line up more customers this year in an effort to increase its revenue. It has also added a sales person to its core team of 10 people. The company is not planning on raising a Series B anytime soon.

"We have been doing well on the revenue front," de Jong says. "We can reinvest in the company."

Source: Felice de Jong, CEO of IROA Technologies
Writer: Jon Zemke

Berg Muirhead adds new clients in legal, manufacturing, and healthcare sectors

Berg Muirhead and Associaties is gearing up to take a significant step forward this year, adding a handful of large clients and some new hires to go with them.

The New Center-based public relations and marketing firm has made a name for itself since 1998 handling a number of high-profile clients both in Detroit (Strategic Staffing Solutions) and outside of it (the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and The Somerset Collection in Troy). Those clients aren't going anywhere.

"We have a great set of longterm clients and clients who come in and out with projects," says Peter Van Dyke, partner with Berg Muirhead and Associates.

This year, the firm is adding some larger clients. Berg Muirhead and Associates is now handling work with Metro Detroit’s new Regional Transit Authority and the Varnum law firm, which is opening a new office in downtown Detroit. Berg Muirhead and Associates is also helping a second-stage manufacturing firm in metro Detroit (Van Dyke declined to name it) re-brand and is about sign a contract with a major local health-care provider.

Berg Muirhead and Associates made two replacement hires last year, but Van Dyke expects to add some new hires on top of his staff of eight employees and two interns soon.

"We are looking to expand the team," Van Dyke says.

Source: Peter Van Dyke, partner with Berg Muirhead and Associates
Writer: Jon Zemke
3326 Articles | Page: | Show All
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