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Movellus Circuits launches fresh microprocessor technology

A lot of startups struggle to raise money to build prototypes of their technology. Movellus Circuits is flipping the script: it already has its prototypes in hand before any money has been raised.

"We have four working prototypes that prove the technology works," says Muhammad Faisal, CEO of Movellus Circuits.

Faisal graduated from the University of Michigan in April with a PhD in electrical engineering. He is commercializing his research at the university. That technology is a patent-pending clock generator for the microprocessor market. The 1-year-old startup is working to make sure its generators are quicker to design, smaller than competitors, offer higher performance, use lower power, provide more flexible, and while only being for sale at a fraction of the cost of existing solutions.

Movellus Circuits is currently working to line up its first customer to license the technology to. It is also looking at establishing a strategic partnership while gearing up to raise a seed capital round of $1 million later this fall.

"That will give us 18 months of runway," Faisal says.

Source: Muhammad Faisal, CEO of Movellus Circuits
Writer: Jon Zemke

Endless Crowds raises money for military veterans, first responders

Roger Mensah and his team aren’t trying to reinvent the crowdfunding wheel with their latest start-up, Endless Crowds. They're trying to carve out a niche for a group of public servants that is too often overlooked.

"We're opening up a niche for military veterans and first responders," says Mensah, who co-founded Endless Crowds with two partners.

The team of three launched the company at the end of the January, creating a crowd-funding portal specifically for military veterans, first responders, and their families. The idea is to help them make a space for their own projects where they don’t have to compete for attention with the rest of the world.

Mensah was inspired to create the site a few years ago when President Obama was speaking about the draw down of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mensah knew they would be coming home to the deepest recession in the U.S. since the Great Depression.

"It occurred to me that the economy was so bad then, especially for the guys and girls coming back, that I thought they should have a (crowd funding) site just for them," Mensah says.

Mensah and his team built Endless Crowds at Bamboo Detroit in downtown Detroit. Among the projects that have gone through the website are an effort to build a home for homeless women veterans and projects with the Detroit Public Safety Foundation. Mensah hopes to do work with Detroit Police Department and the Detroit Fire Department over the rest of the year and establish the website as a presence in Metro Detroit.

Source: Roger Mensah, founder of Endless Crowds
Writer: Jon Zemke

Clark Hill expands Birmingham office with 4 new hires

About a year ago, New Republic magazine ran an issue entitled "The End of Big Law" that basically said the days of huge corporate law offices were numbered in an industry that had too many lawyers. One could forgive the partners at Clark Hill if they didn’t bother to read it.

The Detroit-based law firm has grown its practice exponentially in the last decade. It went from 100 attorneys to 300 today. It recently added 16 new attorneys in Metro Detroit over the last year, including four in its Birmingham office. All of that new talent is helping facilitate a growing practice.

"We have been able to grow our client work because we have been able to add more expertise to the services we offer," says Don Lee, chief marketing officer of Clark Hill.

Clark Hill has been in Michigan since its founding in the late 19th Century. It grew up serving the rapid ascent of manufacturing in the Midwest in the 20th Century. Its recent growth has come from added work in the manufacturing sector, along with more clients in the finance and banking sectors.

That allowed it to add staff not only in Birmingham, which has 47 attorneys, but also downtown Detroit. It’s Motor City location has added 12 attorneys, expanding its staff there to 120 people.

Source: Don Lee, chief marketing officer of Clark Hill
Writer: Jon Zemke

Delphinus expands staff as it preps to commercialize tech

Delphinus Medical Technologies is aiming to hit a trifecta of growth for a bio-tech startup this year. The Plymouth-based firm has added a new board member, hired a few new employees and is making preparations to raise more venture capital as it closes in on commercializing its technology.

The Wayne State University spin-out’s principal technology is being branded as SoftVue, a platform that helps detect breast cancer by submerging the patient in a tub so as to get a more complete picture of the breast. Delphinus Medical Technologies refers to it as a "whole breast ultrasound tomography system." The company received its first FDA clearance last December is is aiming to come to market in the first quarter of next year.

"We're in the final stages," says Mark Morsefield, CEO of Delphinus Medical Technologies.

To help get it there, the company has hired four people over the last year. It now has a staff of 30 employees and five interns. It's currently looking to hire seven more people, primarily technicians and clinical managers.

Delphinus Medical Technologies is also starting to prepare to raise a Series C round of venture capital. The exact amount hasn't been determined but Morsefield did indicate it would be in the millions of dollars. Delphinus Medical Technologies raised $11 million in a Series B last year and $12 million in a Series A round in 2010.

Delphinus Medical Technologies has also added Ronald Ho to its board of advisors. Ho served as president and CEO of U-Systems, developer of the somo•V automated whole breast ultrasound system. U-Systems achieved the first and only FDA approval for a breast ultrasound screening indication and was subsequently acquired by GE Healthcare. Ho will play an active advisory and consulting role in the company.

Source: Mark Morsefield, CEO of Delphinus Medical Technologies
Writer: Jon Zemke

Selocial bridges photos, music, and social media

Music, photos, and social media are three of the hottest trends in tech today. Lots of startups make their way specializing in one of those things. Selocial is making a name for itself by connecting all three.

The Ann Arbor-based startup likens itself to when Instagram meets Spotify or Pandora. The 1-year-old company’s software allows users to make a "Selomix," which is a 15-minute visual playlist that combines the users preferred music with a photo.

"When any song is played on Selocial instant news about that artist is activated," says David Baird, co-founder & CEO of Selocial. "It's a more social experience than Instagram or Pandora."

Baird considers himself an artist with published work as a songwriter and author. His songs have appeared in the movie "White Chicks" and TV show "House of Lies" on Showtime. His career over the last 15 years led him to believe that there had to be a better way for independent artists to attract attention, which served as the inspiration for Selocial.

"I thought artists weren’t being discovered the way they should be," Baird says. "How can I help artists like myself get discovered?"

Selocial launched the public Beta version of its platform in May. The team of six behind the startup is working to grow its user base to 5,000 to 10,000 people by the end of the summer. In the mean time, the Selocial team is working to better link user accounts and introduce real-time chat.

"We want to improve our sharing," Baird says.

Source: David Baird, co-founder & CEO of Selocial
Writer: Jon Zemke

Detroit startups dominate Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge

Detroit-based startups took the lion’s share of prizes at this year's Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The business plan competition, organized by Michigan Corps, recognizes up-and-coming social entrepreneurs. It awards a total of $60,000 in prizes to 11 companies. Detroit-based companies took four of the top siz prizes in the competition. The fifth went to a Flint-based firm, and the sixth to a Pontiac-focused social enterprise. Several companies in the competition focused on helping youth find work and tackling longterm unemployment.

"The chronic unemployment issue is something we definitely (targeted for this competition)," says Elizabeth Garlow, executive director of Michigan Corps. "The youth piece was a pleasant surprise."

Among the Detroit winners are:

- Wheels for Workers, which teaches volunteer mechanics in their teens and twenties how to be mechanics and auto body repair professionals. It won the Michigan Social Entrepreneur of the Year Prize.

- Welding Artisan Center, which provides career-ready training to returning veterans, job-
shifting adults, former inmates, and at-risk teens. It won the Community Transformation Prize.

- On The Rise, a business sponsored by the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, which is a bakery that employs men who have recently been released from prison or have completed a substance abuse treatment program and desire to truly change their lives. It won the PNC Social Innovation Prize.

- City Girls Soap, which manufactures hand-crafted body soap, lotion, and laundry flakes from goats milk. It won the Women Rock Prize.

Source: Elizabeth Garlow, executive director of Michigan Corps
Writer: Jon Zemke

Huron Valley Financial hires 12 as it eyes expansion

Huron Valley Financial has spent much of its first 17 years establishing its mortgage services in Michigan.

Today the Ann Arbor-based company has eight branches in Michigan, employing 75 people. That's after it opened two new branches in Clarkston and Kalamazoo over the last year, prompting it to hire a additional dozen people. Those new hires are mostly of loan officers and customer support professionals.

Now Huron Valley Financial is eyeing a bigger expansion across the U.S. this year. Indiana, Texas and Florida have licensed Huron Valley Financial to originate mortgages, and a few more states are in the works.

"We have Ohio and California in the works right now," says Casey Daniels, vice president of business development for Huron Valley Financial. "Our California application could be approved any day now."

Huron Valley Financial is working to expand to southern statements to help smooth out its business model. Its revenue usually spikes in the warmer months in the Midwest to correspond with housing sales. Warmer climates in southern states means a steadier sales volume, which creates a smoother revenue stream for Huron Valley Financial.

"We would like to be able to tap into the warmer states for when it gets cold up here," Daniels says.

Huron Valley Financial has continued to grow as the mortgage industry has shrunken over the last year, primarily thanks to rising interest rates and falling refinancing sales. Despite this, Huron Valley Financial kept on growing while other lenders were laying people off.

"We never grew too big too fast, even during the good times," Daniels says. He adds, "We haven't gone through any layoffs because we have a great business model."

Source: Casey Daniels, vice president of business development for Huron Valley Financial
Writer: Jon Zemke

Tebis America hires in Troy, moves to smaller office

Tebis America did something most growing companies don't do. It moved to a smaller office.

The North American arm of German-based Tebis specializes in providing 3D CAD/CAM software systems for manufacturers the automotive and aerospace industries. Its software organizes CAD/CAM process chains for manufacturers.

The 30-year-old parent company set up shop in Troy in 1995. Today it employs 15 people after hiring three new staffers over the last year. The new hires include a sales manager and technical staff. It's also looking to hire a new sales professional and someone in software support.

Despite this growth, Tebis America's thoughts its old home in Troy (which was attached to a light industrial building) was too large. A change in ownership there prompted it to scoot on over to 400 E Big Beaver, which is a bit smaller in square footage.

"The new location is just an office (with no adjacent industrial buildings)," says Gerardo Mueller, president of Tebis America. "It's a more attractive location on Big Beaver."

Source: Gerardo Mueller, president of Tebis America
Writer: Jon Zemke

Aqaba Technologies moves growing client base toward mobile

Aqaba Technologies isn't just a company. It's its clientele.

The 10-year-old firm has grown its client base to 200 organizations, including the addition of 40 new customers over the last year. That enabled the Sterling Height-based business to add a new digital marketing professional, expanding its staff to six employees and an intern.

"We're still going strong," says Ramsey Sweis, CEO of Aqaba Technologies. "We had our bumps along the way because of the economy but we’re still strong because of our client base. We’re in growth mode now."

Aqaba Technologies is moving those customers toward mobile. Today about the two thirds of the digital marketing firm’s work revolves around mobile app, mobile web apps, and mobile marketing.

"The mobile part has just taken off," Sweis says.

Aqaba Technologies became a Google Certified Partner about two years ago. That training opened the door for it to perfect its mobile strategies for its clients across the spectrum, ranging from experience mobile users to mobile novices.

Source: Ramsey Sweis, CEO of Aqaba Technologies
Writer: Jon Zemke

Prime Office Innovations grows helping firms go digital

Moving the paper trail to the digital age seems like a job that should be been completed over the last decade. That turns out not to be the case as is evidenced by Prime Office Innovations' growth.

The Macomb Township-based company has been helping business digitize their paper trail for 12 years. Prime Office Innovations likes to say that it "helps companies move from print to possibility" when it comes to digitization. It’s a harder sell at times than one would think.

"You still have diehards who want to have paper in their hands," says Kevin Macklem, co-owner of Prime Office Innovations.

Converting those die-hards has turned into an increasingly profitable business model for Macklem and his team. The company has hired three people over the last year, including two new technicians and one new sales professional. The company now has a staff of 14 employees and two interns and is looking to hire a new business development manager.

Prompting that hiring spike is double-digit gains for the company. Both its revenue and its profits are up by more than 10 percent in the last year.

"The challenges (of the recent recession) are behind us now," Macklem says. "I'm seeing more spending in the manufacturing sector, automotive supplier spending specifically."

Source: Kevin Macklem, co-owner of Prime Office Innovations
Writer: Jon Zemke

Clark Hill adds a dozen attorneys in downtown Detroit

Go to the Clark Hill website, click on the "About" tab, and the first thing that appears is an option called “Our DNA” that details the law firm’s core values.

They are summarized in a few bullet points, such as "Count on More," which describes the firm’s attitude toward embracing change, and "Don't Call Me Mr./Ms.," which details the practice’s open door mentality. Those bullet points are the key to the firm's growth, which includes the recent addition of a dozen new attorneys in downtown Detroit.

"Our secret sauce is we -- as a team -- built a strategic plan around our DNA," says Don Lee, chief marketing officer for Clark Hill.

Clark Hill's addition of 12 employees to its Detroit office marks an 11 percent increase in the firm's downtown workforce in just one year. It now employs 120 people in downtown Detroit. The firm's total number of employees has grown from 100 a decade ago to 300 today.

"We're striving to be a great place to work," Lee says. "We want to be a great place to work for everyone, not just lawyers."

Clark Hill got its start in 1890 and made its name serving the manufacturing sector in Michigan. Its oldest customer, the Michigan Manufacturers Association, has been with the law firm for more than a century. Today the law firm has 12 offices in seven states and the District of Columbia.

Source: Don Lee, chief marketing officer for Clark Hill
Writer: Jon Zemke

ExperienceIT aims to bring more people into new economy

ExperienceIT, formerly IT in the D, has been redesigned as a way to give aspiring computer engineers an inside track to careers in IT and software development. It accomplishes that by training them in a classroom setting with real-world IT projects. The program also provides mentorship and on-the-job training.

"It's really a new program," says Ryan Hoyle, vice president of talent acquisition and business development for GalaxE.Solutions. "We have become a formal jobs-training program. Successful graduates of the program will receive employment of some type with our corporate sponsors."

The program sponsors include Quicken Loans, GalaxE.Solutions, Title Source, Fathead, and Marketing Associates. The first class of 45 students is starting off at the Grand Circus space in the Broderick Tower in downtown Detroit. About 200 people applied to be a part of the program. Organizers hope to hold a few more of these classes over the next year.

"We're treating this as a pilot case," Hoyle says.

Source: Ryan Hoyle, vice president of talent acquisition and business development for GalaxE.Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

Challenge Detroit welcomes third cohort of 33 new fellows

Challenge Detroit is welcoming its third cohort of fellows this month, which includes a few more fellows than previous classes.

Challenge Detroit fellows, predominately recent college graduates, participate in a year-long program where they are paired with local companies to live, work, and play in Detroit. The fellows are given a living stipend and opportunities to volunteer and sink roots in the Motor City. The hope is that the talented young people turn their fellowships into longterm commitments to the city. This year 33 fellows will take part in program, which is up two from previous years.

"We have seen a lot of interest in companies that want to participate in our program," says Shelley Danner, program director for Challenge Detroit. "They have seen a lot of our participating companies have a lot of success with our fellows."

Among the new companies participating in the Challenge Detroit program are Campus Commandos, Penske, and Clark Hill. Fellows will also join firms that have been participating in the program throughout its first three years, such as DTE Energy, Hello World, and Team Detroit.

Challenge Detroit fellows take part in six community engagement projects over the course of the program.

"We're really focused on connecting our fellows with the community," Danner says.

Source: Shelley Danner, program director for Challenge Detroi
Writer: Jon Zemke

Accent Reduction Institute spins out Accents International

Judy Ravin and Barb Niemann are in the middle of a big shake up at the Accent Reduction Institute.

First off, it's not just the Accent Reduction Institute anymore. The Ann Arbor-based company is now working closely with Accents International, which spun out of Accent Reduction Institute three months ago.

The 8-year-old company made a name for itself providing accent reduction training programs. Those programs gave non-native English speakers the tools to communicate seamlessly. Think of software that helps people with English pronunciation.

"I felt that Accent Reduction Institute was up and running and doing great," Ravin says. "This year we converted all of our learning material to online and hosted in the cloud. It was a big milestone for us."

Today Accent Reduction Institute focuses on licensing those programs out to corporations and large institutions looking to help their employees overcome language barriers. It's primarily a product company.

Ravin, who is still a board member at Accent Reduction Institute, and Niemann launched Accents International to handle the service end of the business. The LLC focuses on providing educational training to people who speak English as a second language and want to do so with ease and clarity.

"We really missed the teaching side of this," Ravin says. "There is nothing more gratifying than working with people and helping them clarify their professional expertise."

Source: Judy Ravin, co-founder of Accents International
Writer: Jon Zemke

Internet2 adds staff as it expands higher-ed tech offerings

New technology agreements and a few new hires are on the radar for Internet2. The Ann Arbor-based, member-owned technology community is signing new agreements to increase technology sharing between universities and hiring a handful of people in Tree Town.

Internet2 is working on a special offering that could bring Amazon Web Services to its membership, a collaborative of U.S. research and education organizations. The deal is in process and could come to fruition as soon as this summer.

"Amazon Web Services are highly desired by higher education," says Todd Sedmak, PR & media relations manager with Internet2. "It's one of the most robust platforms to help our researchers."

Internet2 also launched the Unizin consortium, earlier this month with the University of Michigan serving as one of the co-founding partners. The four co-founding universities will provide a common technological platform, overseen by Internet2, that allows members to work locally and strengthen their traditional mission of education and research while using the most innovative digital technology available.

"They can leverage that for digital learning on their campus and the campuses that are participating," Sedmak says. He adds, "It all stays within the academic community."

Internet2 recently hired an associate vice president of community engagement in Ann Arbor. It also has three open positions for associate program managers and a community engagement manager. You can find those openings here, here and here.

Source: Todd Sedmak, PR & media relations manager with Internet2
Writer: Jon Zemke
2640 Articles | Page: | Show All
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