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Founders

Company

Chalkfly

Detroit, MI 48202

Andrew Landau

How do you make something like shopping for office supplies cool again? You create a company that sells supplies while also giving back to your local schools. You create a company that impacts a topic many people care about: public education.

That's exactly what the online store Chalkfly does. They give back 5 percent of every purchase to local schools, and they’ve created quite a business doing it.

Co-Founder Andrew Landau saw the opportunity to shake up an industry. He knew that along with his brother Ryan Landau, they wanted to start a company that helped education in America.

Andrew graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in political science, moving away to work for Google at a Chicago office. His brother Ryan graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in supply chain management, and went off to work in Washington, D.C., at IBM as a federal consultant. What brought them both back to the Motor City?

"My brother and I wanted to work together. We also wanted to be back in Detroit," Andrew Landau says. "We saw what Dan Gilbert and Josh Linkner were doing. We wanted to be a part of the entrepreneurial renaissance that was happening in Detroit."

The brothers started Chalkfly in July 2012. They joined Dan Gilbert's family of companies, entering the Bizdom tech startup program. They also received a series AA investment by Detroit Venture Partners in March, 2013.

They've had quite a bit of success this past year growing up to 15 employees and estimating $2 million in revenue by the end of 2013. They’re also hiring more for 2014. They’ve also been named one of the top startups in American to work for, according to a recent study by Turnstone.

Andrew Landau says so far they’ve helped thousands of teachers across the country, many who are paying for their own school supplies due to budget cuts. They’ve partnered with many local schools in Metro Detroit and other educational programs including Teach For America Detroit.

Online retail is also a growing industry, and Chalkfly hopes to stand out with stellar customer service and and mission to give back. While shopping online customers can choose a local teacher they’d like to give back to, or they can let the Chalkfly team do it for them based on an area code. It definitely forces consumers to consider where they shop, and how they can help give back in the process.

"We want Chalkfly to be the most incredible ecommerce experience that customers have online," Andrew Landau says.

For the new year, they'd like to continue to grow and find ways to impact the educators across the country.

"For 2014, we want to make it so that not only can you get what you want, but that you can have a fun experience shopping online," Andrew Landau says. "We've been lucky to see tremendous growth for 2013 and we're looking forward to making a huge difference for the coming year."

- Written by Amanda Lewan

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