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Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Word of mouth sends InfoReady to 1,000 percent growth over five years

Five years in business is proving to be a big milestone for InfoReady, an Ann Arbor-based software startup.

"We have been doubling our revenue every year," says Bhushan Kulkarni, CEO of InfoReady. "We have had 1,000 percent growth over five years."

Which has turned InfoReady into a multi-million-dollar company. It employs a staff of 25 employees and a couple of interns. It has hired seven people (mostly software engineers) over the last year and is looking to hire another 12 staff right now. InfoReady locked down a seed round worth $2.5 million last year from angel investors. It is aiming to raise another $5 million in a Series A in 2016.

"We are not experimenting anymore," Kulkarni says. "We are not only a sustainable company, but a company that is growing."

InfoReady's software platform streamlines the research and business-venture-building process. It helps researchers and entrepreneurs match with funding sources and guides them through the bureaucracy. It also does the same with users looking for talent.

"The technology we are bringing to the market has many uses," Kulkarni says. "It's just now starting to scratch the surface."

And it's still growing. Kulkarni projects InfoReady's revenue doubling each year for at least the next three years. The software platform is currently used in 26 states and Kulkarni expects to reach every major state in the U.S. this year and begin a global expansion.

"We are creating a national footprint," Kulkarni says.

That growth is people-powered, primarily by InfoReady's customers.

"People who use our software don’t keep it on a shelf," Kulkarni says. "It's used extensively. That is what is driving our growth."

Specifically when InfoReady's customers started marketing in behalf of the startup through word-of-mouth reviews.

"The aha moment was when our customers told our story to their peers," Kulkarni says.

Kulkarni, a son of immigrants, has come a long way himself. He went from engineer at Ford to serial tech entrepreneur with multiple exits. The Saline resident serves on a number of boards of directors in Ann Arbor, including Ann Arbor SPARK and the Ann Arbor Community Foundation.

"I learn more from them than vice-versa," Kulkarni says.

Welcome to the Year of the Gazelle, an exploration of the fastest-growing startups in southeast Michigan by the Startup team and the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan (NEI). Not only will we identify the local gazelle companies that are perfecting innovative new products, creating jobs, and generating lots of revenue, we will give you a full accounting of each one. The stories behind the entrepreneurs that build these businesses. The investors that back them. The resources they leverage. How they have all worked together to build Metro Detroit's new economy, and how they plan to do it in the future. In return we will only ask you to do one thing: keep up.

- Written by Jon Zemke

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