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Online Tech

305 E. Eisenhower
Suite 300
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Mike Klein

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
My personal background started in 1993 when I took an entrepreneurial management class at the University of Michigan as part of its MBA program. As part of the class, I wrote a business plan with three other classmates, competed in their business plan competition and won. Later that year, I started the business (Steeplechase Software) with two co-founders in my basement and grew it to $10 million in revenue before we sold it to Schneider Automation in 2000.

I've been fortunate enough to take advantage of a broad set of entrepreneurial education programs including New Enterprise Forum here in Ann Arbor, MIT/Inc Magazine's Birthing of Giants Program, and Intel Capital's CEO roundtables. Each developed my perspective on business, leadership and entrepreneurship in different ways.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
We've hired several of our interns as employees and both are making terrific contributions in helping us grow our business with a fresh perspective that younger workers can bring to the table.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
My previous two companies were funded by individual investors, institutional investors, and venture capitalists, all of which were great partners to work with. Online Tech is closely held by four private investors, three of which are active in the management team.

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
The combination of the Midwest work ethic, access to world class technical talent, the lowest number of natural disasters in the country, and the cool weather make Michigan an ideal place to operate a data center hosting company.

It's often said that Metro Detroit and Michigan need to reinvent their economies to be competitive. Are we making those changes, and if so are we making enough of them or doing it fast enough?
When I started my first business 18 years ago, entrepreneurs faced strong head-winds trying to get their company off the ground. We had an automotive-centric business environment and a very immature support infrastructure for start-ups. A lot has changed in the last 18 years to put Michigan in much more of a leadership position when it comes to entrepreneurship and start-ups. If you look at regional programs like Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley, New Enterprise Forum, the Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship and Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest, we're building an infrastructure and educational system that will result in some truly amazing companies being built right here in Michigan over the next decade.

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