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WaitTime technology tracks fan movement in big venues


At major sporting events, every fan tries to calculate the best time to go to the concession stand -- the time when there are no lines and the stand is well-stocked. WaitTime wants to help fans eliminate the guesswork.

The downtown Detroit-based startup is working on advanced imaging technology for large entertainment venues. The idea is to let the house better track when and where its fans go during the game and how to better serve them.

"We are nearing the end of development," says Zachary Klima, founder & CEO of WaitTime. "We expect to finalize it within the next two weeks."

The Bizdom-graduate company launched a year ago with the idea of creating a software plug-in that allows a business to broadcast its wait times for service in real-time to their website, mobile app, or digital signage. It could be used at eateries, retail stores, professional service business, or any place that might have a line.

Klima and his partners ran into a few other people working in the space and decided to pivot last spring. The team of a dozen people is now targeting the sporting industry with its new technology platform. It is currently running as a pilot program at four Midwestern stadiums/arenas. The company plans to expand that list to 20 by the end of the year.

"We saw the sports industry as where the big money is in this space is," Klima says.

Source: Zachary Klima, founder & CEO of WaitTime
Writer: Jon Zemke

Inforum's inGAGE program aims to help women-led firms

The Inforum Center for Leadership is looking for a few good women, specifically women entrepreneurs.

The downtown Detroit-based organization works to support women in business. Its inGAGE strategy focuses on supporting women-led, high-growth companies.

"This is really to support women in disruptive companies in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) industries," says Rachele Downs, vice president of entrepreneurial strategy at the Inforum Center for Leadership.

The inGAGE program is in its third year. It’s first two cohorts had 33 graduates. Those women helped launch or grow 16 companies which created 43 new jobs. Those companies have raised $10 million in seed capital. And all of it adds up to a more experienced network of female entrepreneurs in Michigan.

The new inGAGE program will feature a "Growth" section that teaches women the basics of what it takes to launch a new business venture and a "Master Class" that focuses on emerging second stage entrepreneurs. The "Role Model and Investor Series" creates a supportive community of women entrepreneurs through angel investors.

"The more representatives we have in the investor class the more investment we will have in women-owned companies," Downs says.

Applications for inGAGE classes will be accepted until Feb 28. For information, click here. The Inforum Center for Leadership currently employs a team of 10 people. It is looking to hire a program manager.

Source: Rachele Downs, vice president of entrepreneurial strategy at the Inforum Center for Leadership
Writer: Jon Zemke

Stout Systems takes aim at record growth year in Ann Arbor

Stout Systems has been riding a nice wave of success since the Great Recession hit, and it looks like the ride has yet to crest for the tech firm.

"If it keeps going this way for us it will be a record year for us," says John W. Stout, founder & president of Stout Systems. "It was already a record January for us."

The Ann Arbor-based company providing staffing and consulting services in the software and IT sectors. It's fourth quarter last year produced the best sales ever for the 22-year-old firm. That allowed it to add to its staff, including four hires in January and another one coming onboard this month. The firm currently employs 35 people, including a dozen that work at client sites.

"The area we have grown the most is our consulting business," Stout says. "It has really taken off in the last few years."

Stout Systems also recently won the Corp! Magazine's 2015 DiSciTech Award in the Science and Technology category for its innovative and cost effective project management system. The DiSciTech awards are presented to Michigan companies and educational organizations that are leading the way in science, technology and digital initiatives through innovation, research and applied science.

Source: John W. Stout, founder & president of Stout Systems
Writer: Jon Zemke

Draper Triangle’s Ann Arbor office spreads the seed capital

Draper Triangle Ventures opened its Michigan office in Ann Arbor a year ago, and the venture capital firm is off to a fast start.

The Pittsburgh-based firm has made investments in two Ann Arbor-based startups over the last year. The first was in Amplifinity, which makes referral software, in early 2014. Draper Triangle Ventures also recently sunk money into Pixel Velocity, a image processing and data analytics startup.

"A person can make and manage two investments per year," says Jonathan Murray, managing director of Draper Triangle Ventures’ Ann Arbor office. "I'll make two investments this year, and Pixel Velocity is one of them."

Draper Triangle Ventures has more than $200 million under management across three funds. Its latest investment fund was set to raise more than $100 million. The venture capital firm invests in early stage tech ventures, such as software and IT startups.

Murray is Draper Triangle Ventures’ lone representative in Michigan. The firm has its main office in Ann Arbor and another satellite location in downtown Detroit. Murray expects to make one more investment in a local startup this year but that number could grow.

"I have a long list (of potential startups to invest in)," Murray says. "There are a lot of very good prospects on it. It could change from two investments to three investments if the right opportunity comes along."

Source: Jonathan Murray, managing director of Draper Triangle Ventures’ Ann Arbor office
Writer: Jon Zemke

Rocket Fiber, a super-fast fiber Internet service, coming to downtown Detroit

If you're just learning about Dan Gilbert's proposal to outfit the greater downtown area with hyper-fast fiber optic Internet service, you're probably connecting to the Internet with a dial-up modem. (For you youngsters who have no idea what "dial-up" means, read this.)
 
According to Crain's Detroit Business, Gilbert's spokespeople have confirmed their plans to launch Rocket Fiber, an "advanced fiber-optic Internet network that will serve residents, local government and businesses in and around downtown Detroit," providing them with connection speeds that are over 100 times faster than what is currently available.
 
According to Crain's, Rocket Fiber's network "originates west of downtown Detroit, and the initial scope covers the central business district from M-10 to the west, I-75 to the north, I-375 to the east and the Detroit River to the south." Eventually the network will be expanded to other areas of the city. More details on roll out of the service to come.
 
Read more in Crain's Detroit Business

According to science Jolly Pumpkin is 6th best beer in Michigan

Dexter's Jolly Pumpkin Brewery ranks six out of the twelve best beers in the Mitten. Or so says Thrillist online magazine. And, frankly, we take serious issue with that assessment. Don't get us wrong, there are many fine Michigan brews on their "scientific" list. But sixth? Puh-lease. Jolly Pumpkin easily ranks in the top three. So say we all!

Excerpt:

"Jolly Pumpkin is all about those rustic, country style, sour beers, and if the whole sour thing seems off-putting to you, don’t worry about it. Most folks who think they don’t like sour beer wind up liking Jolly Pumpkin’s sour beer, so much so that their facilities last year maxed out at around 4-5,000 barrels. And although this is a beer list, you should also eat their food. Trust us."

Read the rest o' the list here.
 

NerdWallet says Ann Arbor is an innovative tech hub

Looks like news of Ann Arbor's tech scene is spreading. While we didn't break the top 10, NerdWallet lists us at a respectable 12th for innovation.

Excerpt:

Silicon Valley is by far the leader. With a high number of patents per capita and venture capital funding figures that no other place comes close to, the metro area that includes the cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara leads all in tech innovation.

The West dominates. Only two East Coast places made our top 10 list — Burlington, Vermont, and Boston, Massachusetts.

Universities are key. Every area in our top 10 is located near a major university, suggesting that higher education and innovation are closely linked.

Read the rest here.
 

Local investors bet on Ann Arbor as tech hub

Hoping to bring together Ann Arbor startups struggling to grow, a pair of execs at Nutshell Inc. have decided to develop a tech hub incubator. And they already have their first tenant before the doors have opened.

Excerpt:

"Using the Madison Building in downtown Detroit as the model, a group of former Barracuda Networks Inc. executives wants to create a large hub for tech startups in downtown Ann Arbor.

They have signed a purchase agreement to buy two adjacent office buildings downtown and are negotiating to buy one or two more buildings. They hope to close on the first deal in about a month and have a build-out done in six months."

Read the rest here.
 

Pixel Velocity scores $10M in Series B round

Pixel Velocity has landed $10 million in seed capital thanks to a Series B round of investment in the image processing and data analytics startup.

"They're really well-positioned in an area that combines data from sensors and data analytics," says Jonathan Murray, managing director of the Ann Arbor office of Draper Triangle Ventures, which also participated in Pixel Velocity’s Series B.

The Ann Arbor-based company creates sensor technology that helps provide safety, security and operational continuity solutions to commercial and government facilities. Its imagery and data analytic tools help protect users from accidental or natural threats, such as leaks, spills or intrusion. The company is planning to expand into the oil and gas market this year.

Money from the Series B will fund the Pixel Velocity’s revenue growth and expanding operations by adding more working capital to its bottom line. That money will help do everything from adding inventory to expanding its staff. The company has hired 10 people over the last year, including positions in executive management, software development, and hardware engineers. It currently employs 17 people and the occasional intern.

"We will also be doing some work on our branding," Grisham says.

Source: Heather Grisham, COO of Pixel Velocity, and Jonathan Murray, managing director of the Ann Arbor office of Draper Triangle Ventures
Writer: Jon Zemke

Twenty-year-old tech firm DASI Solutions grows staff, revenue in downtown Pontiac

DASI Solutions has grown significantly over the last year by expanding its work from within. The 20-year-old tech firm grew its revenue by nearly 10 percent last year. All of that new work has come from familiar sources.

"Our growth has come from our existing base," says David Darbyshire, partner with DASI Solutions. "They are buying more from us as the economy rebounds. It’s a good indicator we're doing something right."

DASI Solutions specializes in engineering and tech work, helping companies implement of CAD, CAE, and PDM collaborative technologies for product development. It bought and renovated its current headquarters in downtown Pontiac a little more than a year ago.

The firm currently employs a staff of 43 after hiring five people, including customer support and community outreach professionals. It is also looking to hire another four people in web design, marketing, engineering, and sales.

Darbyshire expects the company’s current trajectory to continue this year in much the same way it did in 2014. "I expect to grow even more," Darbyshire says.

Source: David Darbyshire, partner with DASI Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

An Auburn Hills-based company may have revolutionized the wheelchair

Clinton River Medical Products, an Auburn Hills-based company, may have revolutionized the wheelchair.

The company's new model, Tailwind, combines both the freedom of manual operation and power to make using a wheelchair easier. It also includes a sleek, lightweight design with an intuitive software that helps provide a little extra push when users want it deployed. Check out a video of how the product works here.

"It's a hybrid between a manual and a powered wheelchair," says Craig Doescher, general manager of Clinton River Medical Products. "It provides you with a boost when you place your hands on the grips."

Clinton River Medical Products finished development of this wheelchair in 2013 and has spent the last year introducing it to the marketplace. Doescher expects significant sales in 2015 because his company is launching a full-on marketing campaign to support the Tailwind.

"We're hitting the point where we have been in the market long enough for broad recognition to develop," Doescher says.

Clinton River Medical Products has a staff of 11 employees and one intern after hiring five (mainly sales and engineering professionals) over the last year.

Source: Craig Doescher, general manager of Clinton River Medical Products
Writer: Jon Zemke

Media production firm Three Lyons Creative launches out of Hamtramck

Tony Eggert worked a corporate job in the automotive sector until he couldn't take it anymore. Now he is pursuing his passion and launching his own business, Three Lyons Creative.

Eggert launched the media-production company with his brother, Daniel Eggert, and his cousin, Mike Williams. The one-year-old company supports Detroit brands and businesses by creating video, web, audio, and graphic artwork.

"It came together because the three of us could combine and create a project that is greater than the sum of its parts," Tony Eggert says.

The Hamtramck-based company has done work for a number of local clients. During that time it has grown its team to six people. Three Lyons Creative created the campaign video for state Rep Rashida Tlaib's state Senate campaign last year. It also put together a short film called "Thick Air" that will premier next month at the Tangent Art Gallery.

"It's something that is representative of the work we want to do in the future," Tony Eggert says.

Source: Tony Eggert, co-founder of Three Lyons Creative
Writer: Jon Zemke

Lochbridge grows workforce to build 'LAYR Cloud,' a connected car framework


Technology in cars used to be simple. A motorist would turn a dial and the radio would come on. A little bit later a driver could touch a button and the windows would automatically roll down. Or the doors would lock. Or the cruise control would set. That's far from the case today, and Lochbridge is growing its workforce in downtown Detroit to accommodate it.

"It's getting a lot more fancy," says Raj Paul, vice president for automotive and emerging technology for Lochbridge.

Lochbridge used to be a division of Compuware until it was a spun out into its own full tech-service integration firm and acquired by Los Angeles-based Marlin Equity Partners. It now employs about 1,000 people in downtown Detroit.

One of Lochbridge's biggest pushes is the development of its connected car framework. LAYR Cloud enables easier automotive app integration and improves the driving experience based on driver preferences. LAYR Cloud allows for one-to-one personalization where the information delivered to the vehicle adapts to the drivers preferences and behaviors through a single, uniformed interface that can delivered through any technology platform.

"The whole thing is personalized around the driver's need and where he is going," Paul says.

Lochbridge currently employs about 300 people working on automotive. Paul's team has about a dozen people working on LAYR right now, several of whom were hired over the last year. He expects those numbers to grow over 2015.

"We always look for young talent," Paul says.

Source: Raj Paul, vice president for automotive and emerging technology for Lochbridge
Writer: Jon Zemke

U-M among top 10 universities for Peace Corp volunteers

If you're one of those townies who grumbles every time they see a U-M student playing beer-pong on their front lawn or crossing against the light when you least expect it or, well, whatever townies grumble about (over crowded restaurants, clueless drivers, too loud music, etc), keep in mind that you might be cursing the next Peace Corp volunteer. Yep, U-M ranked 8th when it comes to producing international do-gooders (51 volunteers currently).

The university also ranked No. 5 on the Peace Corps' list of the top-producing graduate schools

Or so says the Peace Corp in this report.
 

According to science Jolly Pumpkin is 6th best beer in Michigan

Dexter's Jolly Pumpkin Brewery ranks six out of the twelve best beers in the Mitten. Or so says Thrillist online magazine. And, frankly, we take serious issue with that assessment. Don't get us wrong, there are many fine Michigan brews on their "scientific" list. But sixth? Puh-lease. Jolly Pumpkin easily ranks in the top three. So say we all!

Excerpt:

"Jolly Pumpkin is all about those rustic, country style, sour beers, and if the whole sour thing seems off-putting to you, don’t worry about it. Most folks who think they don’t like sour beer wind up liking Jolly Pumpkin’s sour beer, so much so that their facilities last year maxed out at around 4-5,000 barrels. And although this is a beer list, you should also eat their food. Trust us."

Read the rest o' the list here.
 
3112 Articles | Page: | Show All
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