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Detroit Labs moves into new office with 20 new hires

Walk into the new offices of Detroit Labs and there is a good chance your jaw will drop.

The mobile app firm recently moved into its new space at 1520 Woodward, a half block south of its first home in the [email protected] Building. The move is necessary because Detroit Labs CEO Paul Glomski says his firm was "bursting at the seams" in its old space after making 20 hires in its second year of business.

"We have essentially doubled in size," Glomski says. He adds the staff now stands at a little more than 40 employees and a handful of interns.

Detroit Labs creates custom mobile apps for some large corporations, including Domino’s Pizza, Chevrolet, Quicken Loans and DTE Energy. The 2-year-old tech firm is a part of the Quicken Loans family of companies and was one of the early investments made by Detroit Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital firm based in the [email protected] Building.

Detroit Labs was one of the first companies to move into the [email protected] when it opened two years ago. It recently moved into a bi-level office space in a building recently acquired by Rock Ventures, the property acquisition arm of Quicken Loans, and renovated by Bedrock Real Estate Services, the property management arm of Quicken Loans. The new space accentuates the historic building’s character with exposed steel structural beams, brick walls and period windows. It is also open with only a few walls and conference rooms. There are no individual offices so even the co-founders man desks next to everyday employees. The idea is to create an open and accessible workspace.

"It gave our whole team an energizing boost," Glomski says. "Having a creative space like this really fuels our team."

Source: Paul Glomski, co-founder & CEO of Detroit Labs
Writer: Jon Zemke

Ford acquires Internet radio startup Livio

Ford has acquired Livio, the tech startup based in Ferndale. The terms of the deal were not released.

Livio, formerly Livio Radio, got its start making Internet radios. It has since evolved to make software that enhances in-car connectivity between the vehicle and the electronics its passengers use. Ford plans to allow the startup to keep traveling down its current path, leaving its staff intact at its home in Ferndale.

"It's a win not just for our staff but for entrepreneurs all over southeast Michigan," says Jake Sigal, CEO of Livio.

He adds that his startup's "plans haven't changed" after the acquisition, which includes continuing its hiring. It currently has four positions open for software developers (more info on those positions here) on top of its staff of 11 employees, four independent contractors and a few interns.

Livio also plans to continue working to set the bar in its sector by developing new intellectual property and products. "I can guarantee we will always come out with new stuff," Sigal says.

Source: Jake Sigal, CEO of Livio
Writer: Jon Zemke

Delphinus Medical Technologies scores $11M in Series B funding round

Delphinus Medical Technologies has raised a Series B round of seed capital worth $11 million in equity and debt financing as it prepares to commercialize its SoftVue platform next year.

The 4-year-old start-up describes SoftVue as a “whole breast ultrasound tomography system” that will help diagnose breast cancer. Delphinus Medical Technologies filed for clearance for the technology with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, which should be one of the final steps it needs to take before it begins making its first sales.

“We hope to get the clearance by the end of the year,” says Bill Greenway, CEO of Delphinus Medical Technologies. He adds that will open the door to start sales through a dealer-distribution network in early- to mid-2014.

SoftVue originated in the labs of Wayne State University and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. It spun out of those institutions in 2009 and moved to Plymouth. It raised $12 million in a Series A round in the spring of 2010. The Series B round was co-led by Arboretum Ventures in Ann Arbor and Beringea in Farmington Hills. North Coast Technology Investors also participated in the Series B.

Delphinus Medical Technologies
has hired three people over the last year. Those hires included an electronics technician, a sales professional and a vice president of marketing. It currently has a staff of 20 employees and the occasional intern. The company is also looking to hire three people right now, primarily scientists and engineers.

Source: Bill Greenway, CEO of Delphinus Medical Technologies
Writer: Jon Zemke

Covaron Advanced Materials scores $550K in seed capital

Covaron Advanced Materials has locked down another $250,000 in seed capital, bringing the total for the downtown Ann Arbor-based start-up’s initial seed round to $550,000.

The $250,000 comes from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, which is run by Ann Arbor SPARK. It serves as matching funds for the $300,000 in venture capital it raised earlier this year, and is the precursor to the next round of funding the start-up plans to being raising soon.

“We expect we will be looking for A-round funding in the first quarter of next year,” says Dave Hatfield, CEO of Covaron Advanced Materials.

The 1-year-old start-up, formerly Kymeira, is developing a new chemistry for ceramics, which brings the benefits of existing advanced ceramics to new parts and markets. Vince Alessi, a University of Michigan graduate, developed the technology, which is in the final stages of commercialization. The seed capital will go toward finishing that process so it can start to make its first sales this fall.

“It (the seed capital) is going toward several things, like securing our intellectual property position, and replicating and validating the basic chemistry,” Hatfield says. “We are moving very rapidly to create the capability and the customers for the initial sales.”

Those initial sales will be in the mold, tool-and-dye industry. Covaron Advanced Materials' team of six people is also eyeing sales in the oil-and-gas industry further down the line.

Source: Dave Hatfield, CEO of Covaron Advanced Materials
Writer: Jon Zemke

Nuspire Networks hires 12, looks to add 10 more

Nuspire Networks is on a bit of a hiring spree. The Commerce Township-based IT firm has expanded internationally and made a dozen hires over the last year.

The 13-year-old company now has a staff of 90 employees and 2 interns. Its recent hires have included engineers, network security professionals, project managers, business development professionals and mobile app developers. It also has 10 open positions right now for those same sorts of positions, along with a few accounting and human resources professionals.

“As we bring on more clients we need to bring on more people,” says Saylor Frase, president & CEO of Nuspire Networks. “As we go more international we need to bring on more 24/7 people.”

Nuspire Networks specializes in providing managed IT network security services. It monitors more than 100 million security events daily. All of the company’s growth has come organically from expanded work from its existing clients and recruiting new customers. Frase says Nuspire Networks has reinvested all of its profits into the company to grow it.

Source: Saylor Frase, president & CEO of Nuspire Networks
Writer: Jon Zemke

Warmilu begins sales as it broadens heating blanketís customer base

Warmilu got its start by creating a warming blanket for infants but now the Ann Arbor-based startup is registering its first sales by broadening its customer base.

Warmilu has started selling some of its heating blankets to elderly people who use it for things like helping alleviate pain caused by arthritis, diabetes and to help with improve the overall comfort level while aging. The company is also looking to open up its customer base to people who want to use the blankets for kittens and puppies. The start-up is aiming to put its price at $29.99.

"We're looking to get 1,000 units sold by the end of the year," says Grace Hsia, co-founder of Warmilu.

The three co-founders are University of Michigan students. Hsia recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a Masters in Entrepreneurship. Warmilu has also landed a $10,000 grant from the University's Center for Entrepreneurship. So far the start-up has raised $45,000 in seed capital to fund its commercialization efforts. Hsia says it's still going to FDA approval of its blankets so it can sell them for their original purpose, warming infants.

"It's going to take us another year to get FDA approval," Hsia says.

Source: Grace Hsia, co-founder of Warmilu
Writer: Jon Zemke

Tangent Medical hires 7 as it commercializes technology

Tangent Medical began commercializing its new catheter technology this summer and the company is already starting to show some traction for it.

Earlier this month the Ann Arbor-based startup won a Gold Stevie Award in the Best New Product or Service for Health & Pharmaceuticals category and a Silver Stevie Award for Tech Innovation of the Year at the The 11th Annual American Business Awards in San Francisco. The awards came courtesy of the company’s NovaCath Integrated IV Catheter System.

"We have launched a new product that is being recognized both inside and outside of the industry as breakthrough technology," says Curtis Bloch, vice president of sales & marketing for Tangent Medical.

Bloch adds that catheter technology has been largely unchanged for about half a century. Tangent Medical describes its NovaCath Integrated IV Catheter System as "combine advanced catheter stabilization, passive needle encapsulation, tubing management and blood control." The idea is to better stabilize the catheter, improve safety for healthcare workers safety and make it more comfortable for patients. Its passive needle shielding technology and closed system design is meant to minimize risk of needlestick injuries.

Tangent Medical raised $8.6 million in a Series B round of venture capital last year. That money helped provided the final push toward commercialization. The 3-year-old company received its FDA clearance in June and began marketing NovaCath Integrated IV Catheter System shortly after. To make that possible it has beefed up its staff to 23 employees thanks to seven new hires over the last year.

"We went from company formation to commercialization within four years," Bloch says.

Source: Curtis Bloch, vice president of sales & marketing for Tangent Medical
Writer: Jon Zemke

Ginkgotree scores DVP money, moves to [email protected] Building

Detroit Venture Partners has invested $500,000 in Ginkgotree, a cash infusion that helped convince the Ann Arbor-based startup to move into the [email protected] Building in downtown Detroit this summer.

Ginkgotree creates a software platform that allows professors to create a more affordable digital curriculum. It recently closed on a Series AA worth $750,000, which was led by Detroit Venture Partners' half-million-dollar investment. The investment also came with an invitation to move into the entrepreneurial tech hub it anchors in downtown Detroit.

"It wasn't required but (moving to the [email protected]) is something we felt was best for the company," says Scott Hasbrouck, CEO of Ginkgotree. He adds that he likes the dynamic entrepreneurial atmosphere in the [email protected] and the one-on-one mentoring that is easily accessible.

That investment also allowed the 2-year-old startup to go from a team of four people to a staff of six employees and a few summer interns. More hires could also be in the offering soon.

Ginkgotree's software gives professors access to copyrighted material and other open-educational resources so they can put together an all-digital curriculum. The idea is to make the educational material more accessible and cost-effective than the current model, which can cost thousands over a few years. The startup has recently launched a couple of strategic partnerships and is in talks to have its software be used by hundreds of universities across the U.S.

We want to have pilots in many more universities (within the next year)," Hasbrouck says.

Source: Scott Hasbrouck, CEO of Ginkgotree
Writer: Jon Zemke

WorkForce Software creates 40 more jobs in Livonia

WorkForce Software is growing, adding dozens of jobs at its headquarters in Livonia as it extends the reach of its software around the world.

The tech firm, which makes management software for large employers, has hired 100 people over the last year. It now has a staff of 380 employees and eight interns. The company's revenue is up 50 percent and its software is deployed in almost 1,000 locations around the world.

"By year's end, we will be in 100 countries," says Kevin Choksi, co-founder & CEO of WorkForce Software.

Livonia has been the beneficiary of most of those hires, taking in 40 new employees over the last year. It has also added six people to its new downtown Ann Arbor office. Those positions have been predominantly software engineers but have also included technical support and sales and marketing professionals. It also has between 30 and 40 open positions, ranging from software engineering to project management.

"There is a wide range of people we are looking for," Choksi says.

Driving this growth is the company's expansion overseas. It has done a lot of work in Australia and Europe.

"It's part of a concerted effort to grow overseas," Choksi says. "It's hard work but there it a lot of potential."

Source: Kevin Choksi, co-founder & CEO of WorkForce Software
Writer: Jon Zemke

HealPay expands into rent collection with new app

HealPay has made a name for itself for its accounts-receivable software and mobile apps. Now the downtown Ann Arbor-based start-up is expanding into rent collection with a new app, Rent Roll.

"We're trying to streamline the accounts receivable part of accounting," says Erick Bzovi, co-founder & CEO of HealPay.

The 2-year-old start-up was looking to get more into merchant services and transaction services so it could harness a more consistent revenue stream. Helping facilitate payments meant they could be paid back within three to six months. Helping landlords collect rents means it can collect money every month.

"We're really into recurring revenue and payments," Bzovi says.

HealPay launched Rent Roll early this spring and already has about half a dozen landlords with at least 50 units each signed up. The rentals include multi-units in Sterling Heights and Ann Arbor and accounts for hundreds of thousands of dollars of transactions each month.

It also opened up an opportunity for HealPay's original accounts-receivable software. Now when renters fall behind on their rent their landlords can switch them over to HealPay's settlement app to make sure they collect.

Source: Erick Bzovi, co-founder & CEO of HealPay
Writer: Jon Zemke

Growing patent work prompts IP law firm to expand Detroit office

Intellectual property looks like it has a bright future on the Detroit River. A future that is creating more knowledge workforce jobs now.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office opened its first satellite office in Detroit last summer. The Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office, which overlooks the Detroit River, quickly attracted the likes of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione. The Chicago intellectual property law firm opened a Detroit office in the same building.

It has been growing since then, expanding to four attorneys and two administrative staff members. It is hiring one more employee now.

"The growth has been as planned," says Kelly Burris, managing shareholder of the Detroit office of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione. "We planned to add a new attorney in 2013 and we did that." She adds that the office's business plan also calls for hiring another attorney in 2014.

Each attorney represents about 2,000 billable hours annually. The office's work has steadily increased to support the growth and make Burris optimistic for the office's near future.

"Having a presence in Detroit has been received well by Detroit companies," Burris says.

Source: Kelly Burris, managing shareholder of the Detroit office of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
Writer: Jon Zemke

Arbor Networks hires 40-plus, looks to add 20 more

Arbor Networks began a hiring spree of dozens of new software engineers in the last couple of years, and those new workers are filling up a growing office space on the south side of Ann Arbor.

The IT security software firm hired 45 software engineers in 2012 with 40 of those jobs ending up in Ann Arbor. It started this year with 22 jobs openings and has filled a majority of them. It recently opened up 20 more software engineer positions locally.

"We are still experiencing high growth as a company, particularly at our R&D headquarters in Ann Arbor," says Kris Lamb, vice president of engineering for Arbor Networks.

The University of Michigan spin-out specializes in providing network security solutions. It has recently expanded its sales for commercial security solutions, recording rampant growth in North America and a high-degree of interest internationally.

Arbor Networks now employs close to 400 people, including 127 employees in Ann Arbor. To help accommodate this growth streak, the company added 10,000 square feet of office space and 1,200 square feet of lab space to its Ann Arbor facility.

"We have filled it all," Lamb says. "We are about to assume the rest of the State Street office space. There was another 5,000 square feet occupied by our landlord. We will be building out that space this year."

Source: Kris Lamb, vice president of engineering for Arbor Networks
Writer: Jon Zemke

HookLogic hires 10 in Ann Arbor, plans to hire 10-15 more

HookLogic continues to fill out its new office space in downtown Ann Arbor.

The tech firm moved into the former home of Leopold Brothers Brewery on South Main Street a little more than a year ago. The facility now houses a staff of 45 employees and half a dozen interns. HookLogic has hired 10 people in Ann Arbor over the last year and plans to hire another 10-15 over the next six months. It currently has openings for five positions, including software engineers and business development professionals.

"We're filling them as fast as we can," says Jonathan Opdyke, CEO of HookLogic. "It's a matter of getting qualified applicants."

HookLogic specializes in creating web-based software that deals with the delivery, management and measurement of customer incentives and promotional messaging for companies. "We have greatly expanded our client base to include a number of e-commerce sites," Opdyke says.

One of its newest products is its Retail Search Exchange software. The platform targets web-savvy shoppers who know how to turn traditional online advertising into easily ignored white noise. Retail Search Exchange allows customers to advertise their products on retail site search engines in a Google AdWords fashion. Check out a video explaining it here.

The platform launched in February and has signed up seven retailers. Opdyke says another 15 retailers are in the pipeline to sign on for the technology.

"It's growing very, very fast," Opdyke says.

Source: Jonathan Opdyke, CEO of HookLogic
Writer: Jon Zemke

Automation Alley Tech Talent Program helps fill region's IT gap

A year ago, Automation Alley landed a $5 million grant from the  U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration to help build up Metro Detroit's IT workforce.

Today the business accelerator's Technical Talent Development Program has trained 78 new people to work in IT and retrained 48 existing employees for companies. It expects to hit 119 new hires and 82 incumbent workers by the end of the year. The program aims to train 540 new IT workers within its first five years and retrain 460 workers in the same time frame.

"We are right on schedule, primarily in the new hire section," says Alysia Green, director of talent development for Automation Alley. "That's the main focus of the grant."

Automation Alley's Technical Talent Development Program provides funding to local employers for high-level IT training for both potential employees and existing workers. The training is administered by corporate training companies, workforce development organizations and educational institutions.

"When you talk about this high-level IT training, the costs range from $2,000 to $8,000 per person," Green says.

She says that many of these workers are ending up in fast-growing local IT firms, such as Secure-24 in Southfield and GalaxE.Solutions in downtown Detroit, among several others.

Source: Alysia Green, director of talent development for Automation Alley
Writer: Jon Zemke

Everist Genomics targets markets in Canada, Europe & India

Everist Genomics may be based in Ann Arbor but the medical device start-up sees a lot of its growth coming from overseas sales this year.

The 2-year-old company's principal technology, AngioDefender, helps doctors measure risk of strike and cardiovascular disease. Everist Genomics hopes to begin sales in the U.S. next year after it gets FDA approval. In the meantime, it has gotten approval to begin sales in Europe, India and Canada this year. The firm expects its exports to these foreign markets will create exponential growth.

"We believe the Canadian market will be really important to not only us but other medical device companies in Michigan because we're close to the border," says Randal Charlton, director of Everist Genomics.

AngioDefender is a non-invasive diagnostic system that utilizes non-invasive sensor technology and a sophisticated software algorithm to help physicians diagnose ailments like cardiovascular disease in its early stages. The idea is that finding who is at greater risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke help medical professionals prevent heart attacks, strokes or high-blood pressure complications.

"We believe that could be a blockbuster product because it's non-invasive," Charlton says. "It tells you whether you're at risk of cardio-vascular disease or stroke."

Charlton, the former executive director of TechTown in Detroit, is using the technology himself and keeping a blog of it, which can be read here.

Everist Genomics currently employs 30 people in Ann Arbor and another 10 overseas. It has hired three people over the last year, primarily in marketing, and is looking to hire another three.

"The growth in employees is about to take off in the next 6-to-12 months," Charlton says.

Source: Randal Charlton, director of Everist Genomics
Writer: Jon Zemke
958 Emerging Technology Articles | Page: | Show All
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