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TelNet Worldwide opens Southfield data center

TelNet Worldwide is opening a new data center in Southfield, transforming a several-year-old building that had never been occupied into a state-of-the-art tech hub.

The Troy-based business opened a Tier III data center, renovating an existing building that was built in a tech park. "It was a brand-new building that has been empty for five years," says Mark Iannuzzi, president of TelNet Worldwide.

The 40,000-square-foot  facility is designed, equipped, and operated to standards ensuring high availability of mission-critical data and applications in a secure environment for industries such as health care, finance, manufacturing, and government. That makes the facility a Tier III data center, one level below the top-of-the-line (Tier IV) data centers.

TelNet Worldwide choose to put the data center in Southfield because of its proximity to numerous businesses, among other reasons.

"There is a very rich vein of fiber going through that area for a number of reasons," Iannuzzi says.

TelNet Worldwide has hired 30 people over the last year, expanding the company’s workforce to 135 employees and an intern. It is also looking to hire six new people right now, including technicians, support, engineers, and sales. Two of those positions are for the new data center.

Source: Mark Iannuzzi, president of TelNet Worldwide
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Mt. Clemens-based eyeWyre Software Studios adds staff

2015 is turning out to be a very good year for eyeWyre Software Studios. The downtown Mt. Clemens-based firm has watched the volume of its work spike by 25 percent in the first quarter.

That has allowed eyeWyre Software Studios to hire a project manager, expanding its staff to a dozen employees and a dozen interns from Macomb Community College and a high school intern from Utica Community Schools. The company is also looking to hire a couple of software engineers.

"The first quarter of this year has been incredible for us," says Matt Chartier, president of eyeWyre Software Studios. "There has been a huge volume of activity."

One of its major projects is launching this spring -- an online recruiting system for culturecliQ. EyeWyre Software Studios designed and developed the software platform with a patent-pending algorithm that assesses and matches a company’s culture and needs to candidate’s employment requirements.

"The systems is pre-screening the candidate to fit the culture," Chartier says. "It's also doing the same for the candidate."

The idea is that there is a simpler way to find the right culture fit for an open position that doesn't require reading thousands of words from resumes and work samples. The hope is that the technology leads to better workplace matches with more longevity. It launched earlier this spring and Chartier expects it to gain traction through the rest of this year.

"It's a whole new way to think about recruiting," Chartier says.

Source: Matt Chartier, president of eyeWyre Software Studios
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Berylline Corp. builds three-wheeled hybrid scooter that gets 100 mpg

When people think of hybrid vehicles, they usually picture cars -- maybe heavy trucks and buses. Berylline Corp. wants you to think of its three-wheeled scooters.

"We saw there was a void in the (hybrid vehicle) market for a scooter, a three-wheeled trike," says Dennis Dresser, president of Berylline Corp.

The Troy-based company has created a three-wheeled vehicle called the Berylline F2A hybrid scooter. The scooter has two wheels in the front and one in the rear. It weighs about 300 pounds and gets 100 mpg thanks to its hybrid system that includes a lithium-ion battery.

"You can drive it exclusively in electric mode or exclusively in gas mode or any combination," Dresser says.

The Berylline F2A hybrid scooter comes with a six-pound lithium-ion battery that is removable from the main body of the vehicle. The idea is to enable users to bring it inside their home and charge when they are not riding the bike.

"We wanted to make it as accessible as possible," Dresser says.

Berylline's team of seven people is currently showing off the scooter with the idea of raising money for production. Dresser hopes to raise $5 million in seed capital this year with an eye for selling the scooters next year.

Source: Dennis Dresser, president of Berylline Corp
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Turbo-Teck launches new electronics website, Cablecables.com

Turbo-Teck is launching a new website, Cablecables.com, with the idea of providing electronics hardware odds and ends at a competitive price.

"Pricing is becoming quite a bit of an issue in the electronics industry," says Jay Askerow, CEO of Turbo-Teck. "People got away with high margins for years, but now with China in the picture, everything is much more price sensitive."

The Southfield-based business will sell high performance HDMI cables featuring RedMere technology, television wall mounts, and frameless in-wall, in-ceiling and invisible speakers among other items. The idea is to offer products at low prices that come with online sales and ship from a central location in the Midwest.

The 1-year-old company currently employs three people and is looking to hire two more in sales and operations. That team is working to make Turbo-Teck the least expensive option for home entertainment center accessory hardware in North America.

"We have quite a few people who buy from us nationally," Askerow says. "We have consumers and installers."

Source: Jay Askerow, CEO of Turbo-Teck
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Southfield-based Nexcess hires 19, grows staff to over 100

Nexcess is a tech company on a significant growth curve, but things haven't always been this good for the Southfield-based company. While it has enjoyed about 30 percent revenue growth over each of the last few years, the web hosting firm had a rocky start when it launched in 2000.

"The first six years were hand to mouth," says Chris Wells, CEO of Nexcess. "It took a long time to be able to feed ourselves."

That was then. Today, Nexcess employs a staff of 112 people and several interns. It has hired 19 people over the last year, primarily people in technical support, system administration, and software engineering. It's still looking to hire a few people now.

"We're always looking for support technicians, system administrators, and software engineers," Wells says.

Nexcess' growth ride is being powered primarily through its work with e-commerce. Wells points out a number of businesses turned to e-commerce solutions when the economy went south and that trend has not abated since. However, Nexcess is looking to diversify more with work in cloud computing and virtualization.

Source: Chris Wells, CEO of Nexcess
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Vectorform partners with DTE to launch Powerley

A downtown Royal Oak tech firm and the biggest utility in Michigan are partnering to launch a new startup aimed at helping mobile users be more energy efficient.

Powerley is the product of a joint venture between DTE Energy and Vectorform, a digital experience company. The 1-month-old venture is launching a platform for utility customers to link their smartphones to smart meters, enabling them to take a comprehensive look at their energy use.

"Powerley can bring the technology and the expertise in energy efficiency to world," says Kevin Foreman, CTO of Powerley.

The Powerley home-energy-monitoring platform can help track energy usage down to the consumption of individual electrical devices. It also provides personalized tips on how to best save energy. Check out a video describing it here.

"A lot of our early adopters are either retirees or not as technology savvy as you would think," Foreman says.

The Powerley platform has been three years in the making. The joint venture currently employs six people and is looking to add a few more. Vectorform has also worked with DTE Energy to produce the DTE Insight mobile app, which allows utility customers to monitor and personalize their energy consumption patterns.

Source: Kevin Foreman, CTO of Powerley
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

C&G Solutions PLC triples staff in Southfield

Jehan Crump-Gibson worked for many years as an attorney in both government and corporate settings. Those experiences inspired her to launch her own firm, C&G Solutions PLC.

"These were great experiences, but I didn't feel I had the autonomy to really help my clients," Crump-Gibson says.

She launched the legal practice five years ago. Today the Southfield-based firm serves the metro Detroit area and specializes in a broad variety of subjects, including civil litigation, probate, government affairs, and business law. Over the last year, the firm has grown its revenue by 35 percent, allowing it to make its first hires (an attorney and a clerk), expanding its team to three people.

"I have been able to grow personally and give some people some great work experiences," Crump-Gibson says.

That growth has come from word-of-mouth recommendations by C&G Solutions PLC's clients.

"My clients are pleased with my work and are helping me," Crump-Gibson says.

Source: Jehan Crump-Gibson, managing member of C&G Solutions PLC
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

UltraLevel spins out CloudSAFE in Southfield

UltraLevel, an IT firm, is spinning out a private cloud computing company called CloudSAFE this week.

"Our customers are companies like UltraLevel," says Michael L. Butz, Sr., founder & CEO of UltraLevel. "We have three partners, and we are working to grow it from there."

CloudSAFE offers integrated private and hybrid cloud services with live technical support. Its initial products include providing IT infrastructure out of the office and into a secure private cloud, IT disaster recovery services, a managed firewall protection services, and voice-over IP services.

The company is currently covering the Midwest and part of the Washington, D.C., area. Butz has plans to make the company a national player within the next 12 months.

"I'd like to establish us as North America’s premier private cloud computing company," Butz says.

CloudSAFE currently employs a team of 15 people and is hiring.

"We expect to double in the next 12 months," Butz says.

Source: Michael L. Butz, Sr., founder & CEO of UltraLevel
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Community Choice, NuPath credit unions merge

Community Choice Credit Union is merging with NuPath Community Credit Union, creating a larger metro Detroit-based financial institution that will carry on under the Community Choice Credit Union’s banner.

The newly expanded credit union will now have 67,000 members across Michigan and $665 million in total assets. The merger with NuPath Community Credit Union will open up the downriver market to Community Choice Credit Union, along with other locations across Michigan.

"Downriver certainly is an area that is a good fit for us," says Alan Bergstrom, senior vice president & chief marketing officer for Community Choice Credit Union. "NuPath also has a branch in Holland, which was attractive to us. We have been looking at going from a strictly metro Detroit credit union to serving other areas of Michigan."

NuPath Community Credit Union has three branches in Wyandotte, Flat Rock, and Holland. Those branches and the credit union’s employees will be folded into the Community Choice Credit Union's workforce. The new credit union now employs about 200 people.

Community Choice Credit Union will now have 13 branches after the merger. The Farmington Hills-based credit union recently opened a new branch in Northville near Six Mile and Haggerty roads. It is also in the process of building out another new branch in Shelby Township that is set to open early next year. The 80-year-old credit union is also looking to execute more mergers, one of which is currently in the works.

"Based on our strategic plan, we have a pretty aggressive growth plan in place," Bergstrom says. "That includes mergers."

Source: Alan Bergstrom, senior vice president & chief marketing officer for Community Choice Credit Union
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Qstride looks to hire 25 people at Techweek Detroit

Qstride is celebrating its birthday in a big way. The 3-year-old firm plans to hire 25 people later this month, starting at the Techweek Detroit conference next week.

"We're looking to hire a number of technologists at Techweek," says Shane Gianino, CEO of Qstride.

Techweek is a national conference that specializes in technology entrepreneurship. It brings together local leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors who specialize in everything from software to hardware. The week-long event will be held at Ford Field starting on Monday.

Qstride is one of the sponsors of Techweek Detroit and plans to use the event as a recruiting tool for the staffing end of its business. The Troy-based company (it also has an office in downtown Detroit) generates the lion’s share of its revenue from providing staffing and consulting services to tech firms. It also resells software.

Qstride has customers across the U.S., from New York to Texas to San Francisco. It has grown significantly over the last year, expanding its staff to 20 people with eight hires. It is also looking to begin raising a $1 million seed round to help it rapidly scale its growth curve.

"We're starting the process of raising the capital, such as putting together the pitch deck," Gianino says.

Source: Shane Gianino, CEO of Qstride
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Attorney creates own law practice based on mediation

Antoinette "Toni" Raheem knew what it was like to work in corporate law. She knew it so well that she was inspired to launch her own legal practice: Law & Mediation Office of Antoinette R. Raheem.

"I was with a big firm for a number of years and learned what I could from them," Raheem says. "I decided it would be best if I went out on my own."

The Bloomfield Hills-based legal practice specializes primarily in mediation. That can mean settling disputes for everything from divorces to business partnerships gone wrong.

"The legal system is made to increase animosity between people," Raheem says.

She adds that the legal system sets up people to argue with each other. It picks winners and losers. It decides who is right and wrong. Raheem believes there is a different way forward for litigants through simple communication.

"You can meet everybody’s needs," Raheem says. "You don't need a winner or a loser."

The Law & Mediation Office of Antoinette Raheem is a one-woman show, but it's one that is pushing for change in the local legal system.

"I'd like to see more immediate and frequent use of mediation," Raheem says.

Source: Antoinette "Toni" Raheem, owner of the Law & Mediation Office of Antoinette Raheem
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

123.Net leads effort to create Detroit Internet Exchange

123.Net is leading an effort to add more speed and remove more problems from your Internet experience.

The Southfield-based Internet/data center company has created the Detroit Internet Exchange (Det-IX for short), a local Internet exchange passing Internet traffic locally between carriers for improved speed and lower cost.

"Our goal is to get as many companies in Michigan to interconnect locally instead of paying carriers in Chicago," says Ryan Duda, CTO of 123.Net.

Today, people from metro Detroit who send an email to their neighbor might have to route it through a Chicago-based Internet exchange. Going through a third-party provider in another time zone creates a longer sending time. Many major metropolitan areas already have an Internet exchange, but this will be metro Detroit’s first.

Det-IX will enable local carriers who share bandwidth to send information over the World Wide Web faster and more affordably by utilizing peer-to-peer efficiencies. The creation of Det-IX will also upgrade the data infrastructure in Michigan and make it more appealing to new economy businesses who depend on Internet connectivity.

Source: Ryan Duda, CTO of 123.Net
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Waltonen Engineering aims to fill 30 positions for engineers, designers

Waltonen Engineering is looking for engineers, designers, project leaders, and others as it hustles to keep up with the demands of customers. The Warren-based firm is looking to fill 30 positions in all. You can check out the openings here.

"Our customer base has been extremely busy," says Lloyd Brown, CEO of Waltonen Engineering. "We want to make sure we are in a position to support our longstanding clients. The one thing we hate to do in business is turn down business."

To make sure that doesn't happen, the 58-year-old firm is looking to fill positions working on products in the manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and military sectors.

"It's busy in all sectors right now," Brown says. "The demand is there."

Waltonen Engineering has worked to diversify its client base in recent years, allowing it to consistently notch double-digit increases in revenue. The firm hired 20 people over the last year, expanding its staff to 125 employees and about a dozen interns.

Source: Lloyd Brown, CEO of Waltonen Engineering
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Plymouth-based Algal Scientific scores $7M in Series B

Algal Scientific recently secured a Series B round of investment worth $7 million. The Plymouth-based biotech startup plans to use the money to commercialize algae-based chemicals that help wean livestock farmers from over using antibiotics on their animals.

"The $7 million is a great thing," says Geoff Horst, CEO of Algal Scientific. "We're seeing a lot of interest from the agricultural industry."

The 6-year-old startup launched by developing a wastewater treatment system that uses algae to remove nutrients from contaminated water. The leftovers would become the raw materials for biofuel production. It won the grand prize of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition a few years ago and has since raised a combined $10 million in seed capital, including the most recent Series B.

The latest investment was led by Formation 8, with additional participation from Evonik Industries and Independence Equity. Algal Scientific has also received extensive help from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

"Without them we certainly wouldn't be where we are right now," Horst says.

Algal Scientific is now focused on developing agriculture solutions, such as the massive overuse of antibiotics in food supply. Its principal product, Algamune, is the world’s first beta glucan commercially produced from algae, which can be introduced into the diets of livestock and poultry to naturally support the animals' immune systems without relying on antibiotics.

"We have been really ramping up production of the algae," Horst says.

The company has hired five people over the last year. It now employs a staff of 14 employees and the occasional intern.

Source: Geoff Horst, CEO of Algal Scientific
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

DroneView Technologies lands seed capital for commercial drone tech

DroneView Technologies has landed an undisclosed amount of seed capital from a big name, R.L. Polk & Co chairman Stephen Polk.

The Bloomfield Hills-based company is developing technology for drone aerial imaging solutions and drone operator training.

"It's an opportunity where we would rather make our own platform," says Michael Singer, CEO of DroneView Technologies. "It's an industry that's really at an inflection point. It was developed by the military and is being adapted to commercial uses."

The 1-year-old company currently employs two employees and 6-12 independent contractors. It is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills but also has an office in New York. The seven-figure seed capital raise will help the company further develop its technology and add to its team.

DroneView Technologies is looking to apply its technology to a broad variety of industries, such as real-estate construction and industrial inspection. Any place where data needs to be collected in hard-to-reach places.

"We want to become a nationally recognized brand in drone space," Singer says.

Source: Michael Singer, CEO of DroneView Technologies
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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