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Partyline aims to bridge communication gap on dating sites

The creators of Partyline saw that dating sites were a bit dated and inefficient. Seeing the need, they decided to create a business to satisfy it that they hope will take social online interaction to the next level.

"We feel that social networking and dating sites have been pretty boring over the last decade," says Johny Thomas, co-founder of Partyline. "They are set up like a blog and with messaging. There isn't much interaction and it's time consuming to set up a profile."

Patryline focuses on enabling its users to set up an account within a few short minutes. It also allows users to speak to each other nearly instantaneously. The idea is the increased interaction and ability to glean more indirect information, such as a laugh, will help the process move along.

"You will know within a few minutes whether you can get along with the person or move on," Thomas says.

All from a mobile app that can be downloaded at the Apple Store. Partlyline launched the app in April and is currently in a public Beta. It hopes to hit in excess of 1 million users within a year.

"We have seen pretty healthy traction," Thomas says. "It's going pretty fast and we're excited about our growth."

Source: Johny Thomas, co-founder of Partyline
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

AQABA Technologies leverages Google partnership for growth

AQABA Technologies is enjoying double-digit growth because of its growing relationship with one of the biggest names in tech, Google.

The Sterling Heights-based firm began working with the Google Engage Agency Program last year, which required months of training and flying back and forth between Detroit and Silicon Valley.

"We have been landing large contracts and more intricate work because of our relationship with Google," says Ramsey Sweis, president of AQABA Technologies.

The 9-year-old tech firm's revenue has been on a steady trajectory since the economic downturn. It went from clocking single-digit revenue gains in 2010 to 40-percent growth in 2011 and 62-percent growth last year. The firm has watched its client list expand to more than 200, which includes not only work from new clients but expanding existing work with old customers.

"The key to our longevity is the loyalty of our customers," says Ramsey Sweis, president of AQABA Technologies.

That allowed the company to hire three people, expanding its staff to nine employees and two interns. It is currently looking for an account executive and expects to make one more hire later this summer.

Source: Ramsey Sweis, president of AQABA Technologies
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Working mom finds traction for Dashing Elements site

Mary Miodowski knows the difficulties of juggling motherhood and a job at the same time. So much so that she decided to create a business out of it, Dashing Elements.

The Fraser resident works in accounts payable and has two young daughters. Between her normal 9-5 and doing everything she can to help her kids succeed, she came to realize "we're never home. We're always busy."

Dashing Elements helps make that juggling easier by providing an Internet platform to crowd source creative ways to save time, money and stress. It tries to serve as both a resource for parents looking to maximize their time and a digital gathering place to share ideas.

Miodowski launched this site a little more than a year ago but initially struggled to gain an audience. She enlisted the help of the Blackstone LaunchPad entrepreneurial program at Walsh College in Troy, which helped her boost her website traffic and social media following through better search engine optimization.

"It has been great," Miodowski says. "It has been really helpful to me."

Miodowski is currently working the equivalent of two full-time positions now between her day job and running Dashing Elements. She would like to turn her side business into her main focus and thinks it possible now because of the help Blackstone LaunchPad provided.

"It would be nice to have a job where it didn't matter where I was but could still work," Miodowski says.

Source: Mary Miodowski, founder of Dashing Elements
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Basso Design Group scores "break-out" year in 2012

Basso Design Group is one of those companies that has consistently enjoyed success in its 10 years of business.

"We have had the good fortune of every year being the best year for us, but 2012 was a break-out year," says Dan Santonocito, managing partner & co-founder of Basso Design Group.

The Troy-based firm has traditionally done website design and Internet marketing work for some significant Michigan-based businesses. It expanded on that list over the last year, launching the redesigned websites for Genesee County and Flint. It has also done work for the Woodward Dream Cruise and Autorama.com.

All that new work nearly doubled the integrated marketing firm company's revenue. It also hired three people, including a website developer, designer and project manager. It now has a staff of 15 people and is looking to add a social media director.

Santonocito expects that sort of aggressive growth curve to continue this year. Basso Design Group plans to continue to recruit more well-known Michigan brand names to its client base to help grow its bottom line.

Source: Dan Santonocito, managing partner & co-founder of Basso Design Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Future Help Designs hires 4 as it grows Pontiac HQ

Future Help Designs is gearing up to take a big step into the education realm, partnering with a large mobile training company, Mobile Comply, to roll out a mobile development education course in mid-March.

"Their expertise is in training mobility, and ours is in mobile technology," says Glen Konopaskie, president of Future Help Designs. "We're partnering with them equally. They will help us rebuild our developer training course."

Future Help Designs
was an early adopter to the mobile world, launching its business creating apps four years ago. It has expanded into software development education in recent years, a move that has provided significant returns for the firm. It's planning on launching a new educational platform on a national scale later this year.

"That will launch an aggressive push into education for our agency," Konopaskie says.

Future Help Designs moved to downtown Pontiac a little more than a year ago, taking an active part in the city's rebirth. Its staff has been in flux over that time as demand for mobile developers has skyrocketed and more and more programmers are launching their own start-ups. Future Help Designs has hired four people (mostly replacement positions) since moving to downtown Pontiac and is bringing on a new intern this spring.

"That intern will hopefully turn into No. 5," Konopaskie says. "He has some high potential."

Source: Glen Konopaskie, president of Future Help Designs
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Start-up cureLauncher aims to become Wikipedia of clinical trials

Last year David Fuehrer and Stephen Goldner didn't know where to go to find new or experimental treatments for illness so they decided to do something about it. The started a business in Bloomfield Hills last summer called cureLauncher.

The Internet start-up now serves as a one-stop source for all new treatments and developments. It launched last fall and is now working to become the Wikipedia of clinical trials for new drugs and treatments.

"We have every enrolling breast cancer trial in the U.S.," says David Fuehrer, vice president & co-founder of cureLauncher. "It's 400 trials at 7,500 locations. Users can stroll through that list and see what is right for them."

The company is also working to help tackle the clinical trial enrollment problem. It cites that there are 50,000 clinical trials in the U.S. every year, and each one is delayed by 4.6 months due to enrollment issues. The firm hopes to help close that gap by connecting sick people with envelope-pushing treatments that could help them.

Fuehrer and Goldner's start-up recently made the finals of this winter's ACE business plan competition. The self-funded firm and its team of eight people is now applying for some seed-funding sources, such as financing from the Michigan Microloan Fund.

Source: David Fuehrer, vice president & co-founder of cureLauncher
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Billhighway continues growth streak in Troy with new hires

Billhighway's expansion continued through 2012 as the Troy-based tech firm hired more than a dozen people and continued to add more employees in the first month of this year.

The 13-year-old company hired 15 people in 2012 for a broad range of jobs, including software development, sales and accounting. It recently hired a new sales engineer and a company team player that handles things like event coordination. Sources declined to name a specific number of employees but said the total number is between 50-100 people.

"We continue to hire people," says John Schelske, COO of Billhighway. "We have brought people in from a couple of different areas. It's a pretty diverse range."

Billhighway got its start when its founder, Vince Thomas, was trying to divide bills between himself and friends while attending Eastern Michigan University. He created software that now helps organizations allocate expenses for everything from dues to dinner costs.

"We have grown through both organic growth through existing clients and some new clients as well," Schelske says.

One of the drivers of that growth is a product that includes payment processing, online banking and financial accounting. It has proven to be popular with non-profits and membership organizations, Schelske adds.

Source: John Schelske, COO of Billhighway
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

123.net looks to add 100,000 sq ft of data storage space

123.net is adding to both its staff and its business capacity.

The Southfield-based Internet firm has hired three people in 2012, expanding its office to 25 employees. It has also added 11,500 square feet of data storage space to its infrastructure with plans to expand much more rapidly in 2013.

"We have experienced quite a bit of growth," says Dave Curran, channel sales manager of 123.net. "Over the last two years we have experienced 66 percent growth. We will probably add 5-10 new employees over the next year."

123.net added 8,000 square feet of data storage space to its Southfield operations and another 3,500 square feet to its Grand Rapids-based facility. It plans to add yet another 100,000 square feet of data storage space in Southfield in 2013 for a total investment of $15 million. The addition would take place at 20,000 square feet at a time.

"That would more than double our current capacity," Curran says.

Source: Dave Curran, channel sales manager of 123.net
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Intellimins channels Matrix movie for business platform

The co-founders behind Intellimins, Maureen and Mike Foresman, like to reference the movie The Matrix when it comes describing the inspiration behind their Troy-based start-up.

Specifically, they point to a scene where Trinity and Neo are faced with needing the knowledge to fly a helicopter and immediately are able to download the skills needed. Intellimins likes to advertise itself as a website that provides "business intelligence in minutes" (Ie. short educational videos).

"As a business person you're facing a lot of dynamic challenges these days," Maureen Foresman says. "The availability of instantaneous, credible information is not always there."

Intellimins leverages cloud-based technology that offers these sorts of online learning solutions, including certificate courses, for business, government and education. The videos are available on PC’s, tablets and smartphones on a 24/7 basis.

"Everything on our site is done by experts that work for Fortune 100 companies," Maureen Foresman says. "You're getting field-proven techniques."

Maureen and Mike Foresman started the company a year ago and launched it earlier this year. They are working to make Intellimins the go-to source for this sort of information across the country.

Source: Maureen Foresman, co-founder of Intellimins
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Royal Oaker goes from corporate to start-up with BuyMichLocal

Michael Sacha spent the start of his career working in corporatelandia, learning the ropes of big business marketing over four years. He saw a lot of customers needs go unmet and knew he had to do something about it, launch BuyMichLocal.

"I left the corporate word to start doing this full-time and promoting Michigan brands," Sacha says.

The downtown Royal Oak-based business specializes in Internet marketing solutions for Michigan-based companies. His company's website serves as a platform for connecting businesses from the Great Lakes State with local customers who want to patronize local businesses.

The BuyMichLocal website features a comprehensive real time news feed and numerous daily articles targeting Michigan's small- to medium-sized business class. It also offers a value-added loyalty card that can be found on the CardStar app through your mobile device. This allows consumers to redeem active deals on the go at their favorite businesses, while offering businesses to engage with their customers.

"There is a lot of opportunity to establish a business now," Sacha says. "There is a lot of opportunity here and to grow a company in Michigan."

Source: Michael Sacha, founder & CEO of BuyMichLocal
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

LookInTheAttic moves into new Romulus facility

Ypsilanti-based LookInTheAttic has moved the bulk of its operations to a new facility in Romulus, creating jobs with plans to hire more.

LookInTheAttic sells antique reproduction hardware and housewares and also owns Silver & Gold, an online jewelry store. The 15-year-old firm has traditionally sold its products both at its downtown Ypsilanti storefront and online. However, the company's recent rapid growth forced it to find a bigger home close to its original home.

That's when LookInTheAttic CEO John Coleman found the new facility in Romulus. The 13,000 square-foot building has enough spare room to accommodate LookInTheAttic's expected growth for the next few years. It also features a large warehouse, conference space and a training room.

"It's really nice," Coleman says.

For now, LookInTheAttic has moved its 14 employees to the new space in Romulus, including four recent hires. The company is also in the process of hiring eight more sales people. The workforce will remained centered in Romulus while the firm renovates its downtown Ypsilanti space into a design center.

Source: John Coleman, CEO of LookInTheAttic
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Web start-up backstitch launches out of Plymouth

Jordan and Stefanie Warzecha know a thing or two about creating software. Jordan managed a software development department at a local business while Stefanie helps create accounting software. With this background, the logical next step for the Plymouth couple is to launch their own start-up, backstitch, with Jordan leaving his job to focus on his new business full-time.

The 6-month-old company is creating an application that serves as a personalized content aggregator. That basically means it will take your favorite news sites, daily deal sites and other websites and make them much more accessible for you.

"We noticed that everyone seems to have a daily Internet routine," Jordan says. "Everyone has to set up their newsites, check their email. Over the years this has become more complex."

Backstitch looks to simplify those habits. It launched its public Beta version last week. The Warzechas made it a minimal product with the idea of adding other features later that will tailor to users' demands.

"We put them together into a consistent user experience," Jordan says.

Source: Jordan Warzecha, co-founder of backstitch
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Waveform grows through new fiber optic project

Waveform Technology has grown its staff, customer base, and footprint in Troy over the last year.

The 20-year-old data center firm has hired two people over the last year, expanding its staff to five employees and the occasional summer intern. It has also grown its customer base from a number of Michigan-based firms to companies across the U.S. That has prompted the company to take on another facility in Troy this year.

"Essentially, we have out-grown our current facility," says Rich Tota, sales manager for Waveform Technology. "We're going to keep the building we're at and branch out into a second one, which is three times the size of our current building."

Waveform Technology's geographically diverse and growing customer base gave Tota and Waveform Technology's team the confidence to undertake the expansion. However, is the home-grown growth that was the most encouraging sign in recent months.

"Michigan's economy is starting to come up," Tota says. "That's something we noticed right off the bat."

Source: Rich Tota, sales manager for Waveform Technology
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Formcode Design Group adds 4 jobs as it diversifies client base

Formcode Design Group got its start in 2000 like so many other businesses in Metro Detroit, working primarily in the automotive sector. The Royal Oak-based web-design firm did a lot of work with General Motors and its Saturn brand.

Then the automotive industry began to falter a few years later and Formcode Design Group's co-founders, Jim and Nicole Worth, moved into doing more work for homebuilders. Then the real-estate market collapsed and the husband-and-wife duo decided they needed a broader range of clients for stability.

"After that we diversified a lot," Nicole Worth says. "We still work with homebuilders and medical and automotive and retail. We have our hands in a bunch of different things."

It has also taken on work from non-profits, like Challenge Detroit. That diversified customer-base philosophy has allowed Formcode Design Group to enjoy two straight years of growth. It has expanded to eight employees and an intern after making four hires over the last year. Those new jobs include a graphic designer and web developers.

Formcode Design Group plans to continue diversifying its client list and continue expanding into new areas, such as mobile media development and social media marketing.

"We would love to continue to grow and add a few more people," Nicole Worth says.

Source: Jim and Nicole Worth, co-founders of Formcode Design Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Start-up Own The Key helps home-buyers improve credit, save money

Last fall, Chris Forte began a business centered on helping people achieve the American Dream of home ownership.

Own The Key
specializes in providing services that help potential homebuyers improve their credit score and save money for a down payment. It works with a lot of traditional lenders and mortgage companies to deepen the home-buying pool.

"We basically coach them through the whole process," Forte says. "We get a lot of customers through mortgage lenders and our own brand awareness."

It's working so far. The Keego Harbor-based company has grown to six people and is working to establish itself as a national brand. It currently has a variety of national clients but wants to widen that reach and make itself a strong presence in Metro Detroit.

"We are going to be a national player," Forte says.

Source: Chris Forte, founder & CEO of Own The Key
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
352 Internet Articles | Page: | Show All
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