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IT security firm VioPoint adds to staff in Auburn Hills

Every tech firm is looking to carve out its own niche in the digital landscape. VioPoint is using its new niche as a platform for its recent growth spurt.

The Auburn Hills-based tech firm specializes in cyber security and offers strategic consulting services on top of that. It has recently targeted its focus on providing an active digital defense for small-to-midsize companies.

"We realized there is a niche where there were all of these security breaches," says Kelsey Marsh, marketing coordinator for VioPoint. "Often they don't have the budget or don't realize they need security."

VioPoint steps in and offers a comprehensive solution of managed IT security services. What makes it attractive to small businesses is that since it's all inclusive it can be more affordable.

"It draws the costs down for our clients because we can create efficiencies and synergies," says Mike Pokas, vice president of consulting services for VioPoint.

The rising demand for those services has allowed VioPoint to grow, hiring four people in IT security consulting over the last year. It now employs a staff of 25. VioPoint is projecting a spike in revenue of 30-35 percent this year, and it's optimistic it can hit that number again in 2015.

"The bad guys aren't going away," Pokas says.

Source: Kelsey Marsh, marketing coordinator for VioPoint and Mike Pokas, vice president of consulting services for VioPoint
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Soothsayer Analytics launches out of Livonia

A new analytics startup is launching out of Livonia, and it's looking to start making a name for itself as the company that can translate the effectiveness of cutting-edge algorithms into everyday English.

Soothsayer Analytics likes to describe itself as a data science and machine-learning startup. It aims to use machine learning and statistical techniques to find hidden insights and patterns from complex and unstructured data.

The 3-month-old company currently has a core team of six employees and nine advisors, along with some help from overseas universities. It is also in the process of hiring another employee.

"We have some really respected people in a variety of different fields," says Christopher Dole, partner of Soothsayer Analytics. "We expect to do some really exciting work."

Some of the projects in the pipeline include a technology that will be able to forecast which college football players will make the transition to the NFL, and which team each individual player would do best with. It’s also working on a mathematical model that will help predict things like stroke or heart attack.

Soothsayer Analytics is hosting a conference at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 14. It will feature a two-hour presentation by Murthy Kolluru that aims to demystify data science. The idea is to provide business leaders with a deeper understanding of the subject by emphasizing intuition instead of the math behind some cutting-edge algorithms and concepts like machine learning.

The event will be held at 21000 W. 10 Mile Road in Southfield in Room M336. For information click here.

Source: Christopher Dole, partner of Soothsayer Analytics
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Core3 IT merges with Enlighten Technologies to form Detroit IT

Core3 IT is merging with Enlighten Technologies and forming a new company called Detroit IT.

Troy-based Core3 IT has specialized in providing hands-on work, such as a help desk. Enlighten Technologies, which was based in Birmingham, has carved out a niche for itself for IT consulting work. The two firms merged because their products complemented each other and enabled them to offer a more comprehensive package to their customers under the Detroit IT brand.

"Both teams bring a lot to the table," says Paul Chambers, CEO of Detroit IT.

Core3 Solutions also offered digital marketing and web development services. It is spinning out that side of the company into its own entity called Element5 Digital, which will employ nine people after the split.

Detroit IT will have a staff of eight people, including three from Enlighten. Chambers plans to continue expanding the range of  services and products the new company can offer.

"We're going to continue to grow our team and enhance our offerings," Chambers says. "It will really be unmatched not only in the Detroit area but in the Midwest."

Source: Paul Chambers, CEO of Detroit IT
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Expetec grows for 5th straight year, adds data-sharing product

Expetec is growing the old fashioned way, through improved services to its customers and client recommendations.

The Rochester Hills-based IT company has been hiring more staff, including a position in network administration support work, and is in the process of hiring a sales person. It now has 10 employees, with an eye for adding more at its current pace of expansion.

"We're on pace to grow for the fifth straight year at 20 percent," says Michael St. John, vice president of marketing and sales for Expetec. "We have been adding new clients and looking into new products in the market place."

Expetec offers network-managed services, telecommunication systems, servers, firewalls, computers, and a 24/7 help desk. It recently added a new product called E-Lockr. Think of it as a more secure version of Dropbox that enables businesses to share and sync important data anywhere on any device with continuous, real-time backup and comprehensive usage reports. More importantly, St. John believes it’s a more secure option than rival products.

"It allows us to control what's going on with our clients in regards to the user," St. John says, adding their clients can determine who can see what documents, when, and for how long with E-Lockr.

St. John is optimistic that Expetec's current growth streak will continue, and not just because the economy is picking up speed.

"We have been consistently getting a lot of referrals from our clients," St. John says. "They trust us and the work we do."

Source: Michael St. John, vice president of marketing & sales for Expetec
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Nexlink hires in Auburn Hills on strength of mobile industry

Mobile technology is creeping into more and more parts of the everyday economy and Nexlink Communications is one of the players making that happen sooner rather than later.

The 10-year-old tech firm has doubled its revenue each year. That has allowed it to grow to 200 employees spread between two manufacturing facilities in Minnesota, three offices in Asia, and its headquarters in Auburn Hills. Thirty of its positions are in Auburn Hills, where the company has hired five people in purchasing and sales over the last year.

Today's growth is coming primarily from its business in the mobile sector. That includes supplying new and used mobile devices, software provisioning, carrier services, back-end service and product support.

"We have a bundled solution for companies that are getting into mobile," says Peter Schmidt, director of sales and marketing for Nexlink Communications. "The big areas are healthcare, transportation and hospitality."

For instance, Nexlink Communications will help truck drivers switch their record keeping from hand-written records to elecrtronic records entered on a tablet in the vehicle. Or providing a tablet at a table in a restaurant so patrons can pay without needing the server. In both cases Nexlink Communications supplies a preloaded tablet that can be mounted and used by the workforce or customer.

Source: Peter Schmidt, director of sales & marketing for Nexlink Communications
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Beet Analytics Technology doubles staffing in Plymouth

Beet Analytics Technology software for manufacturers is gaining traction. The Plymouth-based startup has doubled in size over the last year as its software platform has established itself in the market, and the firm is on target to continue that growth streak.

"If things go as planned we should double our size in the next 6-12 months," says David Wang, CEO of Beet Analytics Technology.

The firm provides diagnostic and analytical tools that accelerate problem solving in complex manufacturing and automation operations. Its software improves problem identification and reduces production downtime so the user can optimize productivity gains.

"The market we are looking at is hidden from everyone," Wang says. "The potential is very, very large. Probably billions of dollars."

The 3-year-old company has landed a couple of contracts with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from around the world. Beet Analytics Technology now claims to have landed contracts or is in talks to sign with half of the 10 largest OEMs in the world.

"We are on the verge of winning a contract for another large OEM," Wang says.

That has allowed Beet Analytics to more than double its staff over the last year. The firm has hired seven people in senior automotive engineering and intellectual property professionals, expanding its staff to a dozen employees and one intern.

Source: David Wang, CEO of Beet Analytics Technology
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Core3 Solutions adds 7 employees, looks to hire 5 more

Core3 Solutions is starting to find its fingers in a few more pies this year, but the digital marketing/IT company is accomplishing this by sticking to its knitting.

"We stick to our core focus," says Paul Chambers, CEO of Core3 Solutions. "There is digital marketing and managed IT. We stick to those two areas."

The Troy-based company recently announced a partnership with the Metro Detroit-based Custom Sock Shop to launch Random Socks, a sock-delivery service. Random Socks will ship random selected pairs of socks to its subscribers each month. The new venture prides itself on the randomness and affordability of the monthly service.

Core3 Solutions became a part of Random Socks by exchanging part of the cost of its services for a stake in the new venture. So the firm's focus on digital marketing and managed IT remains the same, but has led it to some new business opportunities.

"Our client base has continued to expand," Chambers says. "It's why we have added staff."

The 17-year-old business is also rebranding itself in a way. It has rebranded its IT division as Detroit IT and is gearing up to rebrand its digital marketing division. The company has hired seven people in the last year, including new positions in digital marketing and IT. It is also looking to hire another five people now. Its staff currently stands at 15 employees and an intern.

Source: Paul Chambers, CEO of Core3 Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

New executive team positions Tegrit for growth in IT, software

There is a new leadership team in charge of Tegrit, and the company has its eyes set on some significant growth.

The Livonia-based firm had made a name for itself in software, specifically from software/IT services for the pension industry. Some of its marquee clients include the Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan, and the pension fund for Fresno County in California.

"We built ourselves up from $8 million from almost exclusively pension software," says Jeff Adair, COO of Tegrit.

Adair is part of a new trio of executives that has taken the reigns of the company this summer. He and Christian Curtis (the CTO) have worked at Tegrit for several years in leadership positions. They helped bring in Timothy McClure as the new CEO. He comes in with 10 new hires over the last year, all in IT positions. The firm now has a staff of 50 employees and four interns.

The new leadership team is aiming to grow the company's current tech focus. The firm is looking to expand its focus to other IT and software sectors to help diversify its customer base and grow its bottom line.

"We're looking to get a beachhead in new markets," Adair says. "Our objective is to become known as more than just pension software."

Source: Jeff Adair, COO of Tegrit
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

C-Net Systems leverages new IT work to create more jobs

Each year C-NET Systems hires a handful of people to keep up with its double-digit growth. It's a trend that has persisted for the Shelby Township-based IT firm for the last five years.

"We have been in a pretty good growth pattern for the last five years," says Nick Tobin, owner of C-NET Systems.

The firm has experienced 15-20-percent growth in each of those years. That has allowed it to hire two or three people each year, expanding its staff to a baker’s dozen today. Two hires (on-site service technicians) were made over the last three months.

"We're looking to hire three more people by the end of the year," Tobin says.

C-NET Systems specializes in providing IT services for small businesses in Metro Detroit. Some of its current clients include Energy Steel in Lapeer, Financial Architects in Farmington Hills, and AZA in Troy. Tobin plans to go after more medium-size and large clients this year as the company continues to grow.

"We have more than enough business to keep hiring people," Tobin says.

Source: Nick Tobin, owner of C-NET Systems
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Creative Breakthroughs hires 23, looks for new office

Creative Breakthroughs is in the process of helping to fill a number of jobs lately. The Troy-based IT risk management company has hired a couple of dozen people over the last year and is looking to fill another few dozen at a job fair early next month.

"We built a foundation for rapid growth," says Patrick Boyd, executive vice president of marketing for Creative Breakthroughs. "We are investing in systems and business relationships with our partners and expanding our base of partners."

The 23-year-old company has hired 23 people for IT positions in consulting, engineering and sales. it currently has a staff of 75 employees and a couple of summer interns. That growth has prompted the company to add temporary space and begin looking for a bigger home in Metro Detroit.

"We need more space," Boyd says.

Creative Breakthroughs will also host a career fair at its Troy headquarters (2075 W Big Beaver Road, Suite 700) on Sept. 3 between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. The company is looking to fill about 20 positions. It expects to eliminate the process of submitting a resume and hoping for an interview by meeting with each potential candidate and giving them an objective assessment on where their career can go.

"We plan to spend some time with everybody," Boyd says.

Source: Patrick Boyd, executive vice president of marketing for Creative Breakthroughs
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

RIIS hires 18, moves to bigger offices in Troy

Change is afoot at RIIS, and that's an encouraging thing for the growing tech firm.

RIIS has hired 18 people so far this year, including a recruiter, sales professional, mobile developers, and software developers. It now has a staff of 54 employees and three summer interns. It plans to hire another 18 people over the next year to keep pace with its growth.

"We have had the two best revenue months we've ever had," says Godfrey Nolan, president of RIIS. "The growth is consistent, not explosive."

RIIS has done tech work (think custom software platforms and mobile apps) for the likes of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan since its start in 1998. It has since diversified its customer base, taking on larger clients like North American Bancard, Michigan First Credit Union, and DTE Energy. Often it has used its expertise in mobile to help land that new work.

"We're doing lots of mobile work and a lot more work with DTE Energy," Nolan says. "We have great salespeople and have done work there before."

RIIS also executed a move from its old office in Southfield to a newer, bigger space in Troy earlier this week. The new office has 1,500 square feet more than its previous space, adding up to a total of 5,000 square feet.

"One of the reasons we moved to Troy is for more space," Nolan says.

The new space is consolidated and open. Nolan points out that the cubicle workspace for software developers is dead and an open floor plan that encourages collaboration is what's making firms like RIIS competitive today. The company's new office not only lacks walls but has space for training and recreation for the company's growing number of employees.

"It's way better than what we had before," Nolan says.

Source: Godfrey Nolan, president of RIIS
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Code ReConnect graduates first class of new IT pros

The first crop of graduates have been harvested from Automation Alley's newest IT development program, Code ReConnect.

Code ReConnect is a training program that helps people transition into careers in the IT and software sectors. The program, held at Oakland Community College's M-TEC building in Auburn Hills, includes courses on computer programming and web and app development. Graduates receive Microsoft Certified Professional certification after 120 hours of classroom instruction and 64 hours of hands-on lab time.

The first class graduated eight people. So far two of them have landed positions and the other six are interviewing for jobs. Automation Alley is working with Kelly Services to provide participants with access to employment opportunities with local tech companies through a six-month paid mentorship program. Among the participating companies are Digerati, CDH and Altair Engineering.

"It allows them to try out an employee before committing to permanent employment," says Alysia Green, director of talent development at Automation Alley.

The costs for the program are paid for by Automation Alley from funds received from a $5 million workforce development grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. Automation Alley is looking at launching its second class for the Code ReConnect program in October. For information on it, contact Automation Alley Talent Development Specialist Karol Friedman at friedmank@automationalley.com.

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

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

Information Systems Resources hires 6 in Dearborn

Information Systems Resouces has hired six people in the last year as the Dearborn-based firm grows its service offerings into every sector of the IT world.

The 25-year-old company now has a staff of 53 people, including new hires for executive assistants, business development director, and electronics recyclers. That employee base now handles services that range from hardware sales to IT support to electronics recycling.

"We try to be responsive to the industry and our customer base," says Avery Tabron, director of business development for Information Systems Resources.

Information Systems Resources helps large corporations conform to federal regulations, such as HIPPA requirements and Department of Defense standards. It has also deployed a mobile tracking system that helps track the status of IT services to the minute.

Electronics recycling is one of the biggest areas of expansion for Information Systems Resources. The recycling division specializes in remanufacturing of electronics like desktop computers, taking out the precious metals and recycling the rest. That way when a school upgrades its computer labs the old workstations don’t end up in a landfill.

"That has had significant growth to this point," Tabron says. "We have hired two additional people on that team."

Source: Avery Tabron, director of business development for Information Systems Resources
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

LevelSet Solutions adds 4 jobs, maximizes existing customer base

LevelSet Solutions is growing its bottom line not by focusing on new clients, but making the most of the work it does with its existing clientele.

The downtown Royal Oak-based firm, which specializes in digital marketing and tech consulting, has grown its revenue and staff significantly in the last year by solidly executing for its customers and helping them complete a deep dive to streamline and maximize their own businesses.

"We find clients who are looking for complete solutions instead of one-off projects," says Steve Swanson, president of LevelSet Solutions.

That has allowed the 5-year-old company to hire four people over the past year, expanding its staff to 17 employees, a handful of consultants and one summer intern. The newly created jobs include positions in Internet marketing, software development and business analysis.

"We're always looking (to hire)," Swanson says. "We never stop looking because it takes us a while to find the right candidate with the right skill set."

Source: Steve Swanson, president of LevelSet Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

WIT hires 5, moves to bigger offices in Troy

WIT is hiring and recently moved into a bigger office in Troy to accommodate that growth.

The business intelligence consulting firm has hired five people over the last year, expanding its staff to 25 employees. It is looking at adding interns this summer. It also has four open positions right now. WIT moved into a new office last July to accommodate the additional hires.

"It's a little bit bigger place, and nicer," says Quaid Saifee, president of WIT. "It fits our needs nicely."

WIT offers software and professional services focused on managing business intelligence systems. Among those services are data warehouseing, dashboard development, and predictive analytics, among other services. Some of its clients include Ford, Chrysler and Johnson Controls.

"People are relating more and more to big data," Saifee says. "We are doing a lot more work because of that as well."

This has allowed WIT to grow its revenue by 20 percent over the last year. The firm also launched the Great Lakes Business Intelligence and Big Data Summit in Troy last year. The second iteration of the event took place last month and helped bring WIT to the center of its industry.

"That brought the whole business intelligence community into one place," Saifee says.

Source: Quaid Saifee, president of WIT
Writer: Jon Zemke

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