Startup City

It's an exciting time to believe in Detroit.

In spite of the city’s economic woes, or perhaps because of them, there’s plenty of startup buzz to go around, and enough to inspire entrepreneurial enterprises opening doors. 
Just ask Twitter.
Joining a growing constellation of tech startups, business incubators, angel investors and venture capitalists working to build a viable business ecosystem in downtown Detroit, the social media giant recently announced the opening of its first Michigan office in the newly restored tech hub known as M@dison downtown.

By the way, the Madison Theatre Building, located at 1555 Broadway,is owned by developer and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert’s company Rock Ventures.  Is anyone watching?  Gilbert has purchased nine downtown Detroit properties in the past year,with plans to move a total 4,000 employees to downtown Detroit from the suburbs.    

On the lookout for talent, inventors and new tech skills
Just as 2,000 former employees of Yahoo are out of work, Gilbert in association with Detroit Venture Partners will hold a job recruitment event next month in Palo Alto, CA.   
Another indication of Detroit innovation on the rise:this summer the U.S, Patent and Trademark Office will open its first satellite office in Detroit.
Without a doubt, Michigan venture firms, angel investors and startups of every stripe, from Are You Human to Zipmentsare playing key roles in Detroit’s tech renaissance and comeback. Others enterprises are pulling up on their own bootstraps, seeking creative means and new avenues to help city residents and nonprofits to organize and reach for the stars.

Startups and biz ventures to watch 
For non-profits looking to step up their game with social media and other online resources there’s ardentCause, an information technology marketing and consulting firm based in Ferndale. The company offers a variety of services to help not-for-profit groups, fund developers and grant-making foundations get their jobs done quickly and easily. 
Mad scientists skyrocketing in the business of building apps, Detroit Labs is a tech startup designing mobile and business apps for small and large clients, including Stryker Medical, Caesars Entertainment, Quicken Loans and Fat Head. 
Detroit Big F Deal : an innovative crowd funding program that finances Detroit-oriented projects.  Withpowerful backing, the company is one of 17 pilot companies in the Detroit Creative Corridor Center's Creative Ventures in Residence, a business accelerator program started this year with some support from Wayne State's Tech Town

Crowdrisean ingenious online fundraising platform, employing the tactics of crowdsourcing, social networking, contests and retail. Founded by Moosejaw partners, (clothing retailers) Jeffrey and Robert Wolfe, along with actor Edward Norton, Crowdwise was named a “Top 25 Best Global Philanthropist” by Barron’s. “We're trying to keep about giving back, raising tons of money for charity and having the most fun in the world while doing it.”

The Picket Reportan engaging map-based website,  helps people who are moving or relocating select the best neighborhoods to live in by providing detailed  information about lifestyles, schools and more.  Founded by Brian Bandemer,  Bryan Kunka, Patrick Misch, 
Benzinga:a full service new and media company specializing in real-time news, actionable trade ideas and commentary.  Founded by Jason Raznik,in 2010 Benzinga has offices in Delaware, Metro-Detroit and Chicago. 
Doodle Homethe “ultimate design source” catering to the professional design community,  using  interactive and immersive technology to showcase brands and offer inspiration, advice and resources. Founded by Jennifer Gilbert.

Ludlow Ventures:funding the dreams of serial entrepreneurs and startups, turning companies into established ventures. Under managing partner, Jonathan Triest, Ludlow Ventures has launched an family of digital companies, and apps including UpTo – a social-power platform for calendars and Scan, QR decoder for sharing content on mobile devices.  
PowerVoicea consumer-to-consumer marketing platform that pays users for  their online activity “talking up brands” with their friends. Founded by brothers,  Ryan and Andrew Landau.
Savorfulfounded by nutrition expert Stacy Goldberg.  “Obsessed with searching the globe for nutrient dense, allergy free foods that taste fantastic.”
Got a startup story to share?  Follow us @myJDetroit.

Photos: VHenoch
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