If you thought that tales of doom, gloom, and bankruptcy have crippled the city of Detroit, it’s time to reconsider. This once vibrant city gave birth to industry titans such as Chevrolet, General Motors, Little Caesars, Kmart, Motown, Mango Languages, Quicken Loans, and OnStar, just to name a few. Although it hit a bump in the road during the housing and auto industry crashes, Detroit is rebuilding with the same hard-working, can-do attitude that once made it the fourth largest city, with the highest per capita income, in the entire country.
Let’s take a look at a few of the fine startups that are helping to revitalize the Motor City.
1) Are You A Human
How often are you subjected to CAPTCHAs? Or held hostage by video ads to get to your desired content? The point of CAPTCHAs is to deter bot activity, but it often fails miserably and bots get through and you pay the price.
Are You A Human is a Detroit startup with an interesting premise--make it impossible for bots but simple for humans with gate opening games. The startup offers two solutions, PlayThru™ CAPTCHA replacement and PlayThru™ for Video. The later allows users to stay engaged with advisors at a consideration boost of 300%.
2) Bamboo Detroit
Bamboo Detroit is a co-working space located in Central Detroit. It hosts a wide variety of small businesses, freelancers, tech startups, and Detroit-based entrepreneurs. It provides shared office space in the historic old German print shop. Monthly membership starts at $99 and includes high speed internet, conference rooms, office desks, and 24/7 access to shared space.
Billhighway is a cloud-based accounting platform that focuses primarily on providing solutions to non-profit, donor, or membership based organizations. Billhighway is passionate about helping non-profits succeed, the first step starts with financial clarity.
Chalkfly is is an online office store dedicated to giving back to the community. It’s model is based on building a product that inspires others, and then commit to constant innovation. What makes Chalkfly unique is that 5% of your sale is donated to a teacher in any part of the country.
5) Detroit Labs
Detroit Labs is a tech startup that develops apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows 8. What’s interesting about Detroit Labs is their unconventional business model. Each developer with Detroit Labs has one day each week to focus on their own product development. In this way, Detroit Labs invests in its own team.
If you’ve ever tried to order lunch for a group, you know what pain feels like. Foodjunky is a Detroit startup that makes the process as painless as possible. It works by selecting a restaurant and then entering in everyone’s email addresses. Everyone gets to order what they like, and there’s no confusion about who ordered noodles.
7) Hello Innovation
Hello Innovation is actually a group of companies focused on the central goal of making emotional connection with the products it designs. Products include memorial videos and greeting cards. Hello Innovation is also extremely committed to developing Detroit, and has hired over 100 people within the last year.
Social2Step brands itself as part of the rebirth of Detroit. It’s a platform that allows companies to activate their employees as brand messagers. Employees promote the company’s brand, and in return, earn points that can be redeemed at the Social2Step store for cash or other rewards.
Quikly is a platform that excites users to act upon offers quickly, hence the name. Quikly uses the same principles at work during Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. By limiting the time a product is available, and making it into a type of game, Quikly increases product sales and brand awareness.
When clothiers Tom Daguanno and Max Schmidt set out to make a custom menswear business, they originally intended for it to be an online only store front. Then came the opportunity to test the waters for a retail run in a temporary pop-up shop in downtown Detroit. The response was huge and prompted them to consider a full time run as a retail storefront. 1701 Bespoke is bringing back old world sophistication and making Detroit more attractive, one suit at a time.
Know any Detroit startups we should have included? Submit a comment below and we will consider it for our next list!