Where else can you find a group of entrepreneurs that truly care if the others make it? Where else can one company do with $5,000 what other tech hotbeds in the U.S. do with $100,000? That’s Detroit for you.
Silicon Garage – as some call Detroit – has the potential to recreate itself with the tech industry. The city that put the world on wheels is now going to be the city that redefines itself through tech mobility.
Chris Thomas of mobility-focused venture capital group Fontinalis Partners shared his thoughts in a fireside chat. “The future of mobility is now in Detroit,” he said. He calls on all tech and mobility entrepreneurs to “Stop making things about ego and start making it about success.”
To him, this means companies large and small need to break down silos and work together. Following Chris’ electric interview, I had the chance to talk with all of the great startups in and around Detroit. Here are my top five that I think you should pay close attention to:
1. Campus Commandos
One company that stood out right away was Campus Commando’s with their Go Commando app. It’s the first mobile app for campus reps that allows college students access to jobs and internships with top brands. Mickey Katz, Sr. Director of Operations had this to say, “What really sets us apart is our use of technology. Go Commando reaches its millennial base where they thrive: On their smartphones.” It’s worth noting that Mickey moved from New York to Detroit, then started this endeavor.
2. My Coop
Alex Norman, founder of MyCoop, is another gentleman that moved from New York to Detroit – noticing a theme here – and is doing great things. He developed My Coop, a free private social platform for individual apartment buildings. It’s a simple and easy way to connect and communicate with others in the same building. Alex told me that “every building has that outdated bulletin board.” His sole goal is to get rid of that. Do you want to sell a couch? Need a running buddy? Alex is your guy. This Fast Company article explains more.
The Hemingwrite is a minimalist digital typewriter for distraction free writing composition. It combines the simplicity of a typewriter with modern technology like an electronic paper screen and cloud backups to create the best possible writing experience. Co-founder Patrick Paul gave me a live demo showing how it connects to the cloud and prints from any of your saved printers. Since there is no email, social networks, internet browser, or games, you are able to stay completely focused on creating and writing without interruption. Robert Shields, Deputy Digital Editor for NY Daily News preordered his Hemingwrite on March 16, 2015 according to a Twitter post. Other writers are choosing the Hemingwrite over the likes of an iPad. Don’t believe me? Check out the Hemingwrite Twitter page.
REOZOM is a real estate tech company trying to help save people from wasteful spending while making home buying easier and simpler. In talking to CEO Justin Tibble, I found out that for just $285, you can list and sell your house through Reozom. This eliminates the need to waste giving 3% of the selling price to your realtor. In fact, it eliminates your realtor. And, hopefully your buyer is on Reozom too, so you both save. Buying and selling a home is often the biggest investment decision people make. There’s not much new thought in real estate these days so kudos to Justin and his team in the Detroit area for taking on a challenge.
Startup finalist Pridgit, was created on the basis that not everyone will be able to own a 3D printer. These MSU students want to make 3D printing a reality for every single person. Pridgit is a 3D printing marketplace and network that connects consumers, designers and printers all around the world. If you need something 3D printed you can use the network to find someone to design it and someone to print it. Then have it shipped right to you. How do you 3D print success? Pridgit is figuring it out.