When Detroit was founded, it was in the spirit of invention, inspiration and ingenuity. From the days of Henry Ford to the 21st century, the Motor City has been in the constant process of reinvention, both of the technologies that power our world and of itself. Detroit is truly a city like no other, and has been the birthplace of everything from the assembly line to Motown music.
Unfortunately, many of the stories we hear about Detroit are of the city’s decay as a result of the auto industry’s collapse and relocation. But Detroit is, and always has been, more than the multinational corporations that have parachuted in and out of the city limits every couple of decades. In Detroit, community is everything, and the people that make up the city’s population have always been tenacious and resourceful, constantly imagining new ways to better their immediate neighborhoods and the city as a whole.
It comes as no surprise that so many inspirational startups have sprung up along the shores of the Detroit River. Detroit’s small business scene is booming, and it’s estimated that the city is home to around 50,000 small businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color. Over the past couple of years, Detroit has enjoyed an over 63 percent boost in small business growth, far outpacing that of other cities like Dallas and Los Angeles. The Motor City is enjoying a renaissance that extends far beyond the downtown district — check out these 16 startups showcasing the best Detroit has to offer.
Detroit Startups to Know
- Petram Data
- Navv Systems
- Airspace Link
- Cocoon Advisors
- PPAP Manager
- Global Media Bank
What they do: Raising capital isn’t always the most exciting task, so InvestNext is breathing new life into this crucial sector. On the InvestNext platform, investment firms can display offering pages, key performance indicators, and brand-friendly portal pages. InvestNext features also automate various tasks, getting rid of the usual paperwork. Instead of entering data into Excel spreadsheets, companies can focus more on building lasting relationships with their most trusted investors.
What they do: Signal Advisors is an independent marketing organization that helps enterprises elevate their marketing and operating processes with the help of software. Signal Advisors provides a platform with which organizations can track their application usage, payments, spend and commission all in one location, reducing confusion and keeping entire teams on track.
What they do: Petram Data connects businesses of all sizes with actionable data and AI-driven insights. This data offers a view into how homeowners are spending their money, making it easier for retailers to anticipate customer purchasing, meet consumer needs and improve their conversion rates. Petram Data's intelligent data science technology provides clients with tools to manage risks, optimize customer onboarding, implement blockchain security and craft targeted campaigns.
What they do: Navv Systems works with large institutions such as hospitals and warehouses to implement indoor navigation and positioning technologies to help streamline their operations and guide traffic through their offices and spaces. By providing them with navigation platforms for both mobile and web, Navv Systems provides their clients the opportunity to manage locations of both personnel and equipment so as to make their operations more efficient.
What they do: CatalystXL offers enterprises a data streamlining software platform that converts documents and other content into visually simplified and accessible flashcards that can be shared between any devices. Their technology can be used to quickly launch apps and onboard teammates, thus giving organizations more power and control over their data and how it is implemented.
What they do: Airspace Link creates digital interfaces for drones and other localized aircrafts, making it easier for organizations to navigate urban air spaces and perform their missions. Working with both government agencies, businesses and citizen groups, Airspace Link’s technology helps drone pilots navigate environments safely and effectively, providing insights into potential air travel advisories and environmental factors.
What they do: Cocoon Advisors is a woman-owned consulting startup, delivering services for companies looking for guidance on marketing, accounting, regulations compliance and other essential enterprise functions. The agency additionally provides consulting services for entrepreneurs looking to get invested in the emerging cannabis industry.
What they do: Chainterra offers secure and efficient data hashing software for companies involved in the blockchain industry, making cryptocurrency mining more accessible, streamlined and profitable. Offering solutions for both individuals and professional organizations, Chainterra compresses hashing data in order to provide their clients with increased ROI.
What they do: PPAP Manager's team is singularly focused on discovering technological solutions that make the manufacturing industry more efficient and productive. Their cloud-based platform provides manufacturers with a way to automate their production approval process, helping companies build and distribute their products faster while not having to compromise on quality.
What they do: Global Media Bank provides opportunities for creators and enterprises to better monetize their media content, offering to connect them with their network of media companies and helping them sell their assets and content. From books to ringtones, Global Media Bank's team has experience monetizing all types of content, and can help creators publish their content on leading platforms, streaming services and applications.
What they do: AaDya works with companies of all sizes across the country to develop tailored cybersecurity solutions and technologies designed to protect each client individually. Their premiere product, named Marzo4, offers clients a virtual cybersecurity assistant capable of delivering round-the-clock support and insights into the integrity of their assets, providing guidance on everything from password health to potential attacks.
What they do: ToDooly is a social application built for the gig economy, helping individuals connect with other members of their community to accomplish basic tasks. College students or other young people can use ToDooly to find short paid gigs such as outdoor work or cleaning, and users can support their immediate community by providing compensation for items on their to-do list.
What they do: Petal Transport is a transportation startup that builds vehicles and other equipment designed for short-term travel, such as e-bikes and trailers. In addition to their practical transportation equipment, Petal additionally provides services such as miles programs, fleet payment solutions, tracking technologies and other operational services.
What they do: Gignav's team delivers an SaaS platform that companies of all sizes can use to hire flexible talent on demand, expanding their professional recruiting networks and helping them accomplish more of their goals. Their technology helps companies better utilize and empower their contractors and freelancers, granting them data and insights into performance and providing them with work management technologies that make compensation and rehiring easier.
What they do: Recognizing Detroit's long history of trade labor, Rivet helps workers in skilled trades discover new opportunities for business and training with the help of a digital interface and technological social tools. Offering options for contractors, trade schools and unions, Rivet helps users track the progress of jobs and training, as well as offering options for technology supported workforce deployment, paperwork digitization and project budgeting.
What they do: Keyory's mission is to help businesses and other clients streamline and organize their meetings, providing solutions such as email scheduling, automated check-ins, and survey implementation to help keep whole teams on track. Their software is available at a variety of price points, offering a free option for small groups to get a feel for the platform, to a monthly plan for use by larger organizations.