Best Tech Startups in Detroit, Ranked

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Contributor, Benzinga
April 16, 2021

When most people think of innovative, ground-breaking ideas in the tech industry, their minds go to the streets of Silicon Valley and the bustling offices of New York City. However, there are also plenty of tech startups making waves right here in the Motor City. Today, we’ll introduce you to a few of our favorite companies innovating in tech from Detroit. 

1. Autobooks, 2015

If you’re a small business owner, one of the biggest challenges that you probably face is managing and maintaining a balanced book. Forgetting to pay contractors, freelancers or clients can put a series dent in the reputation of any business. Enter Autobooks, an innovative online cash flow management software program designed for small business owners.

Autobooks makes it easier for small business owners to compete in today’s fast-paced environment. The software is able to automatically integrate with banking and credit platforms, which allows users to schedule payments for contractors and clients with ease. Autobooks allows small business owners to login and gain a more complete picture of their finances — so they can stay on-top of bills and payments.  

2. StockX, 2012

When you buy and sell shares of stocks or cryptocurrencies, you’ll see both a “bid” price and an “ask” price. The bid price is the highest price that a buyer is willing to pay for an asset, while the ask price indicates the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for an asset. Researching the bid and ask price of an asset can help you determine when you should invest. 

StockX is the first “market of things,” extending this model to include luxury goods and collectables. Sellers place ask prices while buyers place bids on items that they’re interested in. Providing users with a comprehensive platform to buy and sell designer sneakers, trading cards, handbags and more, StockX’s innovative idea offers fashion fanatics with a more streamlined and scientific way to buy the brands that they love. This business is crushing it, garnering a $3.8 billion valuation after its latest round of funding.

3. GreenLancer, 2011

As interest in alternative energy solutions come to a head, solar energy has stepped into the spotlight by providing an affordable and renewable source of energy. The problem arises when it comes to solar panel installation. Installers need plans and approved deliverables that they can use for their clientele, while designers and engineers need a streamlined, repeatable process that they can use to connect with the installation professionals searching for PV options.

GreenLancer is the world’s only online marketplace for solar PV design and engineering. By providing access to everything from design permits to professional engineering services, GreenLancer is on a mission to make solar energy more accessible to business owners, engineers and development companies alike. 

GreenLancer is also rapidly expanding with growing marketplaces in the telecom and EV charging sectors.  

4. Waymark, 2010

In an ever-changing advertising landscape, companies that are able to capture their customers’ attention through video have a better chance of landing sales. Unfortunately, small business owners often don’t have the budget necessary to hire a marketing agency to develop, draft, shoot and edit a video advertisement that can compete with larger companies.

Waymark is a boutique advertising and marketing company providing small business owners with affordable, engaging video templates that they can use to create custom digital video ads. Starting at just $99, users can choose from dozens of template categories, choose the design and aesthetic that fits the needs of their company and create a one-of-a-kind video advertisement built for social media. Waymark makes it easier and more affordable for business owners to master social media through the art of video.  

5. Integral, 2017

Integral is an automotive software company focused on developing better software engineering practices within the automotive industry. Integral’s areas of expertise include mobile programming, cloud software engineering, test-driven development and continuous integration solutions.

In addition to software endeavors, Integral is also notable for its work uplifting the community of Detroit. The company has recently begun sponsoring a pro-bono software clinic to help aspiring developers mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Integral also offers the “Integrate Detroit” program, which works to bridge the race and gender gap in software development and encourage traditionally underrepresented groups to explore the potential of software development.  

6. Rivian, 2009

For auto manufacturers, it’s no longer enough that their vehicles need to be user-friendly and affordable — today, more and more drivers are searching for eco-friendly electric vehicles to cut down on gas costs and lower their carbon footprint. Rivian is an electric vehicle manufacturer founded in 2009. Producing 2 current models of electric vehicles, Rivian’s automobiles are known for being both better for the environment than traditional vehicles as well as semi-autonomous.

The company’s first model, the R1T, is a pickup truck with a towing capacity of more than 11,000 pounds and a single charge range of more than 300 miles. Rivian’s second model, the R1S, is a sport utility vehicle that features a quad-motor powertrain and more than 7,000 pounds of towing capacity. Both vehicles are also notable for their ability to withstand extreme temperatures, with battery systems designed to function between 130F to -25F.  

7. AaDya Security, 2019

With a new database hack occurring seemingly every week, companies that specialize in cybersecurity are quickly becoming ubiquitous. However, comprehensive cybersecurity features are often outside of the price range for small and even midsize business owners. AaDya is a cybersecurity company that powers the Marzo4 cybersecurity platform.

Starting at just $12 a month, Marzo4 provides small business owners with a comprehensive and affordable way to protect their customers’ data. Marzo4 features virtual assistant Judy, a program that offers internal password reset services, 24/7 protection for login-in information, endpoint protection and more. 

8. Guardhat Technologies, 2014

Originating after its founders recognized crucial gaps in security and safety at a blast furnace, Guardhat Technologies leverages wearable tech solutions and sensors to keep men and women working in high-risk environments to prevent injury. Their first product was the Guardhat hardhat, a “smart” hardhat that includes industrial sensors, advanced positioning technology and comprehensive communication tools to ensure worker safety.

From the introduction of the Guardhat hardhat, Guardhat Technologies has gone on to produce a number of additional worker safety and productivity tools. Some of their latest achievements include one of the industrial sphere’s first Internet of Things software programs and wearable technology that enhances communication across a large workspace. 

9. Bloomscape, 2017

From clothing to electronics, most people now do a major bulk of their shopping online. Bloomscape is a unique startup that extends the online shopping model to indoor and outdoor greenery. Users can shop for houseplants and potted plants online using a simple, clean and straightforward platform. From here, Bloomscape then takes the necessary steps to safely ship plants across the country, providing homeowners and business owners with an easier way to bring a bit of nature into their home.

From lavender trees to potted Bromeliad Aechmea Pink plants, Bloomscape offers a wide range of horticulture classes suitable for a range of environments. Customers can even choose the color of pot their plants are delivered in, and the company offers a complete set of tools and accessories for their products as well. Bloomscape has also created a series of care guides to help customers keep their plants healthy after they’re received.  

10. Ambassador, 2010

Word-of-mouth has long been one of the most effective forms of advertising. As social media becomes more and more ubiquitous in our daily lives, companies like Ambassador are making it easier for brands to connect with potential customers through the power of referral marketing. Ambassador is an all-in-one platform for business to connect with influencers, track their campaign results, incentivize rewards and much more.

Ambassador offers multiple tiers of packages to keep their services affordable to small and medium size business owners. The company’s platform offers almost every type of service a company could need to plan and execute their own influencer marketing campaign, with built-in payment integration, reporting and analytics and design templates. Ambassador was ranked #1 by marketing leaders searching for ambassador program hubs, offering a complete solution for businesses of all sizes. 

The Tech Sphere of Detroit

As you can see, Detroit is quickly becoming a major name in tech startup culture. With a wealth of new ideas beginning in the city every year, it may not be long before you have an app on your phone or piece of tech in your workspace that was built in Detroit.