| Follow Us:
Don Knight at classic Ann Arbor steakhouse Knight's new downtown location
Don Knight at classic Ann Arbor steakhouse Knight's new downtown location - Doug Coombe | Show Photo

E-commerce : Innovation & Job News

9 E-commerce Articles | Page:

Lyons Consulting Group adds 19 to Ann Arbor office

Lyons Consulting Group is well on its way of meeting its goal of creating new jobs one year into the expansion of its office in Ann Arbor.

The Chicago-based firm specializes in digital marketing and its Ann Arbor office focuses on e-commerce.  Last year it announced that it wanted to create 30 jobs at the office as part of a $1.1 million investment. Today Lyons Consulting Group employs 19 people in Ann Arbor, up from just five a year ago.

"We have been able to hire a core group of people and build around them," says Norman Alesi, COO & CFO of Lyons Consulting Group. He adds, "That office is scheduled to be at 24 people by the end of the year."

The Michigan Economic Development Corp struck a deal with Lyons Consulting Group last year, giving the company $300,000 in incentives in exchanges for the $1.1 million expansion. The Ann Arbor office now serves 40 customers from around the world.

Lyons Consulting Group choose Ann Arbor in part because of its deep talent pool. It has hired a number of recent graduates from the University of Michigan and other local universities, while also working with the state of Michigan and Ann Arbor SPARK to fill out its staff.

"The state of Michigan has been very helpful for us getting set up there," Alesi says. "Ann Arbor SPARK has also been very helpful."

Source: Norman Alesi, COO & CFO of Lyons Consulting Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Human Element expands office space (twice) to grow

Ben Lorenz and his partners started Human Element a decade ago with the idea of working for themselves and doing less work overall. Their tech company didn't exactly provide for a leisurely work week but the co-founders are more than happy with the bottom line.

"We started this company so we didn’t have to work 80 hours a week," says Ben Lorenz, managing partner with Human Element. "It started off as a lifestyle-change decision. People really liked our company so we ended up working even more."

The downtown Ann Arbor-based company specializes in tech services and e-commerce platforms, specifically the Magento e-commerce platform. It has grown its sales 50 percent each year over the last few years and Lorenz is optimistic his firm will surpass that mark again.

"We will eclipse that by the end of this year," Lorenz says.

That growth has allowed Human Element to make three hires, including software engineers and project managers. It is also looking to hire a software engineer. The company currently employs a dozen employees and six independent contractors. Human Element has had to expand its office space twice in the last two years to accommodate its employee growth.

Source: Ben Lorenz, managing partner with Human Element
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Commerce Guys to launch online mobile shopping app

Commerce Guys is adding to its staff in America, hiring three people in the last year, adding another now, and is looking bring another three on soon.

The Ann Arbor-based tech firm employs 48 people, including 18 in the U.S. The 5-year-old e-commerce company merged with a French firm three years ago. Commerce Guys also has two interns in Ann Arbor, who are French students working in the U.S. It is also in the process of hiring for a new position with a candidate from MichiganWorks! and has three more job openings for software developers.

Commerce Guys
is an e-commerce company that integrates Drupal, a popular open source content management system, with its customer's Internet sales platform. It is transitioning from a service-oriented firm to one that creates its own software platform thanks to a 30-percent jump in revenues. It is in the process of launching Commerce Mobile, a mobile app that brings the online shopping experience to consumers on any Apple mobile device.

"The real value we can add is based around a repeatable product we can sell," says Scott Dahlgren, managing director, North America, for Commerce Guys.

Commerce Guys is also working to make its Commerce Mobile platform customizable for its clients to help accelerate its adoption. "It really has the opportunity to grow adoption very rapidly," Dahlgren says. "It allows somebody to use it easily."

Source: Scott Dahlgren, managing director, North America for Commerce Guys
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Lyons Consulting Group invests $1.1M in new Ann Arbor office

Lyons Consulting Group plans to invest $1.1 million in its Ann Arbor office and hire 30 new people after securing $300,000 in incentives made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Authority and Ann Arbor SPARK.

The Chicago-based firm bills itself as a "digital agency specializing in strategy, ux/design, development, and ongoing support." It opened an office in Ann Arbor last May to take advantage of the area's deep talent pool in e-commerce expertise.

"When you find a patch of good people you capitalize on it," says Norman Alesi, COO & CFO of Lyons Consulting Group. "It's difficult to find a group of people who understand e-commerce the way these people did."

The Ann Arbor office currently stands at 13 people and is growing. Lyons Consulting Group currently has four job openings for a project manager, sales representative, experience architects, and a support and maintenance position.

Alesi and Lyons Consulting Group's founder Richard Lyons are both Metro Detroit natives. Lyons also graduated from the University of Michigan. But Alesi maintains that while those roots helped sway them, their ultimate decision was based on the quality of the people they could hire in Ann Arbor.

"It is predominantly because of the talent base," Alesi says.

Source: Norman Alesi, COO & CFO of Lyons Consulting Group
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

IT staffing firm Imetris hires 33 people in Saline

Imetris has watched its revenue increase by roughly a third in each of the last four years, allowing the Saline-based company to grow from a staff of 25 to 100.

The IT staffing-firm has hired 33 people over the last year to accomodate its success, including eight people since January. Most of its growth is coming from the software and IT sectors, industries in need of new talent.

"It's all organic growth," says Chandru Acharya, president of Imetris. "We haven't done anything special besides focus on our business and do the right thing."

The 12-year-old firm recently moved from Ann Arbor to Saline while maintaining its head of steam, providing tech firms staffing services in North America, Europe and Asia. Acharya expects that to continue as the company sticks to its knitting and plans for another year of 30-35 percent growth.

"We are very much focused on growth right now," Acharya says.

Source: Chandru Acharya, president of Imetris
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Ypsilanti's Tree Fort Bikes rides Web for success

Tree Fort Bikes got its start eight years with two guys and a dream of owning a bike shop. Today the Ypsilanti-based business has become a destination for mountain bikers and custom bikes in the e-commerce world.

"About three years ago we went online," says Alan Barnosky, a team member of Tree Fort Bikes. "That has been working very well for us."

The retailer has expanded to eight employees. Three new people over the last year, hired in capacities such as photographer and graphic designer,
serve the company's e-commerce platform. The firm expects to add another 2-3 jobs this year in customer service and web design.

Tree Fort Bikes sells custom bicycles, mostly mountain bikes. They range in price from $250 to $7,000 apiece. It also sells a range of cycling gear. Some purchases are still made in the Ypsilanti store, but most happen over the Internet.

"That's where it's all heading now," Barnosky says. "We have a brick-and-mortar store and we'll maintain it, but 90 percent of our business comes from online."

Source: Alan Barnosky, team member of Tree Fort Bikes
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

ReCellular aims for $100M in sales, moves into former Borders HQ space

Many growing companies talk about making the $1 million club; add a couple of zeroes and that's where ReCellular looks to make its mark. The cell phone recycler plans to become a $100 million operation and is taking its place as one of the Ann Arbor area's big business hitters, leasing space at the headquarters of the once mighty Borders.

"This space represent where we are today," says Mike Newman, vice president of marketing for ReCellular. "Ann Arbor is where we got our start and it's where we're staying. Being in the area is very important to us."

ReCellular got its start in the early 1990s renting out then-costly cell phones. It entered the cell phone recycling business over the last decade as those phones became ubiquitous. It plans to keep its plant operation in Dexter while moving much of its corporate staff to the new space alongside Borders. The 300-person company expects to hire a few dozen people between both locations this year.

Recellular recently closed out its "best year in company history" and expects to hit $100 million in revenue in 2011. The company has evolved its business model to take cell phones directly from consumers through its website and act as a direct reseller of refurbished cell phones. Its eBay operations generate $1 million or more each month. Officials are also looking into expansion into other electronic segments, such as netbooks.

"We're being strategic about the product categories we're entering," Newman says.

Source: Mike Newman, vice president of marketing for ReCellular
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Ypsilanti's RealKidz sells online, plans to hire

RealKidz is changing up its game and getting some points on the board with its new business plan.

The 3-year-old firm, based in Ypsilanti's Depot Town, makes clothing that fits larger children, mainly girls. It started out selling these garments with direct sales,
a la Mary Kay. It has since moved to a primary e-commerce platform after upgrading its website with a proven Internet retailing platform in August.

"We're starting to see some growth from that," says Merrill Guerra, founder and CEO of RealKidz. "We have doubled our website traffic and conversion rate over the last couple of months. It's moving exactly in the direction we were hoping."

The two-person startup, also a former Ann Arbor SPARK East Incubator tenant, is now looking to raise a round of seed capital so it can flesh out its staff and business infrastructure. RealKidz hopes to hires a COO and webmaster, among other positions over the next year, with this capital.

Source: Merrill Guerra, founder and CEO of RealKidz
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Ann Arbor's Fry takes lead in e-commerce platform solutions

Another Ann Arbor-based company has been recognized as a leader and the best in its field.

Forrester Research has recognized Fry as a leading e-commerce solutions provider in its Forrester Wave report for the first quarter of 2009. It points out that Fry’s model allows it to highly customize its software for its clients even though the work is being outsourced.

It also earned the highest score in the "catalog, product content, and site content management" and "professional services" evaluation categories. It tied as the top scoring company in "site management," "product focus,"
and "financial resources to support strategy."

Fry helps online retailers that are replacing or rebuilding their e-commerce platforms. The firm does everything from designing to building to hosting the sites. The list of clients includes a variety of businesses, ranging from The Auto Club Group to Crate & Barrel to Whirlpool.

The company, a subsidiary of MICROS Systems, employs 300 people in Ann Arbor and has offices across the U.S. in cities like San Francisco.

Source: Fry
Writer: Jon Zemke
9 E-commerce Articles | Page:
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts