1 March

Xconomy Detroit Hosts Jason Mendelson March 17

Jason Mendelson is the managing director and co-founder of the Foundry Group, a hugely successful Boulder, CO, venture fund that invests in early-stage information technology,Jason Mendelson Internet, and software startups. He’s also a metro Detroit native and University of Michigan graduate who is passionate about Detroit and has valuable insights on nurturing vibrant innovation ecosystems.

To create a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, Mendelson says, you need a creative class of people (especially on the technical side), strong universities spinning off people and ideas, financial capital, management talent, an engaged community with a real desire to see each other succeed, a culture of risk-taking and respect for failure, and a history of success. And he was bullish on the region’s prospects on all fronts.

Mendelson will be back in downtown Detroit for an interactive chat about entrepreneurship in the city. 


24 September

Detroit Software Company Ambassador Announces Integration with SurveyMonkey

DETROIT – Today, Ambassador, a referral marketing software as a service (SaaS) provider, announced 3rd party integration with the world’s most popular online survey tool; SurveyMonkey. The new integration extends SurveyMonkey’s Net Promoter Score® question by instantly turning Promoters into Ambassadors.

The Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) is one of the most recognized methods for measuring consumer loyalty. The score is based on answers to the question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to refer a friend or colleague?”

The NPS® is calculated by subtracting the percentage of “Promoters” from the percentage of “Detractors,” and can range anywhere from -100 to 100. Anything above 0 is deemed positive, anything above 50 is regarded as excellent.

A “Promoter” is considered anybody that responds to the Net Promoter Score® survey question with a 9 or a 10 and is thought of as a loyal customer.

“Detractors” are considered anybody that responded with a 0-6, and are frustrated customers capable of harming the brand and stunting the growth through cynical word-of-mouth.

A “Passive” is anybody that responded with a 7 or an 8 and are considered indifferent customers who are susceptible to a competitor’s goods or services.

SurveyMonkey already provides a survey template for creating and administering the Net Promoter Score® survey. In a matter of minutes, marketers can distribute a NPS® survey to their entire customer base. The marketer can then download their survey responses to a spreadsheet to easily calculate the NPS®.

By leveraging Ambassador’s 3rd party integration, SurveyMonkey recipients that respond to the NPS® question with a 9 or a 10 will instantly be added to Ambassador’s referral marketing software as a brand Ambassador. Brand Ambassadors are given a special url and social sharing buttons. Brand Ambassadors are able to earn, and sometimes distribute, rewards by referring their friends.

“We’re really excited to announce this integration,” said Jeff Epstein, CEO of Ambassador. “Teaming up with SurveyMonkey will allow companies to measure their Net Promoter Score® and then drive action based on the actual responses.”

The new integration with SurveyMonkey brings the total number of Ambassador’s 3rd party integrations up to 19, and the team doesn’t plan on slowing down.

“Referral marketing is an amazing revenue channel,” said CTO Chase Lee. “It’s our job to make it unbelievably easy for marketers to tap into that referral channel, and reward their loyal customers for doing what they are already doing – talking about their favorite products online.”

Ambassador currently has over 400 customers and is based in the Metro Detroit area. The company is just under 4 years old.

10 September

Let’s Talk Detroit: Square Founder Jack Dorsey Hosts Event Focused on Growing Business in Detroit

square-dongleSquare’s payment reader enables individuals and businesses to accept payments, run their business, and connect with their customers with a point of sale that fits in their pocket or on their counter.

With the company’s founder, Jack Dorsey, in Detroit next week for this year’s Techonomy conference, Square is planning an event with the founder on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (following Techonomy Detroit). This will be an exciting opportunity to hear from the Twitter founder firsthand, as well as to learn more about how their payment solution could benefit your business.

Learn more about Square’s Let’s Talk event series here.

8 August

Tech and Innovation Must Play Central Role in Detroit Revival


Even as Detroit hits financial bottom, Techonomy retains its belief that applying tech and innovation can be a major aid toward a historic comeback. As Techonomy Detroit 2013 nears, the conference continues to grow its list of speakers and sponsors, and refine its program. Techonomy earlier announced the inclusion of Square CEO Jack Dorsey, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, Jean Case of the Case Foundation, Andrew Yang of Venture for America, and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. New speakers include Rodney Brooks of Rethink Robotics, Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution, Edward Luce of the Financial Times, Susan Lund of the McKinsey Global Institute, Hector Ruiz, Chairman and Founder of ANS, Nilmini Rubin, competitiveness expert for the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ford’s K. Venkatesh Prasad, and Cisco’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Tae Yoo.

More than 500 national and local leaders from technology, business, government, and academia will converge on the campus of Wayne State University on September 17, 2013 for a one-day public event that focuses on how headlong technology-driven change is changing and challenging the U.S. economy and its cities. Techonomy sees technology and exponential change as both threat and promise, and aims to help leaders identify the promising piece for their organizations and the country. A key theme of this year’s event is how tech can be harnessed to expedite revival. While some of Techonomy’s conferences are invite-only retreats, Techonomy Detroit is open to the public and aims for extensive participation and impact.

The recent news of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing is not a deterrent to Techonomy. In fact, it is often necessary to hit bottom before again rising up. Despite the financial crisis, enthusiasm for revival has never been stronger among Detroit’s business and tech community.

“Detroit is a symbol of the failures of the U.S. economy and if we cannot revive it, then I fear for the country,” said Techonomy founder and noted author David Kirkpatrick. “Detroit is more committed than ever—it has to be—to creative problem-solving. Tech innovation, entrepreneurship, and creative thinking can combine with faith and elbow grease to move towards a brighter day. Meanwhile, the city becomes an even better place for a big conversation on national priorities.”

The conference’s host partner is the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Michael A. Finney, President and CEO of MEDC, commented, “Our comeback success story—the one we’ve started and are still working on—is a huge reason why Detroit is the perfect location for this event; and we are thrilled Techonomy is coming back. Our mission is to help create more and better jobs by accelerative business investments and development—technology is a major part of that equation. Encouraging change, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, these are all areas Detroit is centering on right now.”

Follow Techonomy on Twitter  and tweet using the hashtag #TechonomyDetroit.