7 Must Know Facts about Detroit’s Tech Industry

By Amanda Lewan on March 24th, 2015 / Comments

Detroit has seen a lot of changes over the past decade including a bankruptcy filing, an influx of corporations and professionals, and growth in the technology sector.

Major technology companies like Quicken Loans, QStride, Atomic Object, Detroit Labs, and dozens of technology startups call Downtown Detroit their home. But how great is the technology scene here?

Below are seven facts we’ve gathered through our work in the community the past few months. We think Detroit might be ready for an even greater technology surge.

Detroit’s infrastructure is about to get a huge upgrade with Rocket Fiber’s Gigabit Internet. This newly launched startup funded by Dan Gilbert has built a Gigabit Internet fiber ring in Downtown Detroit and will offer 100 times faster internet at an affordable price. It’s following the Google Fiber model that spurred business and startup activity when it deployed in Kansas City. What will Rocket Fiber offer Detroit? More details are still coming soon, but the Freep has the expansion map for the Downtown Detroit area. This infrastructure update could attract more companies, spur innovation, and help Detroit take a giant leap forward after bankruptcy.

Equity Crowdfunding is legal in Michigan and it provides more funding options for businesses. Want to raise money for your small business? Michigan was one of the first states to make equity crowdfunding legal and we’re now seeing some of the first equity crowdfunded projects go live. This helps businesses and community members have a say in local investing. A small business can register on a website like Michigan Funders, work with a team to create a deal, offer a clear return on investment, and then launch the campaign. You can help the business grow while making money through a local investment online.

There are at at least five places in Detroit right now to help you learn technology skills. These programs were designed to help anyone get into the world of tech. Each program has a different approach and level of depth to help you learn how to code. They include: Girl Develop It Detroit, Grand Circus, Sisters Code, Apprend, and the Detroit Labs apprenticeship program.  About 700 people have already taken a course through Grand Circus, so there is definitely a growing demand to learn how to code in Detroit. Some of these organizations will help you land a tech job, too.

Mobility technology now has an accelerator program with Techstars in Detroit. Techstars has done a phenomenal job helping launch 422 technology startups all over the world. Now, the accelerator program has a special Mobility focused program in Detroit. This could help startups get their foot in the door innovating in the world of automotive. One of the most successful mobility company’s, Uber, is growing at the rate of 50,000 jobs monthly around the world. What could come out of Detroit? The first batch of startups should be announced shortly. You can find out more information about the new program here.

Women in technology matter here, as long-standing organizations like Michigan Council of Women in Technology show us. This organization provides mentoring, networking and support for women working in technology. The non-profit began in 2000 and is on a mission to make Michigan the number one place for women working in technology. They currently have 800 members and over 80 corporate sponsors. With women still behind when it comes to STEM jobs, and leadership roles in technology, it’s important to have support like MCWT. More diversity at the table shows again and again that it helps strengthen the bottom line of a company.

Metro Detroit is 1st in the Midwest with the concentration of tech-focused jobs. Did you know this? We are leading the way right here in the Midwest. When compared to other cities, Metro Detroit has the highest concentration of technology jobs. You can find this inside the very recent Automation Alley 2015 Report.

Nationally, Metro Detroit is 3rd in the percentage of total employment in the technology industry. In Metro Detroit we have around 171,380 technology jobs. The Automation Alley industry report also shows us we can expect an increase of 8,000 technology jobs from 2013-2015 this past year. That’s a great and growing number to see.

Want to read more about technology and economic development in Detroit?

We recommend checking out the in depth 2015 findings from Automation Alley’s Annual Report, and the recent 7.2 square mile report published by the Hudson Weber Foundation.

 

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Co-founder Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.