Move over Silicon Valley! A group of dedicated, growing tech companies are making Detroit the must-be place for Information Technology and Business Intelligence solutions. And if there was any uncertainty about Detroit’s central role in the landscape of technology, QStride’s event—Running with the Resurgence—certainly snuffed those doubts.
On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, hundreds packed the second floor of the One Woodward Building in Downtown Detroit to take part in Running with the Resurgence, a panel, fundraiser, and networking event organized by QStride’s founder and CEO, Shane Gianino.
The panel, which was hosted by DBusiness magazine’s editor RJ King, was composed of innovators in the Detroit technology and business scene. The speakers included Jill Ford (special advisor to Honorable Mayor Mike Duggan and head of innovation and entrepreneurship in the City of Detroit), Bridget Russo (Chief Marketing Officer of Shinola), Garret Gaw (technology Leader and Detroit Site lead for Amazon) and QStride CEO himself Shane Gianino.
Things began with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, followed by an uplifting video of QStride’s mission and their decision to base their headquarters in Detroit. “It was a lengthy process, trying to decide if we should expand in the suburbs or move downtown,” Gianino said. “Ultimately, Detroit was best for us because of the energy that you feel when you’re down here working.”
Looking around the room at the packed seats, it was easy to feel that energy. “We created Running with the Resurgence to celebrate Detroit’s tech scene and bring everyone together and look at this overwhelming response,” he added. “This is the only place where this could happen. Detroit is the place to be.” The attendants responded with plenty of applause.
And it’s true: in the past few years, Detroit’s technology scene has birthed a myriad of innovative companies such as QStride, Gas Station TV, Benzinga, Rocket Fiber, Grand Circus, LevelEleven, Detroit Labs, and many more. If you’re asking why that is, emcee RJ King has your answer: “Detroit is an affordable place where idea-driven people can come with a small amount of money and make a huge impact.”
“I call people to recruit them for Amazon,” began Garret Gaw, “and they say, ‘Oh, no—I don’t want to move to Seattle.’ And I say, ‘We don’t need you in Seattle. We’d like you to come to Detroit.’ People get excited about that. The story of Detroit is something people are talking about.”
A number of things are leading to Detroit’s tech resurgence, but chief among them is Detroit’s closely-knit business community, says Jill Ford. “We see forms of innovation in Detroit all the time. And it’s been great to see the level of adaptation and creativity that is already a part of the Detroit spirit.” She stressed the importance of events like Running with the Resurgence, which she said “go a long way to unite this city.”
In addition to networking and affordability, Ford discussed a Detroit initiative called Motor City Match, which puts $100,000 of match grant funding into businesses started in Detroit. “This gives us an opportunity to spread the resurgence of Detroit throughout the neighborhoods and the entire city. Detroit is one of the most fertile areas for growing a business.”
Following the panel, the discussion turned into a Q&A. Poignant and thought questions about ways tech companies can help the city were asked, including how tech companies can continue to educate young Detroiters and give them brighter futures. “Every kid deserves an education,” said Shinola’s Bridget Russo. “And the private sector is going to help out with that.”
Last night, the private sector certainly lent a significant helping hand. Proceeds raised from Running with the Resurgence went directly to benefiting the American Cancer Society, an association with which Shane has a close connection.
“I came from a small town and almost didn’t graduate from school due to cancer. I see Detroit’s growth and resurgence and I want to build my life and my business around that mindset.”
And QStride is doing just that. As people networked and dined after the panel discussion, business cards were exchanged, ideas shared, and money donated to the American Cancer Society to help people who are still fighting for their own personal resurgence. Leaving the event, it truly felt like if everyone works together, then we all succeed. And in Detroit, that’s exactly the case.
View pictures of the event covered by Christine MJ Hathaway of DBusiness Magazine.
Watch The Event Video Here:
For more information on QStride, visit www.qstride.com
Written by Martin Michalek