For a long time, HelloWorld has been the tech company standard that most Metro Detroit startups aim for. Start in a garage, develop a cool technology (marketing software), land venture backing, hire hundreds of people, and become acquired for a large sum of money.
Today the Southfield-based firm is becoming the tech company multi-national brands wants to get to know better, specifically those on the West Coast. HelloWorld has been growing its workload with big companies all along the West Coast for the last year, including adding to its Seattle office to handle an increased work with Microsoft. Today, West Coast work makes up 20 percent of HelloWorld's revenue.
"We think there is a lot of headroom for growth there," says Peter DeNunzio, CEO of HelloWorld
HelloWorld started as ePrize 17 years ago in Josh Linkner's garage. It rebranded a couple of years ago to convey its mission better as a digital promotions firm. HelloWorld's software platform helps enable brands to connect with consumers through a variety of experiences, including mobile marketing, live event activation, in-store activation and loyalty programs.
HelloWorld executed a move from Pleasant Ridge to Southfield last December. It has been on a hiring binge over the last year, bringing on close to 60 people. The staff now totals about 385 employees, most of whom work in Southfield. It hires a handful of people each week.
"We have three full-time recruiters on our staff constantly scanning the marketplace," DeNunzio says. "Most of the folks we have hired have been new add-ons to the staff."
HelloWorld has organically grown its revenue by 10-12 percent in each of the last three years. That growth comes from expanding its workload, primarily by adding more services and growing its relationships with existing customers. It's a plan that has worked so well that DeNunzio is optimistic about the company’s prospects this year and into 2017.
"We're on track," DeNunzio says. "We had the strongest first quarter we have ever had in the last three fiscal years. We have some nice, signed deals in the pipeline."
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.