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14 Oct

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Cribspot Helps Students Find Housing

October 14, 2014 | By |

Learning to solve real world problems is a hallmark of a Michigan education. Jason Okrasinski and his team of fellow alumni at Cribspot are working to solve a very real problem for students: housing.

“Helping students was our driving factor in creating Cribspot. We weren’t really looking at making a lot of money, and I don’t think that’s the focus now either,” CEO Jason Okrasinski, ’14, says. “The way we look at it, we are solving a huge problem, which is finding student housing.

Read more on alumni.umich.edu

30 Sep

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Zipments Adding Customer Support Ninja

September 30, 2014 | By |

Customer Experience Representative

Zipments is reshaping, revitalizing and retooling the local delivery service industry and we are looking for a talented Customer Experience Representative to join our team! You will love this position if you are passionate about the following responsibilities:

  • Be pleasant and supportive on the phone
  • Assist clients with a variety of issues including setting up their accounts, managing their invoices, requesting deliveries, changing deliveries, etc.
  • Assist couriers by helping to troubleshoot issues that arise, escalate serious issues to courier operations team
  • Be solution-oriented in fulfilling unusual customer delivery requests
  • Monitor courier ratings / customer feedback and follow up with clients on reported issues and report issues to team
  • Reviewing courier profiles and sending emails to couriers who need to update their profiles
  • Craft FAQs based on frequent issues being reported
  • Identify accounts/times when promotion codes should be sent out.
  • Work with the operations team to formalize customer support protocols across multiple cities
  • Assist in identifying the most suitable technology for Zipments to scale the customer support operations
  • Oversee daily deliveries on ‘The Board’ to preempt potential issues
  • Assist in on-boarding new clients to ensure immediate engagement
  • Collaborate with CX team to constantly improve support protocols and leverage tools to increase efficiency of the team

Other responsibilities

  • Help sales team research leads
  • Help track and follow up on collections accounts receivables
  • Help with social media / blog
  • Help craft various email responses / email campaigns
  • Help coordinate issues that arise with the GR office

This full-time position will require a ‘second shift’ schedule (12-9pm) along with the flexibility to work weekends.

Like most venture-back tech startups, we can offer the right candidate awesome benefits and great experiences. This includes a salary and medical, dental, vision insurance. You will be working in downtown Grand Rapids surrounded by a talented team hungry to grow the Zipments brand. If this sounds like the adventure you are looking for, send your resume to careers@zipments.com.

22 Sep

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Off-campus housing matchmaker Cribspot raises $660,000 round

September 22, 2014 | By |

Cribspot.com, a startup that helps college students find places to live while helping mom-and-pop owners manage their properties, will announce Monday that it has finished raising a seed round of $660,000, led by Ann Arbor-based Huron River Ventures and joined by the Detroit-based First Step Fund.

Cribspot had been targeting a round of $500,000.

Founded by three University of Michigan students in 2013 — CEO Jason Okrasinski, Chief Technology Officer Tim Jones and lead software developer Evan Dancer — and growing out of a business class at the school, Cribspot was incubated at Bizdom, the startup accelerator of Dan Gilbert in downtown Detroit. Read more on Crains.

16 Sep

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FarmLogs young team making ag data headway

September 16, 2014 | By |

Jesse Vollmar speaks at high speed and with an energy that shows he’s enthusiastic about his topic. He’s also clear that his company – FarmLogs – is a software company that works in agriculture and not an ag company trying to make software work. Recently, Vollmar’s company announced that more than 15% of the nation’s row crop farms are now using its data platform.

The announcement notes that in just two years since its launch the firm has gained customers in all 50 states and 130 countries across six continents. And it now has more than $11 billion in crops under management, which has tripled in less than six months. Read more on farmindustrynews.com

16 Sep

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Facing Big Ride-Sharing Competitors, Sidecar Enlists Richard Branson

September 16, 2014 | By |

Doing battle against two heavily financed competitors, ride-sharing startup Side.cr LLC, which goes by the name Sidecar, closed on $15 million in a new round of funding as tech-facilitated alternatives to the traditional taxi ride proliferate.

Existing investors Avalon Ventures and Union Square Ventures provided the funding alongside new backer Richard Branson.

“An entrepreneurial company like Sidecar can take on the big guys with innovation and big ideas, not just big bank accounts,” Mr. Branson said in a blog post that appeared on Sidecar’s blog on Monday. Read more on Wall Street Journal

15 Sep

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Ridesharing Service Sidecar Raises Another $15 Million, Adds Sir Richard Branson As Investor

September 15, 2014 | By |

San Francisco-headquartered ridesharing startup Sidecar, which competes with on-demand car services like Uber and Lyft, announced this morning it has raised an additional $15 million in funding. The new round comes from existing investors Avalon Ventures, Huron River Ventures, and Union Square Ventures, and includes participation from new investor and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson. Previously, Sidecar had raised $20 million through A and B rounds, the latest of which was announced in February.

Recently, the company rolled out Shared Rides in San Francisco, allowing customers to save on the cost of their trips by getting matched with other nearby riders who then share the car and the price of the ride with you. To date, Sidecar says it has offered Shared Rides to 13,000 people since its launch four months ago, and is now planning to grow the service by expanding it locally and “beyond,” with the goal of hitting 500,000 rides in one year. Read more on TechCrunch

15 Sep

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Home Run: After NYC stint, Zipments returns to West Michigan to grow

September 15, 2014 | By |

Three  years ago, West Michigan entrepreneur Garrick Pohl realized he needed to move his tech startup to a larger metropolitan market to prove the concept and to scale up its operations.
But now that Zipments Corp. has demonstrated that its mobile courier service is viable after operating in New York City and other major markets, he’s looking for a more affordable place to grow the company he started in Holland and launched in Grand Rapids four years ago.

That search led Pohl back to Grand Rapids, where he expects to move most of Zipments’ operations over the next year. When the move is complete, the majority of the same-day delivery service’s administrative positions — including sales, product development and customer service — will be based in Grand Rapids, Pohl told MiBiz in an exclusive interview. Read more on MiBiz

05 Sep

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Farming Startup FarmLogs Triples Market Share In Last Six Months

September 5, 2014 | By |

Michigan-based FarmLogs is announcing today a significant milestone in the young company’s history. In just two years since its founding, the company has seen incredible growth and now counts customers in all 50 states and over $11 billion worth of crops under its management, a number that has tripled in the last six months. FarmLogs estimates 15% of the farms within the United States are using its services.

The company was in Silicon Valley and later moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Earlier this year, Jesse Vollmar, CEO and co-founder explained the company’s focus is building out its product to intelligently predict and optimize crop rotations as well as automate activity data collection. Read more on TechCrunch.

03 Sep

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Daimler Acquires RideScout to Expand in to Ride Sharing

September 3, 2014 | By |

Daimler AG  Wednesday became the first major car maker to enter the ride-sharing business, a fast-growing market currently dominated by startups like Uber Technologies Inc.

Daimler, whose Mercedes-Benz cars are popular with taxi services in parts of Europe, said it would acquire the U.S.’s RideScout LLC and Germany-based Intelligent Apps GmbH, which operates the mytaxi cab-booking app.

The value of the acquisitions is small at less than $100 million, according to people familiar with the situation. Daimler is making the acquisitions through its Moovel GmbH unit, in which Daimler has consolidated its mobility services business, including Car2Go GmbH. Car2Go acquired a minority stake in mytaxi in 2012. Read more on Wall Street Journal.

01 Sep

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Can Zipments Be a Bike Messenger’s Less-Threatening, More Helpful Uber?

September 1, 2014 | By |

Every passing decade seems to bring another technology that has the potential to dramatically alter, and often shrink, the courier industry.

“The fax machine already supposedly killed the bike messenger industry, supposedly email was [too],” said Joshua Weitzner, of New York’s Samurai Messenger Service. “Back in D.C. I was moving a lot of court documents and paper around, now with electronic signatures that’s all gone. But now that we aren’t moving papers, we move things. What we move 90 percent of the time is related to fashion or publishing.”

In recent years a new player, Zipments, has emerged with ambitions to help couriers deal with the ever-changing industry, while further altering the landscape. “The courier industry is evolving at an astounding rate,” says Garrick Pohl, CEO of Zipments, in an email. “Trying to go it alone with outdated technology and customer service tools is a losing proposition.” Read more on nextcity.org