TechTown IT Startup Rippld Gets $50K Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Microloan

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DETROIT — Rippld, an Internet company incubated by TechTown, Wayne State University’s business incubator and accelerator, announced last week that it has closed on a $50,000 Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund microloan to expand upon and improve its online platform for connecting creative professionals.

Rippld is a professional network for creatives who use it to collaborate, post portfolios and share jobs. The site is intended to help creatives become part of an online community to support their business objectives.

“Friends ask us all the time where to find creative talent,” said co-founder Adrian Walker, who conceived of Rippld with his partner Wilbert Fobbs III when trying to get a fledgling video production company off the ground. “I looked at what was out there in the online landscape and nothing offered the kind of access or information people were looking for. Rippld fills that gap.”

Rippld is a good example of Detroit’s unlikely surge in entrepreneurship among Gen Y professionals, many of whom have been lured by the city’s unfettered business environment, rich entrepreneurial ecosystem and low cost of entry.

According to Rippld co-founder Lander Coronado-Garcia, who moved back to Detroit after living and working in Chicago for four years, Detroit offered advantages that he and his partners couldn’t find in larger, more established markets.

“TechTown and its sister incubators have been and continue to be critical to Rippld’s success,” said Coronado-Garcia. “The one-on-one coaching, business plan support and networking capability we accessed through TechTown positioned us to be competitive in our bid for this pre-seed loan and validated the integrity of our business model. We owe this victory in large part to TechTown and its partners.”

Rippld is a participant in the Creative Ventures Program, a joint program from TechTown and the Detroit Creative Corridor Center to support and cultivate creative entrepreneurs in Detroit.

Walker and Coronado-Garcia met at the University of Michigan. Fobbs is related to Walker. Each founder contributes a different expertise to Rippld: Fobbs is the lead technologist; Walker is the creative talent; and Coronado-Garcia, who holds an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, is in charge of business operations for the company.

According to a recent impact report, TechTown has provided support to 647 companies, which in turn have created 1,085 jobs since 2007. Leslie Smith, president and CEO of TechTown,acknowledged that TechTown and its partners have learned from the success of entrepreneurship hubs like Silicon Valley and Route 128.

“Rippld is a great example of how Detroit is reinventing itself as a city characterized by both technology-based companies and high-tech talent,” Smith said. “We are working hard to give companies like Rippld the tools they need to take root here and pave the path for more creative companies to follow.”

Rippld is a connection, collaboration and services exchange platform for creative professionals and agencies, as well as clients seeking their services. Rippld provides a professional network that allows members to maximize their talents by simplifying the way they connect to their clients, display their work and collaborate with other creative professionals. For more information, visit www.rippld.com.

More about TechTown at www.techtownwsu.org.

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