Roundup: LevelEleven Raises $2M, Atomic Object Acquires SRT Solutions

Lots of action in the Southeast Michigan startup world this week:

LevelEleven, the Detroit-based enterprise gamification startup spun out of ePrize, announced this week that it has raised another $2 million in equity financing, bringing the total venture investment in the company up to $3.5 million. Investors in LevelEleven’s latest round include CRM giant Salesforce, Detroit Venture Partners, the Chicago-based Hyde Park Venture Partners, and Mashburn Justice Capital Partners, a new fund launched by former NBA star Jamal Mashburn and former NFL player Winston Justice.

Bob Marsh, LevelEleven’s CEO, says the new $2 million investment will help the company scale up. “The first $1.5 million was further validation of the market for our product,” he says. “The additional $2 million doesn’t change our strategic direction, but it allows us to grow our sales and marketing efforts.”

Marsh calls Salesforce “a very supportive partner” to LevelEleven. It was while implementing Salesforce’s enterprise software at ePrize that Marsh got the idea to develop LevelEleven’s flagship product: A sales gamification app called Compete that transforms corporate sales contests from a bunch of spreadsheets and whiteboards into an automated, software-driven affair. LevelEleven has also developed LeaderTV, which enables the startup’s clients to broadcast live leaderboards on monitors or televisions stationed around their office.

But is the concept of using competitions to motivate a company’s sales staff working? Marsh says it is. The average LevelEleven customer is seeing a 10 to 50 percent increase in the sales behaviors they’re trying to motivate, according to Marsh. The Detroit Pistons basketball franchise, a LevelEleven client, was able to fulfill a six month sales goal in six weeks using Contest Builder and LeaderTV, he says. Marsh notes that LevelEleven has a total of about 100 customers, including Comcast, Kelly Services, and Open Table.

Atomic Object, the software development company with offices in Detroit and Grand Rapids, announced this week that it has acquired SRT Solutions, an Ann Arbor-based software development firm that was founded in 1999. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Atomic Object will retain SRT Solutions’ staff and downtown office space. Bill Wagner, co-founder of SRT Solutions, says Atomic Object was interested in acquiring his company because it really liked the strong development skills and dedication of the SRT Solutions team. However, the main reason behind the acquisition, Wagner says, was Atomic Object’s desire to establish an Ann Arbor office.

“It’s great for the area,” Wagner adds. “The things Atomic Object wants to do will really be a help to the Ann Arbor area. It’s great to see Atomic Object put down roots in the three most vibrant cities in Michigan.”

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