Few people recognize the growth that is occurring in Detroit
and its surrounding cities. Between the auto industry layoffs and
the plethora of decaying buildings, the mainstream media has
painted a picture of disaster and despair. Contrary to those
reports, there are thousands of individuals working hard to turn
Detroit around. Some of them
manufacture new televisions
for new watches. Many of them will help a major automaker
complete its IT transformation
Then there are the dozens of men and women that have helped
Benzinga transform into a dynamic and innovative financial media
"It is crazy to think that two-and-a-half years ago this
started in my basement," said Jason Raznick, the President and
co-founder of Benzinga. "Now we're in an 8,000 square foot office
with almost 30 people."
Raznick, who said that Benzinga has a "really big vision" for
the future, was one of five Detroit entrepreneurs who spoke on a
this week. He was joined by John Fikany, the VP of Microsoft's
) U.S. commercial sector; Michael Webster, Executive VP of Kelly
Services; Nathan Labenz, co-founder of Stik.com; and Shinola's
"Us being in Michigan, we feel like we have something to prove
much more than if we were in another state," said Raznick. "I
don't know if we work harder but we think we do. There are guys
that are in the office throughout the night."
Raznick spoke proudly about Benzinga's partnership with
Microsoft. "John from that little company, Microsoft, became a
client of ours for the Windows 8 launch," he said. "We're one of
the main [financial sites] there alongside Reuters and The Wall
Street Journal. We have competitors. The only way that happens is
that we outwork our competition, and we do that time and time
again. That's why Microsoft came to us for more and more stuff.
We're building really cool things."
Ultimately, Raznick said that Benzinga's goal is to "change
the investment game."
"We fly out to New York a lot, as well as Chicago," Raznick
added. "But there's a loyalty here [in Michigan]. In other places
it's almost like musical chairs, where if things aren't going
right, you give up. We don't believe in that."
No matter the obstacle, Raznick said that the Benzinga team is
determined to overcome them. "If we can't figure out how to
overcome them, we go another way," he said. "We figure out a way,
always. Where there's a will, there's a way."
Benzinga is not the only firm that sees the value in Detroit.
"Recently we had some big firms [talk to us] that wanted to come
back to Michigan to be part of this renaissance," said Raznick.
He added that if Benzinga were in New York, "We'd be just another
fish in the pond."
"Here, we can make a statement -- and we know we have to work
hard," he said. "We want to see so much more success in the
Raznick isn't alone. Quicken Loans founder and chairman Dan
five additional downtown buildings
for his Detroit 2.0 initiative this week.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently said that by fixing the
fundamentals, Detroit could be
an exciting alternative to Chicago
Raznick added that there needs to be a central well-known
website for out-of-state job seekers who are looking to move
"Everything Gilbert is doing is awesome," said Raznick, who
believes that Detroit's future involves more than local talent.
"It's not just finding the talent here before they leave, it's
also trying to attract people who are in other industries."
(c) 2012 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.