JUNE  2013 

Volume 8

NO.  6

Apogee Insights Highlights Initial Year


Three Region CEOs Finalists in EY Entrepreneur of Year Judging



Effective PR Strategies Help Startups Secure Funding Quicker 


Sustainability in Financial Services Is Not About Being Green
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Apogee Insights Highlights Initial Year


The Apogee Insights Group is a strategic consulting unit initiated by some former senior corporate officers in early 2012. The Eiler partner and client noted highlights of its first year.




Apogee served as the advisor to Cherry Lake Publishing, a successful independent publisher that purchased Sleeping Bear Press from Cengage Learning. Services included business evaluation, due diligence, negotiation strategy, capital funding and operational implementation.


Directly acquired the assets of EverReading, an e-book rental firm. Apogee purchased this innovative book rental firm's electronic platform, content and distribution assets to capitalize on its opportunity for significant growth.


New Business Start-Up and Expansion


Launched Michigan Economic Outlook. Worked with Baker Strategy Group and Eiler Communications to successfully release a comprehensive study of the Michigan economy called "Renewing Michigan's Economy 2013." Results were announced at the Economic Club of Detroit on January 8, 2013 and achieved widespread regional and national press coverage. Commenced research on expansion of the Economic Outlook survey to other states.


Invested in a start-up limited liability corporation (LLC) that provides economic research, consulting and analysis to assess and evaluate the Michigan business climate and outlook.


Developed SalesTrac Accelerator

Created a new business generation model that can help dispel the pain that many small and emerging medium and large companies have: lack of robust new revenue sources caused by the continuing poor national and regional economies. Used Accelerator with an Eiler client - Global Language Monitor of Austin, TX




Provided product, marketing and technology services for a $100 million Michigan-based book manufacturer. Created a growth plan to diversify the client's services. Identified core requirements for sales, licensing and technology investments to achieve a successful launch.


Partnered with a medical information and technology company to expand its product and service offerings. Developed plan to enter a high-growth market building on start-up success. Identified key technology partners to accelerate the market introduction of product and service offerings.


Provided consulting services to the State Library of Michigan. Created technology requirement and RFP specifications for a resource-wide library discovery system. Interviewed potential services providers and developed a negotiation strategy.


Larry Eiler





Three Region CEOs Finalists in EY Entrepreneur of Year Judging


Glad to see that three Ann Arbor region CEOs are finalists in the important and long-running Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for Michigan and Northwest Ohio for 2013.


They are Larry Freed of Foresee Results; Peter Orr of MedHub; and Yan Ness of Online Tech. They will compete with 30 other finalists in the region for 10 awards to be announced June 20 in Detroit. Ernst and Young has been selecting top entrepreneurs for 25 years in one of the region's longest running programs to honor executives who are helping to renew Michigan.


Online Tech actually operates under a fairly new co-CEO organization in which Ness is co-CEO with Mike Klein, another accomplished technology executive who was COO.


Larry Eiler






Effective PR Strategies Help Startups Secure Funding Quicker


Employing an effective public relations strategy might be the key to helping startups secure early funding, said Wendy Marx, a leading public relations expert.


Marx, president of the Trumbull, Conn.-based Marx Communications, recently shared this viewpoint in her Fast Company public relations blog.


"My B2B PR firm over the years has launched a number of startups, and we've found that PR can truly make the difference in a startup's obtaining new customers, growing revenues - and catching the ultimate brass ring - funding," Marx wrote.


In fact, a survey of CEOs once found that startup companies that engage in public relations are 30 percent more successful in getting early funding that those that don't.


A strong public relations strategy helps startups properly position their products or services, so they can catch the attention of potential customers and venture capitalists.


Well-known venture capitalist firms, including Kleiner Perkins, Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia, are hiring their own public relations talent to help startups.


To learn more, visit


Lori Stratton



Sustainability in Financial Services Is Not About Being Green, Harvard Business Review


Businesses today have an obsession with "going green" and creating environmentally sustainable products and programs. Although these programs may help the environment, "going green" initiatives are not adding any type of sustainability to the institutions themselves.


George Serafeim and Robert Eccles, professors at Harvard University, believe that environmental programs are a great addition to a company's strategy, but should not be the primary initiative those investors and shareholders associate with that institution.

Rather, a company should focus on creating programs and products that are beneficial for its business as well as its shareholders, who depend on the institution to stimulate job growth and the economy.


Shifting focus from environmental initiatives to social and government issues will make businesses more transparent and trustworthy to the outside world. It will provide a better understanding of their overall strengths and weaknesses and more information for financial backers to consider when investing.


Taylor Modrowski


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