An innovative technology firm that moved to Lakewood last year is already looking to expand, thanks to a big boost from the Ohio Department of Development.
To the tune of about $750,000.
DecisionDesk (the firm formerly known as CitizenGroove), a company that provides a network to allow music schools and universities to manage video applications, is expected to hire 38 new employees over the next two years.
That’s in addition to the seven existing positions at the company.
The money comes from the state’s Innovation Ohio Loan Fund. DecisionDesk is also expected to buy new machinery and equipment — and “capitalizable” software development.
“I am pleased to announce funding for this growing Lakewood business that enhances the arts through technology,” said state Rep. Nickie Antonio.
The company, located in the Detroit-Warren building, began as a website fusing music and academic music programs through a number of products and services.
There are now more than 100 schools across the country — including Julliard, the University of Michigan and Oberlin — using the system.
The company has processed over 200,000 application files, said DecisionDesk co-founder and CEO John Knific.
“A lot of exciting growth is happening,” Knific told Lakewood Patch last year. “This is definitely our year to grow. It’s still a roller coaster ride. But we’re making it happen.”
When the company launched in 2010, two of the three co-founders were music majors at Case Western Reserve University.
“One of the challenges we found, as an art school you receive tens of thousands of applications,” he said. “There’s no better way to evaluate the talent than video media.”
Here’s how it works:
A student uploads a video of his/her video audition to a school. The school then submits the videos to all the faculty through the comapny's platform. Using the technology, the faculty can post a review in the system.
“We were fiddling around with a couple of different things,” Knific said, adding that the entrepreneurial trio also tried a social network site for musicians. “This opportunity sort of fell into our laps.”