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IndustryStar founder and CEO attributes successes to the entrepreneurial community

. William Crane, founder and CEO of IndustryStar Solutions LLC, has fostered a community of mentors and talent, leading to a threefold growth in the first year of business.
. William Crane, founder and CEO of IndustryStar Solutions LLC, has fostered a community of mentors and talent, leading to a threefold growth in the first year of business.

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Starting a new beginning or venture isn’t easy to do alone, which is why building a community is exponentially important to entrepreneurs. William Crane, founder and CEO of IndustryStar Solutions LLC, has fostered a community of mentors and talent, leading to a threefold growth in the first year of business.
Crane realizes that with the fast-paced and unpredictable nature of startups, access to continuous learning, strong relationships with peers, unmatched talent and top-of-the-line technology are key to success. The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Ann Arbor provides all of these factors.
“A valuable lesson I’ve learned through my precedents in the entrepreneurial community is how to truly develop products based on customers’ needs,” Crane says. “Learn how to talk to customers and really listen. It sounds simple, but when you’ve developed a product or service you’re really passionate about, it’s easy to fall into the talk more/listen less trap. I’ve learned to listen to customers’ feedback and take it in a humble way. This is an important skill for high-growth companies.”
The access to talent in Ann Arbor allowed Crane to build collaborative relationships with both mentors and potential team members. This made Crane’s decision to call Ann Arbor home an easy one to make.
“Our ability to attract and retain engineering talent locally is huge for us,” Crane says. “We’ve made trips out to Silicon Valley before, but there you end up as a small fish in a big pond. In Ann Arbor, you’re a bigger fish in a smaller pond but still have the second-to-none technology and entrepreneurial community.”
Being located in Ann Arbor has also helped Crane attract top talent to his team. IndustryStar’s co-founder and supply chain manager Eric Meldrum chose to relocate from Silicon Valley, where he worked at Mophie, to head up IndustryStar’s growing consumer products services business. Co-founder and supply chain analyst Tyler Davis chose to leave Whirlpool in Findlay, Ohio to join IndustryStar. Davis and IndustryStar’s growing team manage end-to-end supply chain operations for consumer electronics, home goods and various consumer products.
Having a talented team working in downtown Ann Arbor is only part of IndustryStar’s success. At the intersection of the Ann Arbor community and entrepreneurial community is Ann Arbor SPARK. When IndustryStar began its journey with Ann Arbor SPARK, it called an 800-square-feet conference room on the first floor home. Less than a year later, IndustryStar moved into a suite two floors up. An environment with room to grow is just what Crane’s high-growth business needs.
“Ann Arbor SPARK has been really helpful in making those valuable introductions to other talented engineers and supply chain professionals,” Crane says. “They’ve also been really helpful on the sales and marketing side, helping us with messaging and getting our story out there.”
As Crane enters year three of his company’s journey, he’s able to pay it forward by sharing advice with individuals newer than him in the entrepreneurial community.
“Get out of the office, get out there and introduce yourself to people. Go to the events at SPARK, tech meet-ups and any opportunity there is to meet people. Talking to companies that are a couple years further along is the most invaluable educational experience,” Crane says. “You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn when you put yourself in uncomfortable situations.”
Crane’s passion for helping others in the entrepreneurial community is evident not only in his advice but also at the core of his business. IndustryStar offers supply chain as a service to other high-growth businesses. Anything from transportation to consumer products, Crane and his team use their skills to “bring innovative and disruptive technologies to market that have a positive impact on the world.”
When it comes to surfacing innovation, IndustryStar walks the walk. In alignment with its mission to help others bring innovative technologies to market, IndustryStar has developed an innovative technology product of its own. The supply chain software IndustryStar has created is unique to the supply chain world. These types of service and software offerings prove to be beneficial to its growing list of customers. When taking a look at what’s next, Crane considers another year of a threefold revenue growth to arguably be too conservative for his business.
“We just returned from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and I’m really happy with the feedback we got and connections we made,” Crane says. “In 2016 we’re going to be working with some new clients who are doing really amazing things.”
Continuing to launch its supply chain software platform and grow its engineering team in Ann Arbor will be focal points for IndustryStar in Q1 and Q2. The business has goals set to develop new technologies and further leverage the current offerings.

IndustryStar’s strategic advisory council will be an immense guide in these goals. Crane and his team are especially appreciative and humbled by the council, which includes members from highly respectable and accomplished businesses such as General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Continental AG and Sunoptics.  
IndustryStar’s success shows that the combination of the spirit of technology and entrepreneurial communities cultivates an environment where helping each other comes full circle. 
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