Detroit Startup iRule Wants to Control Your Universe

10/12/11Follow @XconomyDET

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were sick of waiting for technicians to show up to fix their remotes, a process that would take hours or even days. When installers realized they could save time and money with our remote, we started to deal with more and more professionals.”

A year ago, Ben-Gal and Nemirovsky realized things were going much better than they had expected. They decided to write a business plan after a friend offered to invest six figures in their growing startup. Ben-Gal realized how much more time he could devote to the company if he worked on it full time, so in January he finally quit his job.

Today, iRule employs six people and has an office in the Compuware building in downtown Detroit (Compuware Ventures is an investor). The iRule app has been sold in 39 countries, and Ben-Gal estimates that each morning, he talks to people in a dozen different time zones between Australia and Hawaii alone.

After a successful fund-raising round in September, the company just launched the Android version of its app. The company plans to develop a high-end version of its remote that will allow users to collect information from their home devices, as well as send musical content from iTunes docking stations to areas outside the home, such as a poolside deck. With affordability in mind, iRule plans to offer these new options on an a la carte basis.

“Although we want to offer richer functionality, we still want to bring it to a price point that normal, working people can afford,” Ben-Gal says.

Ben-Gal says they’re also done raising money, for the moment.

“We were already a lean startup because we bootstrapped everything, so in terms of dollars and cents, what we needed was really quite modest,” Ben-Gal said. “We saw a need in the market, but we would have been happy just making some fun money that would have let us take our wives on vacation. Above all, this is a product driven by passion—we just got lucky that the things we cared about, other people cared about too.”

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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