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iRule wins opportunity to pitch its plan to Google

Detroit-based iRule LLC will have the opportunity to pitch its business plan toGoogle Inc. executives after winning Detroit’s Google Demo Day competition Wednesday night.

The startup, which created an app that allows consumers to use smartphones and tablets to control devices such as lights and TVs, will join the other winners of Google Demo Day events in April in Silicon Valley, Calif. Demo Days, held in seven cities across the country, is part of the tech company’s Google for Entrepreneurs Program.

IRule was chosen over six other finalists in the Detroit competition, organized by Grand Circus Detroit. Finalists made a five-minute pitch and underwent a three-minute question-and-answer session from a panel of four Southeast Michigan investors in front of an audience of 150.

“It’s incredible; I’m truly humbled by the opportunity to represent Detroit and the Detroit area,” said Itai Ben-Gal, iRule co-founder and CEO, who was a Crain’s 40 under 40 in 2012.

Besides pitching his startup, Ben-Gal will be able to interact with Google’s product experts, tour the Google campus, network with other entrepreneurs and receive Google swag.

“I’m looking forward to making great connections so we can continue to grow our business and take it to the next level,” he said.

IRule generated revenue of $1.1 million last year and expects that to increase to $3 million this year, Ben-Gal said.

The runner-up in the competition was Detroit-based Are You A Human — creator of PlayThru, a program that replaces online ads and security filters such as distorted text with games. The startup could earn one of three wild-card slots that Google will select from among the second-place finishers.

The wild cards will be announced next week, said Grand Circus CEO Damien Rocchi.

The other finalists in the Detroit competition were Detroit-based Backstitch Inc., Ann Arbor-based MyFab5 LLC, Detroit-basedFoodjunky LLC, Detroit-based GreenLancer Energy Inc. and Ann Arbor-based Wisely Inc.

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