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Posted on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Atari and Chuck E. Cheese's founder's newest company leasing Ann Arbor office space from Sava

By Ben Freed

Web startup company Oomba has a catchy name, California headquarters and well-known founders. Next week, the company also will have its first satellite office in downtown Ann Arbor.

The office’s general manager Jon Gagnon said the company already has four employees in Ann Arbor and hopes to expand the office to 11 people as quickly as possible. The new office will be at 216 E. Washington St. and is scheduled to open Saturday.


The building was formerly home to Tisch Investment Advisory Incorporated.

Joseph Tobianski |

“We really want to recruit aggressively right now,” he said.

“We’re looking for engineers, mobile developers, front-end designers… really anyone interested in working on the cutting edge of consumer Internet design.”

Local restaurateur Sava Lelcaj owns the building the company is moving into. According to city records, Lelcaj bought the property on Washington Street in late September for $750,000. Neal Warling of Jones Lang LaSalle brokered that deal.

"I originally intended to open something [food related] there, but it didn't quite work out with the timing," Lelcaj said.

Oomba will be renting approximately 2,000 square feet in the building for its offices. The deal was made without a broker and the lease rate is undisclosed.

"We’ll see what happens moving forward," Lelcaj said. "They expect to outgrow that space within a year though, so they’re only on a one-year lease."

Gagnon said Ann Arbor was chosen for an office because of the strong talent base and the favorable cost of living compared with the two coasts.

“You have such incredible talent coming out the universities here, it’s awesome,” he said.

“There’s also the history of successful Internet-based tech startups in Ann Arbor. There have been a number of them and the history drives further investment. It’s really becoming a hub for tech startups.”

Oomba runs, a website that helps users create and manage tournaments in both the on and offline worlds. Using the website, people can create brackets and manage their tournaments through either printing brackets out, using modules on the site, or integrating code into external sites.

“Right now, these tournaments, and getting more people using challonge is the focus,” Gagnon said.

“They can be anything from chess tournaments, to League of Legends. We’ve had people using them to make basketball and beer pong tournaments, or FIFA and Halo.”

The company raised a seed round of $700,000 and is working on a multi-million dollar Series A funding round right now, Gagnon said, despite not having an obvious revenue source.

One reason the team has been able to raise money is that its co-founders include chief visionary officer Nolan Bushnell and CEO Michael Williams. Bushnell has a distinct status in the startup world as the founder of both Atari and the Chuck E. Cheese’s empire.

Williams has been involved with a number of other companies as well, including CodeFire Studios and Reality Gap.

In addition to being the general manager of the Ann Arbor office, Gagnon also is the vice president of "trading" for the company.

“We have a VP of product, and then I’m the VP of product for trading,” he said.

“Trading is a piece of our puzzle that I can’t really talk about yet, but it will be very big. That’s a big part of what we want to do here in Ann Arbor is build the team that will build that ‘trading’ product.”

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 7:52 a.m.

Since this company has a founder that has been around a while, maybe there will be less ageism in the hiring process? On more than one occasion I have found that tech startups in this town reject qualified applicants if they are over a certain age... How do I know this is happening? I have been told so by their HR people when I get consulting contracts, there is serious ageism involved in tech hiring. Google and others do it under the guise of 'company culture considerations'. This would be a good subject for investigative reporting If only everyone there wasn't under 30.

Dr. Fate

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

Bring back Major Magic's! Woohoo!

Sarah G

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

Agree @lindor. Quite unbelievable that there is any negative commentary on an article announcing a new lease and business moving into town. I guess some people - @eyesofjustice sit online spamming boards all day while others are out there working hard, supporting the community and making things happen. Only one word comes to mind... jealousy. Happy to see her do well and best of luck to Oomba. @unusualsuspect - Great call on Bimbo's... Forgot all about that place but loved!


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

Grandmother.... lol


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:17 p.m.

Lots of nasty comments removed about Sava......hmm wonder why?


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 11:35 a.m.



Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

They're all yours.... Noticed you've been here several times today, do you have a life. It's funny, an article comes out about a leased building in town and idiots like you come out and leave negative comments. When you leave your computer trolling comments on, created 100 some odd jobs in town, then some people might care what you say.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.,1583776 Here is a Daily article about Matt and Bimbos...


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

Don't be fooled Ben we see u soon ......u can get the real story

Will Warner

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

I love Sava. She is what America was invented for.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

Ironically just a block from the former location of Bimbo's, which was killed by Chuck E Cheese's arrival in town.

Leah Gunn

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

Bimbo's was great for kids' birthday parties in the 70's. The blind banjo player was John Teachout, who tuned pianos for his day job - a very nice guy. The kids loved throwing the peanut shells, and the pizza was good. The whole room would sing Happy Birthday and other songs. Altogether a fun experience.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

Bimbos had a *real* band. My memories were of mostly "dixieland" type music. I remember at least an old "tinny" upright piano, trombone, and banjo. The menu doubled as a song sheet, and everybody sang along. Nobody grew up in Ann Arbor without having a birthday party down there. It was big fun. The pizza was thin and cut in a grid even though it was round, which left some small triangle pieces here and there around the edges. The thin pizzas form Dominos are made that way now, and I get one now and then just for nostalgia reasons. The earlier comment about peanuts on the floor are right.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

Lizzy - It was peanut shells all over the place fairly tasty and cheap pizza, kazoo and washboard type ragtime music, lots of beer (and lots of underage drinkers, too, and I do mean seriously underage - it was a different time), and lots of big groups for birthdays, etc. Everybody had fun.

Roger Rayle

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

The original Bimbo's, where ABC is now, was a family and student pizza/beer/pop place featuring a live sing-along Dixieland band led by a blind banjo player. I don't recall any mechanical bands there... maybe that was at Bimbo's on the Hill where Paesano's is today.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

I loved Bimbo's!!! I had a couple birthday parties there in the late 70's. It was a pizza place where you had never ending peanuts, and throw the shells on the floor. They had those mechanical type bands like Chuck E Cheese...there was also Bimbo's on the Hill on Washtenaw...which is now where Paesano's is at. As I remember...the theme was like barber shop quartet with red and white striped vests. I'm pretty sure they sold beer as I remember the parents at the time liked it too! Man....thanks for the memories Unusual!

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

@Unusual Suspect: Tell me about Bimbo's! What was it?


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

"Gagnon said Ann Arbor was chosen for an office because of the strong talent base and the favorable cost of living compared with the two coasts." I believe that statement. However, recent history has shown us that something else keeps these start ups from staying and growing. Ann Arbor quite often will have UofM spin offs, new tech ventures, or west coast large company tech moving an office here, but after a year or two it fizzles, gets bought out, or moves on. Just wondering why that is.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

New tech coming to town is a good thing! I still play my Atari 2600!!

Linda Peck

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Thank you for this news. I enjoy hearing about new tech companies moving into Ann Arbor, and expanding in Ann Arbor. We have so much to crow about.