Colorado Companies to Watch 2014: Technology & Information
TECHNOLOGY & INFORMATION
Portrait: Web design and complex development specialist booj, founded in 2005, powers the technology behind large business platforms, including The Enterprise Network and Waste Management.
Major Moment: From the outset, booj offered clients exclusivity in each market and only partnered with independent real estate brokerages. This helped create a network of companies to combat the franchises in their markets while still flying their own flag. The model fosters communication and camaraderie far beyond a traditional business partnership because members come together in a noncompetitive environment to share costs, discuss best practices and learn from each other. Booj stands by this model and has terminated contracts with big clients when they were bought out by franchises.
Differentiator: With the movement toward portable technology, booj adopted a “mobile first” approach and brought development in-house, launching a fully responsive mobile-oriented website. The site provides a viewing experience for customers that functions perfectly from smartphone to desktop. Booj also was the first company to release augmented reality for the real estate space on an android device.
Company Culture: The name “booj” stands for “be original or jealous.” Booj encourages employees to carve their own career paths and believes culture is the responsibility of the employees, whether they’ve been with the company five days or five years. The firm’s guiding principles are contained in another acronym –TRUE – which stands for “thoughtful,” “responsive,” “up-front” and “exceptional.” The company has a dedicated employee site, boojers.com, to showcase the personalities behind its brand.
Portrait: Centerline Solutions, founded in 2011, provides an end-to-end suite of wireless services that includes designing, building, modification and maintenance.
Major Moment: The acquisition of Atecs and MC Squared Holdings was instrumental in Centerline’s ability to become one of the only companies in the wireless industry that delivers end-to-end services. Centerline currently has MSAs (Master Sales Agreements) with the nation’s leading wireless companies, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. It also has expanded its capabilities beyond traditional telecom to include wireless communications for federal, state and local government entities, including Denver International Airport.
Differentiator: Centerline developed its own internal business software, Centerpath, with the goal of empowering employees to view and manage clients, projects, revenue, costs and margins in a centralized program. Because of that software’s success, the company planned to roll out scheduling, time management and HR modules in the first half of 2014 to further increase resource management efficiency and HR document accessibility.
Company Culture: Centerline provides employees with training in the latest relevant technologies, including its current explorations into fiber optics and small cells. Additionally, the company’s work force is equipped with state-of-the-art tablets complete with intelligent applications, boosting their accuracy and efficiency in the field.
Clear Peak LLC
PORTRAIT: With its 77 members built up since 2000, the management consulting services firm focuses on delivering business intelligence (BI) to Fortune 2,000 clients, such as EchoStar, M Resort Las Vegas and Dish Network. Clear Peak provides strategy, assessment, implementation and data services.
DIFFERENTIATOR: Fueled by Next Generation BI architecture, Clear Peak cuts cost and complexity of client data.
MAJOR MOMENT: In an effort to build a scalable business, Clear Peak became an LLC, moving to a fully employee-based model and recruiting professional- services teams to deliver its solutions. This has allowed the company to grow its number of active projects and average client relationship value.
COMPANY CULTURE: Hovering around a 95 percent average employee retention rate since 2006, Clear Peak credits its “family first” flexibility, ever-interesting client work, and a blend of candor, accountability and transparency for its long-term team.
Connect First Inc.
Portrait: Boulder-based Connect First is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) telecommunications and cloud contact center provider. It offers a variety of technological solutions to companies within the telecommunications industry.
Major Moment: A key moment for Connect First occurred in its infancy, when founder Richard Manulkin recruited standout software developer Geoff Mina. Mina’s recruitment proved pivotal, as his ability to solve highly technical problems coupled with his innovation and vision has driven Connect First to its present standing. Mina has since transitioned to the role of CEO. In 2011, Mina brought on Dan Candee as COO. When Candee arrived, he was one of five employees; last year Connect First hired the company’s 35th employee.
Differentiator: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) legislation, passed October 16 of last year, greatly affected Connect First’s outbound dialing customers, restricting the use of auto-dialers and requiring express written consent for outbound telemarketing. No other company has addressed TCPA compliance like Connect First. The solution was Connect First Safe, dialing technology that uses new outbound server architecture without access to predictive, preview or power dialing, and therefore is able to safely dial cell-phone numbers via an Agent Click-To-Dial request. Connect First Safe has been implemented by the majority of its outbound dialing clients.
Company Culture: Perks include gym memberships, weekly catered lunches, pet insurance, unlimited paid time off, flexible scheduling (including a work from home option), dog-friendly work environment, indoor bike parking, quarterly company parties, a paid two-month sabbatical and many other extras.
Portrait: E2 Optics specializes in enterprise-class and data center installations. The company delivers robust fiber and copper structured cabling systems equipped to accommodate a multitude of applications including voice, data, video and security for mission-critical data centers and the office building environment.
Major Moment: In 2011, E2 Optics opened its first branch in Ashburn, Va., in support of significant partners in the region. Going national differentiated the company from other contractors and enabled it to provide a higher level of service to companies with operations in multiple states. Today E2 has branch locations in Seattle, Salt Lake City and Cheyenne, Wyo., and plans to expand into Dallas and Allentown, Pa.
Differentiator: E2 initiated a superior process for client engagement, collaboration and project delivery as a result of client feedback. E2’s strategic Program Management Practice has become the foundation for its service delivery model. The largest E2 Optics customer and one of the largest information technology organizations expressed concerns over delays, daily progress reports and lack of communication it received from most contractors. E2 listened and utilized that feedback to differentiate its services.
Community: E2 Optics supports the Tennyson House for Children as well as numerous events for charter schools and educational institutions within the state. E2 also is supporting the Colorado-based chapter for Project Healing Waters dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities.
Portrait: FastTrack Communications is a facilities-based Competitive Local Exchange Carrier, providing voice, Web and data solutions to businesses within rural Colorado communities and New Mexico.
Major Moment: FastTrack constructed a voice and data network for a large cell carrier that enabled it to begin offering services within local communities. This opportunity led to the opening of an untapped market with new service offerings. FastTrack has also taken advantage of “open access” networks built with taxpayer dollars, enabling the company to expand its footprint into new communities.
Differentiator: FastTrack works with local communities and Internet Service Providers to reach underserved locations and provide a competitive edge to these areas. The company enables local ISPs to reach residential communities by wholesaling its services, which they can bundle with their services to reach all rural markets.
Community Contribution As a member of the local Economic Development Alliance, FastTrack is committed to building out its network to rural areas, a critical economic driver for these communities. The company is providing additional Internet at no cost to DurangoSpace, a coworking office, to host “Go Code Colorado.” The effort aims to bring government, business and tech communities together to make public data more accessible and expand the state’s economy. FastTrack built and provides a transport connection between Durango City Hall and the Public Safety Emergency Services Tower at no cost.
Portrait: Just Associates is a health-care data integration-consulting firm focused on identity management and data integrity. Its services and technologies result in improved patient care, operational efficiencies and improved revenue cycle outcomes through enhanced patient data quality.
Major Moment: Regulatory changes — requiring health-care providers to implement electronic medical records (EMR) — were pivotal for Just Associates, as successful deployment of an EMR is contingent on clean patient data, and this need has increased demand for Just Associates’ services.
Differentiator: Just Associates developed proprietary training modules utilized to quickly train and ramp up new staff members while ensuring quality of services.
Company Culture: The majority of Just Associates’ employees work remotely, and the company offers flexible scheduling. Employee satisfaction ratings are high, translating to impressive retention and high customer satisfaction rankings.
Watch a video from Just Associates:
Logic Integration Inc.
Portrait: Logic Integration designs and installs state-of-the-art audio and video systems for corporate, government, military, education, hospitality, health and fitness, retail and other categories.
Major Moment: In 2008, Logic Integration downsized and reorganized staff to expand its scope beyond the residential sector and into commercial markets. The company hired a professional from the high-end health club industry to lead sales, then added commercial sales, install and design departments. Taking this risk paid off. The company is now the partner of choice for Dish Network, Lockheed Martin and divisions of the U.S. Army. Today the commercial market accounts for 70 percent of Logic Integration’s business.
Differentiator: In 2009, the company reduced its primary brand offerings to eight instead of 28, and thus is an expert in the few brands offered. In contrast, most competitors offer four brands in each product category.
Community: Logic Integration supports a number of organizations across Colorado with monetary contributions, donated products and services and volunteerism. These include Denver’s Water For People, HighPointeCenter, Smoky Hill Vineyard Church and Coats for Arapahoe House. The company donates roughly $50,000 annually in AV equipment to nonprofit organizations in Colorado. In 2013, Logic Integration donated and installed multiple systems for HighPointe Center, a nonprofit established to provide high quality day programs for adults with development disabilities in Centennial.
Portrait: MedKeeper provides mobile and Web-based applications to help hospital pharmacies manage operations more efficiently.
Major Moment: Last year Medkeeper developed a direct-sales entity and dramatically improved its development and support model. This proved pivotal as the company’s average deal size increased more than tenfold, and revenue increased 50 percent between 2012 and 2013, helping MedKeeper make the Inc. 5,000.
Differentiator: The tech-based business has developed a leading market position by providing cloud and mobile-first applications used by highly mobile health-care professionals. In an industry dominated by large players, MedKeeper is distinguished by its dedication to customers, rapid response and technological innovation. MedKeeper focuses on the personal development of its client-services team, having created formal, documented, repeatable processes and improved turnaround times by 28 percent. This increased its ability to up-sell additional products.
Innovation: MedKeeper has been a leading provider of Web and handheld software applications for pharmacy safety, communications and compliance since 2001. Throughout that time, the company has remained attuned to hospital pharmacy needs and has met workflow challenges that larger competitors couldn’t or wouldn’t.
Portrait: Peak Internet provides high-speed Web, telephone and data connectivity services to residential, small, medium and large businesses and government organizations.
Major Moment: The company counts its beginning in 2001 as a pivotal moment, as CEO Jayson Baker explained, “We ‘brought’ high-speed Internet service to our market. By being first we quickly garnered a majority share of the market which drove our initial expansion.”
Differentiator: The company has developed proprietary systems that allow it to offer faster Internet service for cheaper prices. Peak Internet attributes some of its success to its small size, allowing the team the flexibility to constantly upgrade and perfect its services. As recently as 2010, the company had only three full-time employees, and while it has grown to 12 full-time-equivalent employees, it remains nimble.
Innovation: “We like to be DISRUPTIVE!” Baker said. That statement was made apparent when Peak grew tired of talk about expansion of fiber optics to rural areas and took matters into its own hands. “We took a ‘shut up and do it’ approach; bought construction equipment, hired some guys, worked with the city for approval, and just went for it. Now in our second year of construction, our customers love seeing our crews out working in their neighborhood installing fiber optics. It’s the best ‘marketing’ we’ve done yet!”
Portrait: RevGen Partners transforms companies through data. RevGen Partners works in business optimization, promotes peak performance by improving business processes, helps companies control costs and recover lost revenue. It positions clients for success through improved performance and profitability
Major Moment: In September of 2008, Lehman Brothers and AIG collapsed, marking the onset of an economic nosedive. During this time, companies looked for new ways to cut costs and find savings. RevGen Partners became profitable in its ninth month due to the heavy demand for its services. Projecting a slow recovery, the following year the company created the infrastructure and formalized service offerings to support clients planning for growth. As it broadened services to include business intelligence and application development, RevGen Partners expanded into new verticals, developing a strong client base in education, financial services and manufacturing.
Differentiator: Through business intelligence and data warehousing, RevGen Partners provides critical insight, drives profitability and offers peace of mind for clients by identifying opportunities hidden in corporate data.
Community: RevGen Partners hosts a client golf tournament every year and asks clients, colleagues and friends of the firm to support its featured nonprofit. Last year the event raised $15,000 for Colorado UpLift. RevGen Partners matched every donation, dollar-for-dollar. “It’s an honor to reach beyond ourselves to partner with our clients and nonprofit organizations to make a positive, long-term impact, particularly among disadvantaged youth,” said RevGen Partners President and CEO Michael Turner.
SkyWerx Industries LLC
Portrait: SkyWerx is a regional wireless Internet service provider. It provides broadband services to rural Southwestern Colorado homes and business customers via a redundant, homegrown, long haul microwave network. The company was founded in 2003.
Major Moment: Skywerx was the first and only telecommunications company to build over Wolf Creek Pass. This development was the precursor to its eventual builds into Colorado Springs, entry into South Fork and Center markets, and the foundation for both Crestone Telecom and Colorado Central Telecom, of which Skywerx is part owner. The company garnered national exposure as it holds the distance record for a licensed frequency build at just under 50 miles.
Differentiator: The company’s core network and assets can be proactively monitored from any remote location, with access monitoring extended to cell phones. In most cases, the company is aware of issues well before any impact is felt by its network.
Innovation: SkyWerx builds infrastructure in remote locations above 10,000 feet, and often these locations do not have an available power source. SkyWerx partners with a local engineer to design and build custom solar solutions that provide a primary power source for these remote locations. This contributes to the quality of the Skywerx core network, which has not experienced an outage for more than four years.
Portrait: Boulder-based TeamSnap, started in 2009, was conceived as an online Web service, but now its mobile apps account for 80 percent of business, serving as differentiating marketing tools. The company’s Internet and mobile-app services are utilized by roughly 5 million people around the world to manage sports teams, activities, groups and organizations.
Major Moment: Unlike most consumer Internet companies, TeamSnap offered email support from day one. “We could only afford one support person, though, and decided everyone else would pitch in one day a month. The policy has been a godsend. Customers love it, and everyone in the company deeply understands customer issues,” said TeamSnap President and CEO Dave Dupont. Another pivotal moment was introducing a native mobile app for the iPhone and iPad.
Differentiator: TeamSnap is intent on making a product that is easy to use. “We have a core belief that if customers cannot figure out how to use the app, it is our fault,” Dupont said. In addition, TeamSnap pushes hard to develop apps to be available where customers want to use it.
Community: TeamSnap has a well-established program that provides free software to groups and teams that have a positive impact in their community. The East Bay Soldiers, a basketball team near Oakland, Calif., that combines athletics and education, is one of hundreds of organizations benefitting from free TeamSnap software.