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Colorado Companies to Watch 2015: Professional Services/Communications


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PROFESSIONAL SERVICES/COMMUNICATIONS

Lewis Fowler

Englewood – lewisfowler.com – Founded: 2002

Listening, extrapolating, integrating and engaging are just a few of the routine activities that comprise LF’s process. The team maintains extensive business management consulting background and has an exceptional project delivery track record. The business is known for its industry and functional expertise, combined with ability to execute.

Key industries LF serves include:

  • Aerospace/Defense
  • Commercial Enterprise
  • Oil and Gas/Energy

The firm focuses its project management expertise on designing and delivering solutions to high-visibility, complex projects that connect people, processes and technologies. Lewis Fowler primarily works with Fortune 500 companies, largely outside of Colorado.

LF also successfully established a Women in Leadership event more than a decade ago for the community to recognize successful females in business.

WORTH WATCHING: Lewis Fowler’s team is targeting more utilities, benefiting from low energy prices and crediting re-shored manufacturing initiatives for new market potential in that sector. Health care is another industry LF hopes to enter.

Kapost

Boulder – kapost.com – Founded: 2010

Incubated in TechStars and considered an engine that powers marketing content, Kapost manages every detail of the business-to-business content lifecycle, from ideation to distribution. Its tools include a workflow system for creating branded content, a publishing system that can push content to a range of platforms, and analytics systems for tracking the success of a message.

Kapost’s Marketing Content Engine includes easy-to-operate calendar tools, workflows, insights, and streamlined distribution to standardize and simplify a successful B2B content lifecycle. The Colorado company has partnered with top content producers such as Gettyimages, Visual.ly, Scripted and others, as customers may otherwise be without vital content creation resources.

In May, Kapost received a $10.25 million funding round. The goal for the investment is to accelerate growth and continue to provide end-to-end marketing solutions, particularly as Kapost’s customers become increasingly reliant on data, technology and targeted messaging strategies. Customers include Dell, IBM, Zurich and LinkedIn.

WATCH OUT FOR: By the end of 2015, Kapost anticipates growing from roughly 80 employees to more than 100.

BWBacon Group

Denver – bwbacon.com – Founded: 2001

Heaps of reports today indicate that the leading challenge for technology companies in need of IT assistance is uncovering, attracting and then retaining top talent.

That’s where BW (“Better With”) Bacon comes in. In step with the culture and community of Colorado business, and taking a people-centric perspective on pairing talent with organizations, BWBacon is a Web development and design staffing agency.

Emerging in the thick of the 2008 economic recession, founder Dave Bacon was able to supply contract resources to local companies that weren’t necessarily in financial positions to hire full-time employees. Now, working with organizations from startups to long-standing enterprises, Bacon is in the business of helping companies grow. The tech-talent gap is a particular challenge but, Bacon says, also a major opportunity. Last year, the eight-person crew placed more than 225 individuals in contract and full-time roles.

In 2013, BWBacon was No. 216 on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America and was No. 1,394  last year on the Inc. 5000.

WATCH OUT FOR: The staffing firm is considering entering into some new industry verticals. And while deeply entrenched and committed to Colorado, BWBacon could be tempted to repeat the business model in other geographies down the line.

Cactus

Denver – cactusdenver.com – Founded: 1990

Regionally recognized Cactus aims to create marketing campaigns for companies and causes that generate social change. Using data-powered strategies, advertising, design, interactive digital campaigns, and integrated media services, the 53-person agency – which earned north of $33 million in revenues last year – has accrued extensive experience and a history of successes in health care, food and beverage, retail, entertainment, travel and tourism.

With solid and stable growth, Cactus celebrated its 25th anniversary in June, and reaffirmed its mission to create meaningful work in the mental health industry. This past year, Cactus helped brand and launch Colorado Crisis Services with a clear and powerful campaign that has received national recognition.

Hotline calls: 50,000 in just five weeks – a 61 percent increase in volume

Website visits: 34,000

Click-through-rate: more than three times the industry benchmark

WORTH WATCHING: On the heels of the launch of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s “Good to Know” retail marijuana educational campaign, Cactus is in the process of developing a youth-focused prevention program to unveil later this year.

Wowza Media Systems

Golden – wowza.com – Founded: 2005

Oprah and the Pope. Customers like that surely warrant a “Wow.”

These days, media viewers maintain high expectations when they stream video from around the world and around the clock. As such, Wowza Media Systems powers streaming video and audio with customizable software and services to build, deploy and manage high-quality live and on-demand streaming solutions for Fortune 100 companies, small to mid-sized businesses, content delivery networks, educational institutions, and government operations in more than 150 countries. Wowza provides more audio and video solutions than any other media server, including 45 percent of global content delivery networks, 65 percent of the top 100 universities worldwide, Colorado Public Radio and the Colorado Department of Transportation. According to CEO and co-founder Dave Stubenvoll, though there were few competitors in Wowza’s market when the company got its start, increasingly, media servers have more choices. However, Stubenvoll’s strategy to remain an industry leader is embodied in his rule of three’s: “You have to provide three times the performance or be a third of the price,” to vie for a slice of the pie, he says. “For someone else to compete against us, it’s hard to do three times the performance or at a lower cost than ours.”

Keep Watching: This spring, the Golden-based biz launched Wowza Cloud. Within four weeks of going live, there were more than 1 million concurrent videos. Additional features will go live in the future.

Wayin

Denver – wayin.com – Founded: 2010

Wayin originally intended to be a social site where users could post queries and vote on responses –  something akin to Quora. One strategic pivot later, amid the growing use of social media for marketing, Wayin’s self-description has turned to a “social intelligence and visualization company that integrates social content into new experiences for consumers and delivers greater value and control for brands.”

This means Wayin harvests what consumers say about brands on social sites – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. – in real-time. Customers of this service include Dunkin’ Donuts and the Denver Broncos, among many others.

Wayin has received roughly $33 million in venture funding from U.S. Venture Partners and law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati. In May, Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun Microsystems, took the chief executive position at the social media startup he founded five years ago.

Worth watching: Wayin is working on:

  • Gaining access to additional data sources, increasing the pool from which its team can create compelling content
  • Finding more ways to cut and slice the data to find trends and then measure the results
  • Sharing the content in more innovative ways

Levels Beyond

Denver – reachengine.com – Founded: 2001

As media consumption has converted and video has become a dominant content form, consumer usage has exploded across platforms, and most media, sports organizations and corporations were ill-prepared. Bringing the power of big data to video producers, Levels Beyond has responded developing a new-generation platform to stream- line the content cycle from creation through delivery.

The big media and sports players moved first – with Reach Engine, Levels Beyond’s flagship software platform powering 30 of the largest studios, networks and broadcasters, 10 of the largest sports leagues and more than 20 of the world’s largest brands and agencies. The Reach Engine platform handles more than 1 million hours of video for company customers, making it the media industry standard. It partners with more than 60 major entities such as The New York Times and the Sundance Film Festival, as well as corporate clients, including Nascar, the National Hockey League, four major broadcast networks and 30 Fortune 500 companies. Reach Engine also provides detailed analytics and workflow management that can be used during and following production and distribution, a crucial component of today’s ever-accelerating TV industry. The company has jumped from eight to 70 full-time employees in just four years.

KEEP WATCHING: The Colorado-grown team is expanding product capabilities to manage all business processes from the cloud infrastructure, focusing on tools that improve the cycle of communication to consumers.

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Gigi Sukin

Gigi Sukin is digital editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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