Posted: August 26, 2014
COCTW 2014: Technology & informationMike Taylor
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.
Mike Taylor is the managing editor of ColoradoBiz. He writes about small-business money issues and how startups are launched. Email him at email@example.com.