Colorado Companies to Watch 2019: The Techies
This state is beaming with innovative tech companies
When AirDNA launched four years ago, no other company was using data to provide insights about short-term rentals. AirDNA stepped into that void and now offers data and market insights to support the short-term rental industry, hoteliers, government organizations, real estate investors and vacation rental managers.
The company’s MarketMinder software, launched in 2017, has allowed nearly 120,000 users to explore the performance of specific neighborhoods and vacation rental properties to understand trends and outperform their competition in more than 80,000 cities worldwide.
The company values — be hungry, be happy, be honest — are reflected in the way AirDNA team members interact with each other and how they build their product.
“Our team is hungry to innovate and build technology that’s entirely new to the short-term rental space,” founder and CEO Scott Shatford says. “This company value has helped us attract and retain top data scientists and engineers who are excited to tackle difficult, interesting challenges that no other company is taking on.”
Happiness comes from balancing work and personal life by allowing employees to work remotely when they need to. Honesty is key between employees and in the presentation of AirDNA data, Shatford says.
“In everything we do, we aim to be as honest as possible with what we’re presenting so that customers and the industry at large are always getting accurate, reliable insights about the short-term rental market.”
Founded in 2000, Dataman helps streamline organizations and increase efficiency through a variety of technical innovations.
“Our team has an ability to see business through a technology lens and provide an objective perspective that helps our clients achieve the greatest potential with their IT resources and investments,” the company says on its website.
Dataman fosters a close, family-based work culture, and founder-CEO Nidhi Saxena directly mentors her team. Employees feel free to walk into her office to express opinions and offer solutions, resulting in high loyalty and low turnover.
The company believes giving back bolsters productivity: When employees see that the company gives back to society, they feel good working and produce superior results.
Dataman supports rural Colorado schools through volunteer work and financial contributions to technology, and Saxena has created a nonprofit foundation to support kids’ education worldwide. Dataman offers internships to CU Denver students and mentors business school students.
Dataman plans to expand to new locations and quadruple revenues by 2020.
“Over the recent years, we have seen our investment pay off as we have seen rapid growth in our contract base and our private sector network,” Saxena says. “We are in process of expanding into adjacent verticals, with a primary focus on growing our presence in health care.”
DSoft Technology, which specializes in custom software solutions and engineering services, knows that client expectations change as fast as technology does. That’s why DSoft’s team members consider themselves lifelong learners and innovators who assess, test, adopt and implement technologies for clients so they can effectively penetrate new markets and efficiently perform business functions.
“We don’t act like a small company,” President and CEO David Hollenbach says. “We’ve won significant new contracts by teaming with other Colorado-based companies to round out technology services for our clients nationwide.”
For example, DSoft’s custom software solutions, combined with a Castle Rock firm’s emergency management expertise, brought new innovative wildfire situational awareness and decision support system capabilities to the Idaho National Interagency Fire Center. These tools were essential to managing California and Colorado wildfires last year.
Basketball fan Hollenbach, inspired by Patrick Lencioni’s 2016 bestseller, “The Ideal Team Player,” adapted the virtues of hungry, humble and people-smart by adding integrity as a critical component. “We don’t refer to each other as employees but as teammates,” he says. “Cohesion rests on trust‚ knowing that your teammate will set a pick for you and pass the ball for team success, not individual recognition.”
Employees receive pay-for-performance bonuses and an Employee Stock Ownership Program, with the company contributing a portion of its annual profits to an account that generates supplemental retirement income for vested teammates.
A long-time strategic partner to the Springs Rescue Mission, which supports people fighting poverty, homelessness and substance addictions, DSoft donated more than 200 pounds of food and clothing in 2018, helping at least 1,260 people.
John Thies and his sister, Miki Klann, had no intention of starting a business. In 2009, they were self-employed and collaborating on a variety of web development projects. While doing email development, however, they found a problem in need of a solution: email rendering.
Email on Acid was born.
From process innovation, to product innovation, we strive to live up to our goal: to make it easy for email marketers and developers to perfect their emails and feel confident when they press send,” CEO Thies says. “At Email on Acid, we feel that both our people and our product differentiators have given us a competitive edge.
Company culture is top-of-mind, with the goal of maintaining a fun, open and honest environment where employees can feel free to express opinions and know their ideas matter. And despite its small size, the company gives back in big ways. Twice a year, the entire company participates in an off-site charitable give-back day for such nonprofits as Habitat for Humanity, Project CURE, Adopt-A-Family (Catholic Charities), as well as donation drives for local food banks, homeless shelters and community organizations.
“Email on Acid understands that there’s more to a business than revenue numbers,” Thies says. “At our core, we are working every day to make positive change, whether it’s addressing a need for our customers or giving back to our community.”
At the marketing automation company Net-Results, they strive to be masters of possibilities.
In our experience, when a team’s expertise is deep and communication is open, innovative solutions become an expected outcome,” CEO Michael Ward says. “Being masters of possibilities enables us to see many possible outcomes – for customers, for internal process challenges, for our platform and to optimize decisions with a higher degree of confidence.
Net-Results, which calls itself the “first choice of people buying marketing automation for the second time,” has more than 13,000 users on five continents. The company’s reputation for competent, timely support and all-inclusive pricing has given it a competitive edge.
The Net-Results vision, Ward says, is to “achieve our goals while living by the values that we believe in. To be the best, not the biggest. To live balanced lives on this journey together.
Net-Results has donated to Urban Peak and participated in auctions for KidsTek and other community-focused nonprofits. Under a new corporate social responsibility program, the company plans to partner with Uplift, the Denver Rescue Mission and Denver Clean Initiative.
A bunch of engineers and scientists founded and run the facial recognition company Rank One Computing, and it’s easy to get the impression that if not for the insistence of leadership, they’d all be working around the clock.
“We adamantly believe that a well-rested and happy employee is an effective and creative employee,” co-founder and CEO Brendan Klare says. “And despite a high degree of professional passion from our employees, we require that they take sufficient time off.”
Before founding Rank One, the team’s principals performed research on face recognition and image retrieval algorithms and applications in both academia and as contractors supporting various government agencies. Rank One’s engineering culture values product excellence and long-term customer satisfaction over quick sales, an attitude that has bolstered both its credibility and its bottom line.
Employees all have an ownership stake and say in where the company donates 1 percent of its profits each year. Rank One is highly selective when it comes to hiring to ensure that new employees have the right combination of aptitude and attitude.
“We are so protective of these traits in our team that in the past, we have not hired open job requisitions and instead pulled together as a team to cover those gaps,” Klare says. “The end result is a team of employees (who) all respect and enjoy each other’s company and are naturally motivated and inspired to share in our corporate goals.”
Simple Energy, the leading provider of utility-branded marketplaces and omni-channel instant rebates, has saved customers more than $250 million on their power bills — and enough energy to take a city the size of Philadelphia completely off the grid.
“Sustainability is at the core of our workplace culture. As a Certified B Corp. and a Public Benefit Corporation, we measure our impact not only on financial returns for shareholders, but also on the progress toward our stated purpose of creating a more sustainable future,” founder and CEO Yoav Lurie says.
The company serves more than have the top 20 utilities in North America – including Xcel Energy, Exelon, National Grid and Duke Energy – covering nearly 40 million households across 25 states and Canada.
“Our partners have become more agile, increasing their ability to adapt to both the shifting customer landscape and effects of climate change,” Lurie says. “Utilities now understand that their future profits will not come from power generation, but rather by providing a full suite of products and services to their customers‚ from home services to electric vehicle rates to solar power options.”
Simple Energy’s engaged, goal-oriented employees enjoy a flexible time-off policy that allows them to work within a schedule that motivates them. For many, this mean participating in volunteer activities weekly during the day, or taking time off for multi-day volunteer events for nonprofits including the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, Big City Mountaineers and the African Community Center tutor program, among others.
This article is part of the 2019 Colorado Companies to Watch. Read more about the other winners:
THE FIXERS | THE MAKERS & SUPPLIERS | THE HELPERS | THE COMMUNICATORS & EDUCATORS | THE FOODIES | THE ORGANIZERS