Colorado Companies to Watch Class of 2010: Funovation

Erick Mueller measures his company’s growth in grins: 16 million and counting, a 350 percent increase since Funovation was named a Colorado Company to Watch in 2010.

One play of its patented Laser Maze Challenge equals one smile, Mueller explains. A smile counter on the company website tracks its global happiness impact – which is, of course, directly related to its bottom line.

“We’re successful when our customers are successful,” says Mueller, who founded the Longmont-based company in 2007 and now serves as chairman and vice president of sales and marketing. “Our team is available to make sure our customer’s maze is up and running, creating smiles and making money at all times. We’ll even help our customers hire staff.”

Speaking of hiring: Funovation’s work force has increased by 60 percent since 2010 to keep up with a 245 percent increase in installations of its patented Laser Maze Challenge around the world.

“Our biggest challenge has been scaling our business in the best way,” Mueller says. “We’ve overcome this by always focusing on delighting our customers and growing our business around that. Specifically, we’ve stayed focused on building our team of Funovators with exceptional talent who buy into our vision of reminding the world to play.”

Being named a Colorado Company to Watch has helped attract that talent, Mueller says, along with increasing the company’s profile and credibility with customers.

“It was a great win for us to celebrate the value that we had created from just three guys sitting around a table with an idea to generate millions in revenue and locations around the world,” he says.

One key to the company’s success: Taking fun – but not themselves – very seriously. So product development becomes “our Fungineering team playing in the sandbox.” And Friday afternoon might find the Funovators pelting each other with Nerf balls or opening the office Laser Maze to school kids or youth groups.

As for the future: more mazes, more countries, more profit – and tons more fun.

“In 2010, we created one smile every 8.7 seconds. Today, we create a smile somewhere in 20 countries around the world every 4.9 seconds,” Mueller says. “We’re really excited to progress in our goal of creating one smile per second.”