I read Startup Communities by Brad Feld a few months ago. I found it to be interesting even for me–someone who is only on the periphery of the VC/startup community in Boulder. I especially enjoyed his first chapter, where he examined the startup history of Boulder, from StorageTek to Celestial Seasonings.
I cut my teeth working as an employee of a startup in Boulder, XOR. We were a consulting company, and I was able to watch, fresh out of college and wet behind the ears, as we went from a small profitable company of 60 to a VC funded agglomeration of 500 employees spread across the country, and through some of the layoffs and consolidation.
I was talking to another XOR employee who co-founded the company I currently work for about companies that spun out of XOR, and thought it’d be fun to collect a list.
To make this list, you have to meet the following criteria:
- founded by someone who worked at XOR
- had at least one employee or two founders–I started a sole proprietorship myself, but it is hard to distinguish between freelancing (which is hard, but not as hard as a company) and a one person company
To make the list, a company does not have to still be alive nor profitable–I’m interested in the failures as well as the successes. In addition, it doesn’t matter if the founding happened a few years or jobs after the person worked at XOR–again, I’m interested in lineage, not in direct causation.
Here are the companies I know (including XOR founders where known–there may have been other founders not listed). In no particular order…
- Adigio: Dion Almaer and Kris Thompson
- Applied Trust: Ned McClain and Trent Hein
- 6 Kites: Herb Morreale
- NewGuard: Ray Thompson and Dean Rizzuto
- Kalos Strategy: Herb Morreale
- Inversoft: Brian Pontarelli
- 8z Real Estate: Anthony Francavilla and Lane Hornung
- Culture Foundry: Hans Bjordahl and Trevor Dodd
- Twomile Information Services: Corey Snipes
- Zia Consulting: Mike Mahon, Jeff Barry, Pat Myers
- Adeptive Software: Bryan Buus, Herb Morreale, Trent Hein
- Cry Baby Design: Erika Hutchings
- Alpha Cube Designs: Pawan Vora
- Inovdesigns: Bill Pawlak
- HungryMind: Jeff Lindermeier and Hank Pantier
- Spotlight Inc: Chris Smaldone
- Clearwater Solutions: David Skinner, Ken Keelan
- End To End Solutions: Jeff Stewart
- Set Direction: Dion Almaer
- 303Cycling: Kris Thompson, David Kutcipal
- Loon Lake Investments: Herb Morreale
- Topplers: Herb Morreale
- Triple Threat Digital: Elisabeth Bowman
- On & On Creative (now Commerce Kitchen): Stacia Synnestvedt
- Brain Buddy: David Skinner
- Axion Health: David Skinner
- CarbonLogic: Chris Bianco
- Smart Search Marketing: Patricia Hursh
If you know one that is not listed, please contact me and I’ll add your suggestion.
Hi Dan! Fun list! I’m wondering if the company I started counts? I founded a print and web design firm called On & On Creative with a partner (Tynan Szvetecz) in 2002 and when I left in 2006 we had 3 contract employees. It has since morphed into a company called Commerce Kitchen. 🙂
Chris Bianco: CarbonLogic, Inc
Stacia, of course! I will add it.
Thanks Jim. I’ve reached out to Chris a couple of times, because I’m not sure if he has (or had) employees or co-founders, but I haven’t heard back from him.
Excellent post. XOR was my first out of college professional job as well. There was definitely a sense of working with creative, energetic people who were excited about the technology they were working with and wanted to share their ideas it with their coworkers. Although, I haven’t started my own company, I do think the experience affected my career in a way that I don’t think would have occurred if I started at a different place.
Not all companies are created equal and I feel very strongly now that the strength of the company is in the quality of the people it employs.
It was fun to look over the list.. Nice initiative Dan. It has a lot of names that I haven’t heard in a long time. Hope everyone, on this list or not, is doing well.