The youngins’ — 10 creative companies that are shiny and new.
NO. 1 FIBERFIX
Founded 2012 City Pleasant Grove Employees 30 Industry Retail Website www.fiberfix.com Founders Eric Child, 42; Derek Rowley, 25; Reed Quinn, 34; Chris Quinn, 25; Spencer Quinn, 25
The Company A manufacturer and distributer of a rigid repair wrap.
Why It’s Watch Worthy This is a company with good fiber. After scoring a deal on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” the company has become as strong as its tape. FiberFix is now sold in more than 30,000 retail locations worldwide (including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Ace Hardware, Walgreens, Sports Authority), is distributed in more than a dozen countries, employs 30 people, and has two offices in the U.S. and one in the Philippines.
The Big Break “Appearing on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank.’”
Best Moment Ever “When we bought our first office fridge.”
Hardest Moment Ever “When we took the fridge back a week later because all the ice cream was melted.”
Best Bootstrapping Moment “The ceiling in our first conference room was too low to stand up straight in.”
Coolest Company Tradition “Shooting stuff and grilling meat in the parking lot.”
Culture In Three Words “Frugal. (Why waste three words?)”
The Advice “Don’t let the lack of funds stop you.”
Ultimate Dream “World domination.”
NO. 2 ALTERRA
Founded 2012 City Provo Employees 1,024 Industry Environmental services
Founder David Royce, 37
The Company A provider of environmentally responsible residential and commercial pest solutions.
Why It’s Watch Worthy Let us count the ways …
1) In two short years, they’ve become a multimillion-dollar force in the pest control world. 2) They sell pest solutions to more than 920 cities nationwide.
3) They have more than a thousand employees.
4) Alterra is a member of the EPA’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship program. 5) They’ve partnered with Nothing But Nets and donate a portion of their proceeds to help stop the spread of Malaria.
The Big Break “Finding the right people who share our core values. Doing so helps us create the right culture — and everything else takes care of itself.”
Best Moment Ever “This May when we reached a thousand-plus jobs in a sluggish economy. It’s an incredible feeling.”
Hardest Moment Ever “Selling my previous company in order to build an even better one.”
Best Bootstrapping Moment “Agreeing to take a $1 annual salary as CEO during Alterra’s beginning years.”
Coolest Company Tradition “Jeeping in Moab with our management teams.”
Culture In Three Words “Happy. Passionate. Honest.”
Best Thing About Being A Startup “So many opportunities for team members to grow and move up quickly in management.”
Worst Thing About Being A Startup “All-nighters to meet project deadlines.”
The Advice “Pay your customers and employees to tell you how to improve the company. If you are not receiving feedback from your front-line employees and customers, then you are dying.”
In 2020 “Our No. 1 focus is to always improve ourselves and our culture. By 2020, we’ll be the largest privately held pest control provider in the U.S., having expanded to 50-plus metropolitan areas.”
NO. 3 QZZR
Founded 2013 City Lehi Employees 8 Industry Online marketing Website www.qzzr.co Founder Josh Little, 39
The Company Creator of an online quiz tool that allows anyone to create fun, engaging quizzes in minutes and share them on the web.
Why It’s Watch Worthy What kind of Disney princess are you? Qzzr knows. It’s the tough questions like these that have companies like ESPN, CBS, IBM, Yahoo!, Mashable, Yelp, Reddit and KSL begging this Lehi company for more.
The Big Break “KSL was really helpful. They’ve launched more than 30 quizzes with us, and when they launched their first quiz, more than 120,000 people took it. It proved we have something here.”
Best Moment Ever “The number of enterprise deals we closed in the first week.”
Best Bootstrapping Moment “We clean our own office.”
Coolest Company Tradition “We have a weekly Space Invaders competition.”
Corporate Culture “Results only.”
The Advice “Pay your dues and work hard.”
In 2020 “We’ll have long been acquired by Google, Salesforce or HubSpot. I’m not sure if that’s the answer you want to hear … but it’s the truth.”
NO. 4 APIARY FUND
Founded 2011 City Lindon Employees 36 Industry Financial Website www.apiaryfund.com Founder Shawn Lucas, 40
The Company A proprietary trading firm that offers investment education through “crowdsourced money management.”
Why It’s Watch Worthy With a program that teaches the average Joe how to trade, Apiary Fund has leveled the playing field of investing. In the company’s first year of business, it registered 100 traders and gained more than 900 participants. Today? It’s processed more than $1 billion in trading volume.
Best Moment Ever “When the fund surpassed $1 billion in trading volume. It is a tremendous milestone for our clients, who are relatively inexperienced traders, to process that many trades in less than a year. Some professional funds are hard pressed to hit those kind of numbers!”
Best Bootstrapping Moment “Two or three times a year we hold a summit where our clients come from all over the globe to learn from each other and trade. Our first summit was over budget. We were supposed to have a working lunch so our clients could catch their flights home, but catering costs were outrageous. That night we were trying to figure out a cheaper solution when someone had a brilliant idea: Have a trading challenge and use the profits to pay for lunch. Duh! We’re an investment company. What better way to embed the concept of investing for a living in our clients’ minds — and bootstrap lunch at the same time! We ate well the next day.”
Coolest Company Tradition “An ‘Apiary’ is a colony of bees, and we actually keep an apiary at our office. Any honey produced in our apiary is bottled and shipped to clients who do something exemplary — sharing a tip in our forum, helping another trader or even improving their stats. The jar of honey has become such an icon in our company culture that sometimes we wonder if the honey means more to our clients than their profit-sharing checks!”
Culture in Three Words “Invest. Grow. Share.”
Best Thing About Being A Startup “The ability to make mistakes in obscurity.”
Worst Thing About Being A Startup “Trying to get out of obscurity.”
The Advice “Understand your purpose. Figure out how to communicate it successfully. Find people who share your passion to work tirelessly building it.”
In 2020 “If trends continue, we could have more than 5,000 fund managers in 2020 — that’s bigger than most Chicago or New York hedge funds.”
NO. 5 FORGE COMPANIES
Founded 2013 City Lehi Employees 4 Industry Real Estate Development Website www.forgecompanies.com Founder Ryan L. Freeman, 38
The Company A boutique real estate development company focused on high-quality, urban projects that transform and inspire through architecture.
Why It’s Watch Worthy Forge Companies is developing a legacy. With mixed-use development projects like “63 Center” and “Eighty East” in Downtown Provo, Traverse Medical Center in Lehi, and a joint venture to revitalize and renovate the Provo Community Church (which will serve as a replacement community venue following the loss of the Provo Tabernacle), this company is building up Utah Valley.
The Big Break “Being awarded the 63 Center project by the city of Provo. We were new kids on the block and were going up against other seasoned developers in an RFP process. However, the city caught the vision and chose our plan to develop the property. Since then, Forge has maintained a great relationship with Mayor John Curtis, Paul Glauser and other city officials and is doing many other projects as a result of this synergistic relationship.”
Best Moment Ever “Meeting with the Provo Congregational Church leadership and congregation to find out that Forge was officially given the opportunity to restore their iconic building and develop a project on the surrounding property. This building was quickly deteriorating and falling apart physically and financially. We are incredibly honored to be awarded the project. At this meeting, there were tears, hugs and lots of excitement for the future. It was one of the most touching moments of my career.”
Hardest Moment Ever “An ugly business relationship issue I had early on. It was a horrible experience. But just like any hard moment, the lessons I learned were invaluable. Life is too short to be driven by the wrong things.”
Culture In Three Words “Envision. Design. Inspire.”
Best Thing About Being A Startup “The excitement and energy of a new venture.”
Worst Thing About Being A Startup “The worst is also the most gratifying — proving yourself.”
The Advice “Employ people and partner with those who believe what you believe. Do not be driven by financial gain. Those who focus on their pride or money will quickly find themselves failing and unfulfilled.”
In 2020 “I see Forge being the premier real estate development company in the state with a number of landmark projects that will serve as city icons.”
NO. 6 DARK ENERGY
Founded 2013 City Provo Employees 10 Industry Consumer Electronics Website www.darkenergy.com Founders Garrett Aida, 26; William Lam, 26
The Company A designer and engineer of premium power products.
Why It’s Watch Worthy Phone batteries that die are so 2012. Dark Energy’s premier product is a portable charger that can keep your phone charged for nearly a week (it can also charge any USB-connected device). What’s more, the company powered up with a vote of confidence from the public — its 2013 Kickstarter campaign raised $173,612 of its $100,000 goal.
The Big Break “The first article written about us on Mashable.com during our Kickstarter campaign.”
Best Bootstrapping Moment “Buying $10 monitors and $2 cables from D.I.”
Best Moment Ever “Our team-building exercise where we carried a fully clothed associate across a pool over our heads — then accidentally dropped him.”
Hardest Moment Ever “Dropping out of college to start Dark Energy.”
Culture In Three Words “Dynamic. Fast. Fun.”
Best Thing About Being A Startup “You get to live your dream every day.”
Worst Thing About Being A Startup “You face potential annihilation every day.”
The Advice “Don’t compete to exist. Compete to win.”
In 2020 “We’ll have global distribution, an incredible patent portfolio and employ the best people in the world.”
NO. 7 iQUE REPAIR
Founded 2011 City American Fork Employees 25 Industry Consumer electronic repair and services Website www.iquerepair.com
Founder KC Kelly, 25
The Company A provider of same-day, affordable repairs on Apple products as well as top-of-the-line accessories.
Why It’s Watch Worthy Talk about the Apple of the repair world’s eye. iQue Repair has built strong partnerships with corporations, schools and businesses while providing speedy service to the retail world on products from one of the most popular companies of all time.
The Big Break “When I sold more than $1 million worth of product to one client.”
Best Moment Ever “Seeing my friends be able to have kids under our insurance plans and provide jobs for those I care about most.”
Hardest Moment Ever “Having to lean down operations when we had outgrown our cashflow for a season.”
Best Bootstrapping Moment “When I used $10,000 from a college supplemental tuition loan to open our first store and made $10,000 within the first 30 days!”
Coolest Company Tradition “Having breakfast together before major meetings.”
Culture In Three Words “Friends making money.”
Best Thing About Being A Startup “We are agile and can make quick decisions.”
Worst Thing About Being A Startup “Cashflow can be difficult.”
The Advice “Know your numbers and keep it simple. Focus is key. Chase two chickens, catch none …”
In 2020 “I’d love to see us doing $100 million annually and kicking off $20 to $30 million yearly net profits.”
NO. 8 3DPLUSME
Founded 2012 City Pleasant Grove Employees 15 Industry Technology/3D printing Website www.3Dplus.Me Founders Cydni Tetro, 40; Chris Knudsen, 40
The Company Provider of a personalized merchandising 3D printing platform that makes fans part of the story by helping them become their favorite characters.
Why It’s Watch Worthy MLB. MLS. Warner Brothers. Marvel. These titans have all partnered with 3DPlusMe, creator of the first personalized merchandising platform for 3D printing. Moreover, its founders are Cydni Tetro and Chris Knudsen — two Utah entrepreneurs who’ve made a living being in good company.
The Big Break “Closing the license deal with Marvel for personalized 3D printed characters, which was followed by deals with MLB, MLS, Warner Brothers and Ubisoft for Assassin’s Creed. And becoming a strategic partner with 3D Systems.”
Best Moment Ever “Every time a fan sees themselves as their hero, they feel empowered to become part of their favorite stories. It is really cool to be a part of that.”
Hardest Moment Ever “Raising capital.”
Best Bootstrapping Moment “Closing all of our license contracts before we closed a seed round.”
Coolest Company Tradition “Attending amazing shows with the biggest brands in the world.”
Culture In Three Words “Make it happen.”
Best Thing About Being A Startup “A team of smart people, executing well and creating amazing company opportunities.”
Worst Thing About Being A Startup “Not having the same capital resources as big companies.”
The Advice “If you find a way to participate in one of the big waves of technology and innovation, go for it. We are part of the 3D printing world, which is exploding, and because of that all sorts of great opportunities are available.”
In 2020 “We’ll be creating the next new wave of innovation for brands that intersects with technology.”
NO. 9 OUTBOX SYSTEMS
Founded 2013 City Provo Employees 33 Industry Cloud integrations/software Website www.outboxsystems.com Founder Isaac Westwood, 27; Ryan Westwood, 31
The Company An SaaS consulting and development firm that helps businesses innovate, integrate and incorporate cloud solutions.
Why It’s Watch Worthy With out-of-the-box clients (Disney, REI, ABC, Adobe, Nike, ESPN) and out-of-the-box partnerships (AtTask, Salesforce.com and Insidesales.com), Outbox Systems has its head in the cloud (in the awesome kind of way).
The Big Break “When a few of our key executive team members decided to drop their cushy corporate jobs and join our rocket ship.”
Best Moment Ever “Hasn’t happened yet.”
Hardest Moment Ever “The day-to-day struggle of growth pains, wearing multiple hats and keeping up with a fast-paced industry.”
Best Bootstrapping Moment “1) Shower panels=whiteboards. 2) When an Internet café says you have to buy a drink to get the Wi-Fi code and ‘tap water on ice’ doesn’t count. 3) Cereal bar=company cafeteria. 4) College dorm room furniture=‘new’ company furnishings. 5) Option 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the phone system all go to the president.”
Coolest Company Tradition “Cats@outboxsystems.com. It’s our company email group that forwards and shares favorite cat videos and gifs with each other.”
Culture In Three Words “It isn’t corporate.”
Best Thing About Being A Startup “The constant adrenaline rush.”
Worst Thing About Being A Startup “The premature aging and shortened lifespan.”
The Advice “Find your channel to the market, the rest will follow.”
In 2020 “We’ll be ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.”
NO. 10 LAVAWIRE
Founded 2012 City American Fork Employees 11 Industry Internet marketing Website www.lavawire.com Founders Joe Jackson, 40; Zach Richardson, 30
The Company A social media marketing training company.
Why It’s Watch Worthy With clients like Toyota, Visa, Nestle, Jamba Juice, Gold’s Gym as well as small businesses across the country, Lavawire is perfecting companies’ social media conversation. #WorkIt
The Big Break “It’s been a series of little breaks that has given us the desire to press on and think bigger. We are grateful to anyone who has ever paid for our service.”
Best Moment Ever “Realizing you have taken your business from a concept to something tangible that people are willing to pay for every day. Walking into the bank with a check from a client who loves what we do for them is an awesome feeling!”
Hardest Moment Ever “Starting and pushing through each day during the concept building phase — when you have pretty much everything on the line and you know you’re not getting paid. You find out what you’re made of and what you believe in — and hopefully you like what you find.”
Coolest Company Tradition “In our office we have a signing wall that all our employees, partners, clients and visitors sign. People write their names, favorite quotes, draw pictures, etc.”
Culture In Three Words “Passionate. Collaborative. Creative.”
Best Thing About Being A Startup “The ability to make business changes quickly.”
Worst Thing About Being A Startup “Waiting for things to get done.”
The Advice “Dream big. Do bigger.”
In 2020 “We’ll continue to empower small and large businesses through awesome social training and marketing strategies. We’d love to achieve an acquisition by 2020 and have at least 30 employees.”
The Startups to Watch list was selected from a pool of applicants that have less than three years of operating history. The winners were determined by BusinessQ’s editorial board.