At a glance: Oh, baby! These 10 youthful companies are at the start of stardom thanks to their grit, game and gumption. Now read on and startup your engines.
City Provo Founded 2013 Employees 10 Industry Biotechnology Website Curza.com Founder Ryan Davies, 44 The Company A drug development company developing novel therapeutics to combat the growing global threat posed by antibiotic resistant infections, particularly Gram-negative bacteria.
#GOALS Curza is a literal life-changer. It has developed three new classes of drugs: two new classes of antibiotics and one new oncology drug focused on breast cancer. Curza has been featured on Bloomberg TV, Fox Business News and CNN. It’s in negotiations with several large pharmaceutical companies interested in licensing/purchasing portions of its technology. And it’s received millions of dollars in grant money from NIH, NIAID, DOD and other organizations.
#SQUADGOALS “We work hard and have tons of moxie. The team knows how to stretch a dollar and leverage what we have to create more,“ Davies says.
#BESTMOMENT “Getting our first term sheet from a large pharma company ranks pretty high.”
#PROUD “Having confirmation that our compounds work and have the potential to change the world (in some small way).”
THE FINE PRINT: The Startups to Watch list was selected from a pool of applicants with less than three years of operating history. The winners were determined by BusinessQ’s editorial board.
“Work hard. Work smart. Do good work.” —Ryan Davies // No. 1 Curza
NO.2 FOXTAIL MARKETING
City American Fork Founded 2014 Employees 53 Industry Marketing Website FoxtailMarketing.com Founder Mike Templeman, 33 The Company A holistic digital marketing agency focused on driving ROI for businesses.
#GOALS What a fox. This marketing maven has had 5,000% growth in less than three years. It’s been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur and Business Insider. It was a Peak Award winner in 2014 and 2015. And it has offices in Utah, New York City, Los Angeles, Canada, London and Australia.
#CULTUREGOALS “Our culture is derived from four qualities that hang on our wall: Quality, Collaboration, Accountability and Trust,” Templeman says. “You spend more time at the office than anywhere else in your life. I want to make sure people love what they do and are proud to tell people about it.”
#ADVICE “Do something you love, because running a business can downright suck sometimes. Before you know it you’ll be pulled into doing everything you don’t like (taxes, legal stuff, HR stuff) and if you don’t have that passion to fall back on, you’re toast.”
“Praying there is enough money in the bank when you refresh Quickbooks. That’s a strategy, right?” —Mike Templeman // No. 2 Foxtail Marketing
NO.3 SPARK INNOVATION
City American Fork Founded 2014 Employees 54 Industry Consumer products Website SparkInnovation.net Founder Eric Child, 44 The Company A developer and launcher of innovative consumer products and brands into national retail markets. Some are products of their own, some are from outside inventors.
#GOALS Spark Innovation comes from good FiberFix. After successfully launching their He-Man-like tape internationally, the founders nailed down a winning launch formula and created Spark. To date, it has successfully launched six retail brands — with each securing national rollouts in large retailers — and has products in more than 50,000 retail locations worldwide.
#SQUADGOALS “We’d like to see each of our young stars become successful entrepreneurs themselves down the road,” Child says.
#ULTIMATEGOAL “We’ll be the Novell of consumer products for Utah — the company that laid the foundation for an entire local industry.”
#ADVICE “Get to market as fast as you can. Don’t wait for your product to be perfect — it never will be.”
City Provo Founded 2014 Employees 60 Industry Software Website Grow.com Founder Rob Nelson, 36 The Company Empowering small- and medium-sized businesses to become truly data-driven and accelerate growth by aligning team objectives and inspiring strategic decisions.
#GOALS Grow is growing. It has more than 500 customers (including the local likes of Chatbooks and Social Dental), its revenue has increased 37 percent month-over-month, and it has raised $11 million with Series A funding led by Toba Capital. Moreover, Vinny Smith (billionaire software veteran and founder of Toba Capital) has joined Grow’s board of directors.
#SQUADGOALS “We’re scrappy and entrepreneurial,” Nelson says. “One example of this is when Linda, our product and QA manager, overheard people complaining about our office windows getting dirty with water spots. Next thing we know, she’s outside on a ladder washing our windows with supplies she grabbed from home. It was awesome. She saw a need and filled it, even though it wasn’t her job. That’s the culture of Grow, so we call one of our core company values ‘Wash the Windows.’”
#ADVICE “DON’T RUN OUT OF CASH. Obsessing over product-market fit is the best way to avoid that. Also, get everyone working in one room. It kills me to see a startup with a CEO working in a separate office. The odds are stacked against you in a startup — don’t add to that stack by breaking your team up.”
“You know you’re a startup if you get repeatedly punched in the face by customers early on —and still keep fighting.” —Rob Nelson // No. 4 Grow
NO.5 NUMBER 04
City Provo Founded 2015 Employees 16 Industry Design Website Number04.com Founders JP Haynie, 30; Chris Mann, 31; Cory Sistrunk, 32; Davis Ngarupe, 34 The Company A design firm that helps companies with branding at every stage — printed matter, brand identity, websites, exhibitions, retail environments and art direction for photography, film, architecture and interiors.
#GOALS Number 04 is BusinessQ’s No. 5. (That’s not confusing at all, right?) Founded by four designers who have worked on projects for the likes of Vivint, Google and Adobe, this full-service design firm values the unique.
#SQUADGOALS “We hire people who are self-motivated. There isn’t room here for people who aren’t invested in our clients and in the company. Everyone is so talented. Which is good, because we have the highest of expectations.”
#ADVICE “The money only gets you so far. There has to be something else that drives you. Believe in something.”
#ULTIMATEGOAL “We want to contribute to the visual landscape. When you see architecture and landmarks, there’s a beauty and permanence to it. And graphic design is the same way.”
NO.6 DISRUPTIVE ADVERTISING
City Lindon Founded 2013 Employees 50 Industry Marketing Website DisruptiveAdvertising.com Founder Jacob Baadsgaard, 31 The Company A specialized digital marketing agency that helps businesses set up and use analytics effectively to make smart marketing decisions that drive profitable revenue through platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook.
#GOALS Disruptive Advertising is beautifully disrupting its market. It’s gone from $0 to $6 million in revenue in less than three years — with zero funding or debt. It has 50 employees and has serviced more than 750 businesses to date.
#SQUADGOALS “Results first, then we celebrate victories,” Baadsgaard says.
#PROUDMOMENT “Five companies we’ve helped scale were bought and the owners had great exits.”
#ADVICE “Stay focused. Every challenge is an opportunity for you to do what most others are not willing to do. Rise up and recognize challenges for the opportunities they really are and stand out from the crowd.”
#ULTIMATEGOAL “$100 million in revenue.”
#ADVICE “Build an amazing team, win with innovation, and have a hyper-focus on delivering value for your customers.”
“You know you’re a startup if you live in constant chaos … and love it.” —Jacob Baadsgaard // No. 6 Disruptive Advertising
City American Fork Founded 2014 Employees 15 Industry Software Website ClientSuccess.com Founder Dave Blake, 43 The Company A software company changing the way SaaS companies manage, retain and grow their existing customer base.
#GOALS Success is just the name of the game. This startup comes from good stock (founder Dave Blake led teams at both Omniture and Adobe). Company partners include Peak Ventures, Techstars, Seven Peaks Ventures, Josh James, Scott Dorsey and others. And its accolades include 2016 CODiE Award Winner and 2015 Red Herring Award Winner.
#SQUADGOALS “I love the unwavering optimism and intensely loyal commitment to each other and our customers,” Blake says. “We win as a team, we lose as a team, and we learn as a team.”
#BOOTSTRAPPING “Stay scrappy on everything but things that benefit your employees or deliver a better experience for your customers.”
#FUNFACT “In the early stages of our company, we didn’t have an office, so we started to meet at a local Harmons grocery store for team meetings. We moved the tables, setup laptops and monitors and worked at Harmons everyday for several weeks. One of our employees joked with his wife that he was always destined to work at a grocery store — and that finally came true.”
“We win as a team. We lose as a team. We learn as a team.” —Dave Blake // No. 7 ClientSuccess
NO.8 FUZE INTERACTIVE
City Provo + Salt Lake City Founded 2015 Employees 4 Industry Education technology Website FuzePlay.io Founders Kristy Sevy, 31; Kyle Muir, 34 The Company A S.T.E.A.M. company that brings together real technology and hands-on play for kids through hackable toys.
#GOALS Fuze is on fire. They raised a pre-seed of $100k, put together a best-in-class team, launched a Kickstarter September 2016, created the hackable toy ZUBI Flyer, and employ a passion for kids’ tech education that is lit.
#SQUADGOALS “I love the diversity and unique talent each member brings to the table,” Sevy says. “From a mom, to an experienced businessman, to a grandpa, to a savvy Manhattan designer — we all come from varied backgrounds.”
#BOOTSTRAPPING “Fail cheap and fast has always been a rule of thumb. It is a scalable management principle.”
#ADVICE “Ideas should be validated. Products are to be designed. Teams must be built. Value your team, because people aren’t always replaceable. Execution is a qualifier. And make sure your family is on-board, because startup life is all-consuming.”
#ULTIMATEGOAL“We want to change how kids learn and lead the connected play revolution.”
City Lehi Founded 2014 Employees 4 Industry Marketing Website B2Linked.com Founder AJ Wilcox, 32 The Company An advertising agency specializing in using LinkedIn’s advertising platform to generate highly qualified leads for B2B companies, and candidates for B2C companies.
#GOALS B2Linked is the only agency worldwide whose sole focus is LinkedIn ads — and it’s adding up. They run the world’s top LinkedIn ad accounts and are even LinkedIn’s unofficial black-ops team for tough advertising questions.
#SQUADGOALS “I love that the team is small, so we know what’s going on with each other,” Wilcox says. “I love that I can reward my team for going above and beyond, because in most companies, those extra efforts go unnoticed. We’ve got a culture of trust, transparency, and freedom. Trust in each other is how we delegate. We have transparency between each other and with our clients. And we have freedom from rigid time constraints or location.”
#BESTMOMENT “When we realized that such a niche offering was actually going to work! As soon as clients started coming on in numbers that surpassed my expectations, there was a burden lifted off of my shoulders. We had a real business.”
#FUNFACT The company car is a gokart.
“Specialize. The riches are in the niches.” –AJ Wilcox // No. 9 B2Linked
City American Fork Founded 2014 Employees 6 Industry Software/hiring Website ZenApply.com Founder Rick Fowler, 50 The Company A software company that leverages videos and images to help companies with application and hiring processes.
#GOALS ZenApply is on the job. With new technology like Jobstagrams (a referral service based on text messaging) and clients like Solutionreach, Chatbooks and Zupas, this startup is headed for hire things.
#SQUADGOALS “The best aspects of our team are the energy and love,” Fowler says. “There is a lot of sincerity and passion with our little team. Everybody brings a degree of competency that is fun to surround yourself with.”
#BOOTSTRAPPING “The best bootstrapping strategies are interns and paper towels. We use them for everything, even notebooks.”
#ADVICE “You can have the best product in the world, but if you don’t have strong leadership in sales, you will never validate your product in real-world applications.”
#ULTIMATEGOAL “To change the way people think about hiring. We want businesses to understand that people are their most important commodities.”
THE FINE PRINT: The Fastest-Growing Companies list is selected from a group of applicants and ranked based on a percentage growth over the three-year period from 2012-2015. The base year must have a revenue of at least $100,000. Companies must be headquartered in Utah Valley to qualify. If corporate headquarters are outside of the county, only sales of its Utah Valley location(s) are eligible. Companies in a franchise model are measured by sales from their corporate-owned stores along with royalty revenues from their franchisees. The revenue figures have been verified by BusinessQ. We disclaim any responsibility for companies that did not apply.