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Posts containing “new founders”:

New Founders Interview: Catapult Innovations

From the Beijing Olympics, to the English Premier League and the Australian Institute of Sport, Catapult Innovations is changing the way that athletes train with their new take on integrating athletic clothing with monitoring devices.  By tracking heart rate, reaction time, and GPS location, their groundbreaking software minimaxX helps athletic coaches more accurately target what is happening on the field at any given moment, and allows them to make changes to their strategy on the fly.

We are thrilled to help Catapult Innovations stay on point by keeping track of their time with Harvest in their various departments, such as Research and Development, sales, marketing, and management, so that they can get on with the business of keeping track of their athletes.  We wanted to know a bit more about how they’re knocking the ball out of the park in changing the face of sports, and here’s what we found.


How did Catapult Innovations get started?  How did you go from an idea to an actual business?

Catapult started with a research team working with the Australian Institute of Sport, on ways to make coaching more scientific, and more measurable. The team came up with some great ideas in wearable electronics, and spun out to form Catapult Innovations to explore the commercial potential of these ideas.  Initially, we started out as two engineers in some borrowed office space, and local government support and some great (and patient!) early customers helped us get going.

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New Founders Interview: Keen Guides

Keen Guides are bringing museums to life for groups who have traditionally been excluded from getting the full experience at cultural institutions: those with hearing and sight disabilities. Using hand held video devices like iPhones, they are making guided museum tours available in American Sign Language, cued speech and other formats to help people get the most out of their museum visits. We’re proud that Harvest is helping Keen Guides with their important mission, and here is the story of how they are making the world a better place on tour at a time.


Tell us how the idea for Keen Guides came about?

The Keen Guides idea came about when one of the Keen Guides members went into a museum and asked for an alternative to the tour, and got  a fifty-page transcript and an apology. We knew there was something better, and created a video version of the tour in sign language and took it to the museum the next day for an enjoyable, independent experience. This idea quickly ballooned into a product that everyone can use: kids, senior adults, tourists, and/or businessmen.

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Harvest New Founders Interview: Hashrocket

Hashrocket has emerged as one of the premier Ruby on Rails shops in the world in a very short period of time. They have developed a strict methodology that ensures every client is getting the best code possible in the least amount of time. We had a chance to speak with Hashrocket about how they came to be, how they’ve gotten so successful, their unique product offerings and where they are headed in the future.

How did Hashrocket start? More importantly, how have you managed to thrive and prosper as a company so quickly?

Obie, the Hashrocket head honcho, launched The Rails Way, and was looking for a way to capture the energy generated by the book.  He partnered up with his employer at the time, and presented his idea: a premium Ruby on Rails shop that was leveraging the years of XP and Agile experience that he and the rest of the team had. As a former member of ThoughtWorks, Obie built their Rails practice from the ground up, and wanted to use that experience to start his own company.

Obie enlisted the help of four developers and started Hashrocket. Success was immediate and explosive. We leveraged our connections to start solving the enviable problem of having too much success, and not enough capacity to handle it. Hashrocket experienced 400% growth in just a few months, and by November we realized that we needed to slow down and concentrate on our processes and making certain that we were reliably developing the best software possible.

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Harvest New Founders Interview: Wildfire Promotion Builder

Wildfire Promotion Builder is connecting businesses with the technical tools and know how they need to run successful contests in a wired world. Wildfire Promotion Builder allows user to create and monitor contests on their own websites and on all of the most popular social networking sites from one place. Their team is bringing sweepstakes and Web 2.0 together with smashing results. We had a chance to speak with founders Alain Chuard and Victoria Ransom about how to run a great contest and the reality of what you consume when getting a successful startup off the ground.

Contests and sweepstakes are nothing new. What does Wildfire Promotion Builder offer that puts a new twist on this old idea?

We add a new twist in two ways. We enable companies to run promotions, contests, sweepstakes, giveaways and coupons that are integrated with the viral features of social networks. Friend invites, activity streams and notifications are a far more powerful way to spread the word about a campaign than running it via a company website alone. Through social media, every person that enters your promotion, potentially scores of their social network friends will heard about it via friend invites, newsfeeds and other viral tools. Secondly, we provide a turn key solution for companies to create and manage interactive promotions both within social networks and on their websites. Instead of having to spend a great deal of time and money to create your own custom micro-site or social network application to run a promotion, you can create an account with us and follow six simple steps to have your own attractive, branded promotion up and running within minutes.

What value do you feel time tracking brings to the Wildfire Promotion Builder team? How has Harvest helped in this area?

We have a very global, dispersed team with members in a variety of different time zones and continents. Unlike teams where all people are located in the same office, it’s not easy for us to keep track of when people work and what they’re working on. Harvest makes this process seamless. It would be much harder to manage our team without it! On top of that we love the Harvest UI. It’s intuitive and beautiful!

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Harvest New Founders Interview: OpenFundraising

James Briggs and Tim Longfoot are the minds behind Open Fundraising. Inspired by recent successful fund raising campaigns conducted online, Open Fundraising is bringing good causes from around the world to the web to get the word out. They are providing tools, talent, techniques and ideas to help charities take advantage of technology.

Can you explain what Open Fundraising is for the un-initiated?

Essentially, we’re an agency that helps charities and not-for-profit organizations develop and implement their fundraising programmes. We work on strategy, positioning, creative work, data analysis and, very importantly, delivery. One of our key strategic goals is to involve corporations more in the way people support charities.
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Harvest New Founders Interview: Newism

Newism is a Newcastle, Australia based web design studio that is on the outer edges of new technology creation. This trio, composed of Wayde Christie, Leevi Graham and Anthony Short are heavily involved in the open source community and bring a knack for inspiring designs to all of their work. Newism has completed several high profile projects in just their first few months of operations, and are quickly building a reputation for putting out work that consistently exceeds expectations.

Many programmers start companies each year and it can often be a slow build, what do you think has made Newism successful right off the bat?

We’ve done a lot of ground work to get where we are. A lot of that time was spent contributing to the ExpressionEngine community by way of Leevi’s library of free extensions, and that goodwill has been transferred and associated with Newism right from our inception. We got involved, developed a reputation, and when the time came to launch there was an immediate buzz and we were able to hit the ground running.
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Harvest New Founders Interview: Cammaert&Eberhardt

Cammaert&Eberhardt is a design studio in Barcelona, Spain specializing in the editorial design of books and printed matter. Founded in 2008 by Juan Carlos Cammaert and Christine Eberhardt, they have already produced an impressive group of work. We here at Harvest are fans of C&E’s designs and are excited to have them in the Harvest New Founders Program. In an era where nearly everything is digital, online, and intangible it’s wonderful to meet talented and creative people making a classic medium more beautiful through art you can hold.

How and why did you start your own graphic design studio? And why books?

Christine and I were both working for third parties and on occasional freelance projects, but we were both a little tired of designing online graphics, which for us, had lost its motivation a bit. We had always liked working with typography and photography and the smell of freshly printed paper so decided to focus on publications and book design which gives us access to projects that are more exciting and with more rewarding results.

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New Founders Interview: Dr. Peter Morse

Dr. Peter Morse is a science-communicator, videographer, researcher and hi-tech visualization man who has made a career bringing unseen corners of the Earth to life on planetarium and video screens across the world. Peter has successfully made the jump from academia to a career in the private sector. He’s explored primitive life under the Antarctic seas, gotten friendly with ancient mummies and enjoys a good loaf of homemade bread. Peter is a man for all seasons, and he uses Harvest to keep his time and projects in balance.

After ten years of working in the academic world, why did you decide to venture out on your own?

I’d been working extensively with high-end computer visualization systems on a whole range of research projects: looking at how to visualise Antarctic data, working with century old stereoscopic glass-plate images, experimenting with game engines and virtual reality applications. It was a constant struggle to find research funds and time to work on these projects amidst the seemingly endless demands of teaching, applying for grants and often pointless administrative meetings. I had the horrible fear that I would wake up one day having become one of those academics who has worked in the same place for 20 years, become thoroughly institutionalized and done nothing else with their life. One of the paradoxes of academia is that you get older and older, but all your students stay the same age! The last straw for me was finding out that my supposedly ‘tenured’ position was coming up for redundancy. The entire department I worked in is to be closed down next year.

I decided to take the plunge and see if the skills and talents I had after 10 years of highly focused work could be turned into self-employment in innovative digital media projects. Happily this has turned out to be the case and far exceeded my expectations.

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New Founders Interview: MTWTF

After six years as an art director at the acclaimed graphic design studio, 2×4, Glen Cummings decided to start his own studio.  MTWTF was born earlier this year, in Lower East Side, New York City, and we’re excited to have a fellow NYC business as our latest New Founder.  Aside from running his new business, Glen teaches graphic design at Yale University each week.  How does one man do so much?  You’ll find out in the interview below.  Read on.

Why did you decide to start your own company, and how did you come up with the name?

I’m a list maker. I write down all the things I’d like to do all the time. Since 2002 being an art director at 2×4 was my primary focus. I finally admitted that I either had to stop making my lists, or start doing some of the items on them, and that meant starting my own studio.

The motivation was the same as when I was 18 and moved out of my parent’s house. You learn to cook, clean, pay bills and it eventually becomes clear that you should develop your own community and environment.  I guess they used to say “start your own family”. It’s the same with design studios. Time to set up shop and foster my own.

Every calendar I’ve ever had says the same thing at the top: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday. Its hard not to think of those calendars as a letterhead of sorts, so MTWTF, seemed like an obvious choice.

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New Founders Interview with Swordfox Design

Our latest New Founders, Swordfox Design, was founded by a couple who met in London – Graham was the lead developer at Underwired, while his girlfriend Georgina was a senior designer at Galzier Design – and headed back to their hometown, Queenstown, New Zealand, and started their new business.  In this interview, they recounted how Swordfox started with a website for a hot air balloon business, what it’s like to run a business in Queenstown, and shared with us their fascination with Britain’s Got Talent.

Why and how did you start Swordfox?

We started Swordfox because Graham and I (Georgina) began doing after hours freelance work for companies in London, so we all of a sudden had a loose idea of starting a company (unsuspecting of the long hours that were to lie ahead!).

Georgie’s (co-owner) visa finished up in London early 2007, Graham (life partner & business partner) of course followed (!) and it was back to New Zealand where we thought we would get jobs in Queenstown and just do some Swordfox freelance work on the side. I (Georgie) started working for my old company, Graham for his parents hot air balloon business. That lasted about a week due to word of mouth of Swordfox and our work. Week after week after week the workload increased. We started off with small clients, and lower priced jobs, had some interest from bigger companies who were interested by our work.

It was only a matter of months where we grew our portfolio (from clients that trusted and liked our work), moved into central premises, upped our anti, and now we have won most of the pitches for bigger companies, competing with other design companies that have been established for years. It’s all been achieved in our first year of business so we’re pretty happy.

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