Inside 5 Rising Tech Companies You Should Know — Before They Make It Big

by Janey Zitomer
December 19, 2019

Using software to modernize an industry like retail or real estate is a smart business idea, but not a new one. While the technology behind any company is important, approach matters most. 

“Commercial success is dependent more than ever, not on technological superiority, but on a better understanding of customers’ needs and using this information to guide decision making,” writes Paul Hague, author of “A Practical Guide to Market Research.” 

With that in mind, in part one of a two-part series, five New-York based executives told us exactly how their companies have hit benchmarks like international expansion and tripling their sales and headcount. 

 

Summer
Summer

Tackling student loan debt often seems like a herculean task. But Bridget Haile, head of borrower success at Summer, says that this mission keeps the team focused and goal-oriented. With a $10 million Series A round in its back pocket and a dozen current open positions, Haile expects the company, founded in 2017, to expand in size and hone its strategy this year. 
 

Tell us how you got to the precipice of rapid growth and what the biggest factors contributing to your company’s success moving forward will be.

One of the things I love most about our team is every member’s commitment to our mission. We’re not afraid to dive into the gritty details of the student loan landscape and harness that learning for a robust and scalable product.

Our commitment to borrowers drives all of our decisions as a team, and I believe that focus will take us forward.

Growth for us will mean serving more student loan borrowers in the next year.’’ 

What does growth look like for your company over the next year?

Growth for us will mean serving more student loan borrowers in the next year. We’ll be expanding the size of our team and partnering with new organizations (like employers and financial institutions) to help their members. We will also focus on building smart solutions to guide borrowers through every step of loan repayment and forgiveness.

I’m looking forward to creating more content and resources for borrowers, offering assistance for a greater variety of loan programs and scaling our personalized advice. 

 

Twine
Twine

In order to scale as quickly as they have in the past year, Joseph Quan, CEO of Twine, emphasizes careful research and iteration. This means identifying experts and reaching out to learn as much as possible about user demand in the HR space so the company can provide clients with specific, pertinent data to help them better run their business. With that intel in their back pocket, the team is focused on product development as they move into 2020. 

 

Tell us how you got to the precipice of rapid growth and what the biggest factors contributing to your company’s success moving forward will be.

We conducted over 200 interviews with CEOs and chief people officers to understand what they wanted from an analytics platform. And then we built. When we don’t know how to do something, we consult key experts in our network, learn quickly, act, then iterate. 

We invest in our people. This means having an unlimited book-learning budget, having new hires create user manuals on how to best work with them and encouraging employees to create professional growth plans outlining their goals for three years out. 

When we don’t know how to do something, we consult key experts in our network, learn quickly, act, then iterate.’’  

What does growth look like for your company over the next year?

We’re out to build a category-creating company. We plan to triple our headcount by the end of 2020. This will allow us to triple sales next year and accelerate product development. 

 

Doorkee
Doorkee

Hindsight might be 2020, but Doorkee CEO John Fagan makes sure he’s always a few steps ahead of potential issues. He prevents small fires, and potentially real headaches, by identifying partnerships and ideas he’s confident will drive business, even if it means holding off on current pitches or proposals. 
 

Tell us how you got to the precipice of rapid growth and what the biggest factors contributing to your company’s success moving forward will be.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is “avoid bad decisions.” It sounds like a truism but it means that often waiting to pull the trigger for the right opportunity is a smart move. We don’t say “yes” too early or to the wrong partner, customer or idea, because then we won’t find the right fit down the road. 

We use this advice most in hiring, because our team is the engine of our success. As we continue to grow the core team, our focus will be on listening closely to our early innovation partners, iterating rapidly on what they like best and ditching the rest. 

We don’t say “yes” too early or to the wrong partner, customer or idea, because then we won’t find the right fit down the road.’’ 

What does growth look like for your company over the next year? 

At Doorkee, we’re focused on creating the perfect environment for landlords and tenants to work together to fix apartment hunting. We’re working to get as many apartment listings live on Doorkee in 2020 as possible so that apartment seekers can find their next place sooner than the typical two or three weeks before they move. 

And once we’re out of beta in March, anyone leaving their NYC apartment will be able to earn cash by giving their landlords early notice that they’re not renewing and providing apartment seekers early access to their place. 

 

Simplifield
Simplifield

Simplicity is underrated. At least, that’s how Benjamin Zenou, CEO of SimpliField, sees it. Zenou attributes the company’s growth to its focus on ease of use, an important characteristic for businesses with models reliant on physical location.  

 

Tell us how you got to the precipice of rapid growth and what the biggest factors contributing to your company’s success moving forward will be.

The retail industry is in the midst of a rapid, sometimes brutal period of disruption and evolution. And SimpliField is right in the center of it all. 

Since our founding in 2016, our growth has been driven by a strong focus on creating a retail execution platform that is simple to use and simple to implement. We think being successful requires building excellent experiences for everyone we work with.

Our growth has been driven by a strong focus on creating a platform that is simple to use’’ 

What does growth look like for your company over the next year?

Now is perhaps the most exciting time in the company’s history. While we continue to expand throughout France, Europe and the Middle East, we are excited about our U.S. clients. We will be opening up our new U.S. headquarters in SoHo in January.

We are building out our U.S. sales, marketing and executive teams to address existing demand. We believe that some of our major upcoming announcements and new product releases will open up new partnership opportunities. 

 

Graphika
Graphika

According to VP of Marketing Val Blair, Graphika employees’ diversity of skills and interests allow them to better serve their clients. Blair said the company encourages opinion-sharing, which leads to employees feeling empowered to provide critical feedback. And she doesn’t see that changing in 2020. 

 

Tell us how you got to the precipice of rapid growth and what the biggest factors contributing to your company’s success moving forward will be.

Prior to joining Graphika, I spent eight years at NBCUniversal leading national, integrated and trade marketing campaigns across NBC as well the USA and Syfy networks. Before that, I was responsible for strategic marketing campaigns at Screenvision. I care about integrity on a national, global and digital level. This makes joining an organization like Graphika a natural fit. 

Every member of the organization comes to Graphika with serious expertise in their field, but they also bring a diverse range of interests and perspectives, which creates an environment where everyone’s voice is heard. This also promotes an authentic exchange of ideas within the company. This diversity helps us to see and think outside of the box, responding to the needs of our partners in innovative ways. 

Over the next year, I see continued momentum in our commercial and public service activities.’’

What does growth look like to you over the next year? 

In the time I have worked with the firm, we’ve worked with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. We’ve also helped social platforms identify bad actors and disinformation. On the commercial communications side, we empower decision-makers to understand their audiences on a deeper level and engage in more meaningful ways. 

Over the next year, I see continued momentum in our commercial and public service activities. We will be investing in diverse talent, offering increasingly flexible technology and product solutions for our partners, and unlocking the power of network mapping for companies across many types of data.

 

Jobs from companies in this blog17 open jobs
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Data + Analytics
Design + UX
Dev + Engineer
Operations
Sales
Developer
new
Summer
New York
Data + Analytics
new
Summer
New York
Developer
new
Summer
New York
Sales
new
Twine
New York
Developer
new
Twine
New York
Developer
new
Twine
New York
Design + UX
new
Twine
New York
Developer
new
Twine
New York
Sales
new
Twine
New York
Operations
new
Doorkee
New York
Sales
new
SimpliField
Other
Sales
new
SimpliField
New York
Sales
new
SimpliField
New York
Operations
new
Graphika
New York
Sales
new
SimpliField
New York
Sales
new
SimpliField
New York
Sales
new
Doorkee
New York

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