Justin Walsh and Garrett Moon couldn’t find a job they wanted in Bismarck, so they created their own.
The two are founders of one of North Dakota’s fastest-growing technology startups, CoSchedule, and are finding success as their company makes its move to the next level.
CoSchedule is a marketing calendar application that helps companies better plan and implement their marketing campaigns. And lately, the product has been catching the business world’s eye — mentions in Inc. and Forbes magazines, placing in the top five at Tech.Co Startup of the Year competition and 22 on the list of top 1,000 SaaS (Software as a Service) companies, as well as appearances at INBOUND marketing and sales professionals conference in Boston and Content Marketing World Conference in Cleveland.
To keep up with these increases in demand, the company went from 27 employees on Jan. 1 to 63 now in Bismarck and Fargo — an expansion partially powered by $2.2 million in investment financing earlier this year, including $600,000 from the North Dakota Development Fund and $400,000 from the Bank of North Dakota’s New Venture Capital Program.
“We really saw it coming last year,” Moon said.
As the tool has gotten better, it has started to appeal to a larger set of customers, including some bigger firms with greater, more complex needs, such as more advanced workflows that auto notify other departments to start the next step when one department completes a task or sending items for legal and compliance checks.
GAP, Uber and Ebay are just a few of CoSchedule’s more than 8,000 customers in more than 100 countries.
CoSchedule eliminates the need for email threads and copy and pasting into multiple marketing platforms, according to Moon. It also saves time by developing templates for companies to use to develop their social marketing messages. And because it is a calendar that allows pre-scheduling, it makes companies’ marketing more consistent, leading to better engagement and interest from customers.
CoSchedule offers a one-size-fits-all tool. When a customer requests a new feature that could be beneficial to other customers, the company rolls it out for all to use, something customers can expect to see a lot of over the next six to eight months as the company makes changes.
“Some of our biggest things are ahead of us,” Walsh said, of the company’s increased investment in its product.
And CoSchedule has doubled its number of engineers to make it happen, as well as increasing its sales staff and adding an administrative team.
CoSchedule still considers itself an early stage company, but as it begins to grow beyond a startup, its founders are aiming to maintain some of the startup culture that has served them well, including their mission of “failing fast.”
As a startup, there is limited time and money, so they encourage employees to take risks but to take them quickly and learn early whether or not the ideas are going to work, according to Walsh.
“If you find something that works, it’s a big win for everybody,” Walsh said.
CoSchedule has managed to find the talent it needs in North Dakota, mostly by allowing the teams, with employees becoming more specialized, to be involved in the community and network with other professionals who may have that startup, entrepreneurial mentality.
“They’re coming to us,” Walsh said of new hires.
"As dynamic as they are, CoSchedule adds a different feel to the business community because there is really nobody else like them,” said Brian Ritter, president of the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association. “Certainly any time you have a company, like CoSchedule, in technology it adds even more diversity to the economy. I’m encouraged to see them start here and grow here.”