Skuid‘s dedication to human experience extends beyond their easy-to-use customer interface into a robust company culture. Since 2013, their quick growth, with new offices in London and San Francisco, has sparked 5 million users across 24 countries.
The success is well-deserved for the southern startup. Their enterprise software service allows companies to build made-to-order, custom UX experiences fit for their business needs. It doesn’t take a developer to integrate Skuid into existing customer relationship software like Salesforce. You can keep your roster customized with the drag-and-drop feature as your company evolves, and keep creating apps, or so-called tentacles, as there’s no restrictive code involved. It’s all with the goal of making enterprise software more human and “work the way you work.”
Skuid’s story starts with its CEO and founder, Ken McElrath, who comes from a creative background in art and then 20 years in the software industry. He didn’t only focus on the product, but was intentional about building the company’s culture as well — leading to many recent accolades like being named one of Entrepreneur’s 25 Best Small-Company Cultures in 2015.
Hypepotamus got the scoop on Skuid’s recent accomplishments, how they make employees happy, and why staying in the Southeast matters to them as they move toward goals in 2016.
What’s Skuid’s founding story?
Ken McElrath is a serial entrepreneur. Before launching Skuid, he co-founded Skoodat to build education solutions on the Salesforce Platform, and Cazabba, a creative and technology services firm. He led marketing and product management for RetailersMarketXchange (RMX), a Bay-area startup funded by Chevron, Oracle, Altria and McLane Company. He also spent seven years with MicroAge Inc., where he led marketing for its systems integration division.
Skuid’s mission is to make enterprise software that’s human and that works the way humans work.It started as a software tool for education industries, but because each school and district had such different needs, they each needed something a little different. The developers would write new code to make a small tweak to customize it, but by the time they were done making that tweak, the needs had changed. They were completely fatigued. They said, “Why don’t we make a kit with pre-built components that anyone can drop and drag together to completely customize their app?” Skuid was born there, and is now used by Fortune 500 companies to non-profits. Anyone can use Skuid.
You’ve earned some accolades for being a great place to work. Why is it important to Skuid to have great community values as the company grows?
Culture is very important to us at Skuid. In 2015, Entrepreneur ranked Skuid as a top 3 small business, displaying that a high-performance company culture helps drive a mission, achieve goals, provides support and creates the foundation for employee growth. In addition, Skuid has committed to a 1/1/1/1 minimum philanthropy standard that includes charitable donations of: 1% of their equity, 1% of their profits, 1% of their time, 1% of their product.
Our founder, like I said, he came from the world of corporate software and has been really intentional about culture building, which I know most startups are. Our advantages about our culture, it’s not just lip service because people can actually take advantage of those things because the pace of life is such that they don’t have to race home and sit in traffic for hours.
Despite having offices in London and San Francisco, why is it important to maintain headquarters in the Southeast?
There’s this trend going on where startups are realizing that they can’t sustain themselves in these pricey metropolises like San Francisco. Also, we found that the people in Chattanooga, and I can say probably the Southeast, actually care about quality place making and being in a place that’s easy to live in and affordable to live in. I think that’s a big part of why we’ve been able to grow the team that we have.
We’re in this hybrid model where we have an office in San Francisco and part of our team is there and part of our team is in Chattanooga. We’ve gotten a lot of folks come to us from different larger corporate giants in San Francisco who said, “I’m sick of the mercenary spirit.” We have one woman who came with us from Salesforce. One from Oracle.
It’s really cool. We’re able really reap the benefits of both because we’re accessing that talent pipeline, but keeping the values that our company has and not selling out to that.
What’s on deck for 2016?
We’re going to keep focusing on growing our team, growing our products, and getting the product to where we think it should be. It’s got a lot of capability, so we want those to be as clear and versatile as possible. That’s what we’re doing right now. We’ll probably keep hiring at the pace we have hired at. We’re going to keep headquartered in Chattanooga. We’re pretty committed to staying in in the Southeast.