Instead of seeking venture capital, Joyce Durst, Co-Founder, and CEO of Growth Acceleration Partners decided to bootstrap the software development company.
Growth Acceleration Partners, known as GAP, offers analytics, cloud, mobile and QA services. Before co-founding GAP, Durst served as CEO of venture-backed startup Pinion Software, a security software company. At that company, she raised $21 million in venture capital.
“There is such a thing as the wrong money at the wrong time,” Durst said. She made the comments last Thursday during an interview for the Ideas to Invoices podcast.
In 2007, when Durst co-founded the company, GAP decided to focus on its customers and generating revenue rather than fundraising, she said.
“Maybe someday there will be a right time to take money, but so far we haven’t needed it,” she said.
And GAP recently received certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. That’s an important milestone for the company because it shows the company is walking the talk, Durst said. GAP really believes in diversity and inclusion, she said.
A recent news release said GAP made a point of hiring women and promoting them to leadership positions in GAP.
“The key thing about having women at all roles in the company at all levels, it’s really about diversity of thought,” Durst said. She didn’t set out to have 70 percent of its technical leadership roles filled by women, but they were the best people for those jobs, she said.
“Can we have diversity to get the very best ideas, innovations and thoughts out on the table,” Durst said. That includes diversity in gender, age and multi-cultural, she said.
Durst also tells executives that say they can’t find women to hire, that isn’t true. Companies need to change their hiring and recruiting, and onboarding practices and they will find qualified women to fill technical roles in their companies, she said.
“If you do those things, you will be widely successful in building a diverse team,” Durst said.
GAP chose to put software development offices in Costa Rica and Colombia because they share the company’s values, Durst said. They are innovative places in the same time zone with happy people, great talent, culture and values, she said.
GAP has a wide range of customers across a wide variety of industries including healthcare, fintech, and technology, Durst said. They have built products for Whole Foods, Dell, Solar Winds, Disney, Marvel. GAP reaches new customers primarily through content generation and word of mouth referrals from its clients, Durst said.
GAP has more than $20 million in annual revenue and 300 employees. In the future, the growth is coming from technology and data analysis, Durst said. One of the clients it works with harvests data from cars and GAP helps interpret data to identify traffic patterns to help locate brick and mortar stores, Durst said.
Because GAP is private, it can take a much longer-term view of its business and its goals, Durst said.
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