The GENIUS NY teams visited four local tech startups last week to see firsthand what it's like to build a company from the ground up in Central New York. On the tour the teams stopped by Plowz and Mowz, Spincar, The Digital Hyve and TCG Player. Similar to GENIUS NY teams, these local companies each started with just a few employees in small office spaces. Today, the four companies have hired hundreds of talented employees locally which serves as a great example for GENIUS NY founders who have come here from parts of New York as well as Europe.
Each stop on the tour was a learning experience with advice from Syracuse founders as well as an opportunity to experience each unique location from a renovated downtown bank, to a two-story pirate ship.
“It was a great opportunity for us to see successful startup companies and learn about their path to success, including the challenges and opportunities during their growth," said Javad Roostaei, co-founder of Quantifly.
Plowz and Mowz
Plowz and Mowz is an on-demand snow plowing, lawn mowing and leaf removal services app company. The company was founded in 2014 by Wills Mahoney and Andrew Englander. In the last five years the company has tripled in size and now is in 31 major cities nationwide.
The teams were able to see their office space in the AXA tower on Warren St. with a spectacular view of the city.
"Never stop learning," said Andrew Englander. "As a founder, learn and understand each part of your company. Learn the technology and how things work."
With a recent $22 million investment, Spincar will continue hiring and growing in its headquarters in the Icon Tower in downtown Syracuse. Spincar has a software that allows auto dealers to display 360-degree images of their cars online. The images, which can even be viewed with virtual reality headsets, include touchable hotspots that allow consumers to explore key vehicle features in detail.
"We're thrilled to be in Syracuse," said Saša Zorović, Chief Financial Officer of Spincar. "We plan to grow about 50% this year. This is a great market for talent."
Touring Digital Hyve’s modern office space overlooking Clinton Square was a testament to Central New York as co-founder Jake Tanner stated, “We like hiring and harnessing local talent.” The majority of their employees graduate from area colleges or grew up here and have moved back to the area. Jake continued, “It’s great being here in the renaissance of Downtown Syracuse.”
As GENIUS NY companies continue to develop their products and services, they will soon be looking to local agencies like Digital Hyve to help them effectively advertise to their target markets.
Jake left the teams with a bit of advice, “Take more action every day. Learn from doing, learn by taking action.”
At the last stop of the tour, GENIUS NY teams got a chance to “geek” out while visiting the newly renovated, 44,000 square-foot TCG Player office on South Warren Street. Each workspace is fully decked out in different themes including, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Mario Bros. TCG Player recognizes the importance of a positive company culture and the unique space is a way to help recruit and retain talented employees to the area.
Overall, throughout the tour, GENIUS NY teams got a chance to ask questions and make connections with local entrepreneurs.
“Plowz & Mowz has a similar business model to Vermeer,” said Brian Streem, CEO of Vermeer. “Hearing about their early challenges is helping us think about how to succeed.”
As members of GENIUS NY continue the year-long business accelerator, they now have a sense of the strong startup ecosystem here in Syracuse, New York.