Fix-Knudsen said that the acquisition of blabfeed opens the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska up to being commercially competitive, especially when it comes to obtaining the first successful federal government contract in the history of the tribe.
“This deal changes the entire socioeconomic trajectory of the tribe,” said Fix-Knudsen. “[blabfeed] received our first government contract two years ago and last year alone we did over ten times that amount in just government contracts.”
Since its founding four years ago, the company has helped activate signage in over 6,600 locations worldwide. In 2016 the startup grew revenue by 270 percent.
Fix-Knudsen was interning at Ho-Chunk, Inc. when blabfeed was founded and he said the fast success of his company was not a solo effort.
“It took a village. It took a tribe,” laughed Fix-Knudsen. “The thing that really [made] the biggest difference was the fact that we had the community rally around us.”
Lance Morgan, President and CEO of Ho-Chunk, Inc., was key in getting Fix-Knudsen initial funding for blabfeed.
“He just asked, ‘How much?’ and I turned to [cofounder] Derek [Stearns] and I threw out a number that seemed like enough to buy a house,” recalled Fix-Knudsen. “He said, ‘Great, cut him the check, you’re fired. This is now your life.’ That was how it started.”
The acquisition by Osni Ponca allows Fix-Knudsen and Osni Ponca’s leadership, including Chairman Pete Upton and CEO Otto La Pointe, to expand the company while positively influencing the economic trajectory of their tribe.
“Our tribe is diversifying our approach to economic development,” shared Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Chairman Larry Wright, Jr. “blabfeed brings high-skill, high-wage careers to our people and cements our sustainability as a thriving economy.”
President and CEO of Ho-Chunk, Inc. Lance Morgan thinks that investing in a Native founder like Fix-Knudsen is investing in the tribe’s future. Fix-Knudsen is poised to prove him right, with a hope for blabfeed’s future that don’t stop at the acquisition.
“The vision is a billion dollar entity.”