Last night, Silicon Prairie News hosted the second Startup Story Social, a new event series highlighting a Silicon Prairie startup champion every month.
Startup Story Social is aimed at helping to ensure the future of Silicon Prairie’s tech startup scene by building the community through social events that combine founders, creative types, investors, engineers, designers, marketers, and more.
Last night’s guest speakers were Flywheel co-founders Dusty Davidson, Tony Noecker and Rick Knudtson. The latest episode of the SPN Startup Story Video Series featuring Flywheel was also premiered.
Additionally, the 75 attendees were given special access to Big Omaha ticket prices and a glimpse of not-yet-announced speakers.
Real stories from a real startup
Founded in 2012 and started out of a garage, Flywheel was created because the founders wanted to build a business that they would want to be a customer of.
“The three of us suffered through this for years and we’ve built the platform that we want to use,” explained Davidson. “We wanted to be different––different from the cheap hosting industry.”
Building a business that focuses on being different paid off for Flywheel. The company now works with over 50,000 sites, providing them dedicated WordPress hosting and personalized customer experiences.
Building a company and company culture
Davidson said it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running a business, but Flywheel focuses on the customer. Flywheel was the first hosting company to offer free migrations. Currently, they’re one of only four hosting companies recommended by WordPress themselves to their users.
They’re also known for a company culture that’s the right mix of whimsical and professional, that values team-building and happy employees. One of the perks that the co-founders take pride in providing is company wide sandwich day.
“We’re building an empire,” said Davidson. “Sandwich day is worth more to company culture than it costs.”
That empire is growing fast. In 2016, Flywheel bought its first company, expanded their office, and took the whole team of 80 people to Chicago.
Davidson knows that Flywheel’s rapid growth and occasional growing pains can seem daunting to new startups that are just getting their footing, but Flywheel was once in their shoes too.
“It’s not that long ago that it was just three dudes sitting at a kitchen table,” said Davidson.
Join us on April 27 for the next SPN Startup Story Social.