When Appsky Labs founder Taylor Korensky graduated from UNOmaha’s IT Innovation Program in 2016, he was already freelancing in iOS development.
“A lot of that program focuses on business development, product development, and the technical side of things,” said Korensky. “Through that program, I really found a passion for mobile development and spun my career out of it.”
While working with local clients, he found a gap in available services.
“I found that there’s this gap in Omaha between the very prestigious development companies and then the people that just need something fairly simple,” said Korensky. “Based on my experience freelancing, I validated the idea that there needs to be this new type of development experience […] I wanted to provide something that was approachable.”
That idea was Appsky Labs, a unique development company focused on improving many areas of the local community through affordable software.
“I started to formulate what the brand would look like, how we were going to differentiate ourselves, how pricing was going to work, how we were going to work in phases with our clients and what services we were going to offer,” said Korensky.
Korensky, a Connect Grant recipient, launched Appsky Labs in November 2016 while also working at AIM Interface School. He said it was there that Interface’s founder Shonna Dorsey encouraged him to dive into Appsky Labs full time. He focused on creating a software development company where small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups could feel involved in the development process. Through a partnership with PaymentSpring, Appsky Labs also offers payment plans for their clients.
It was just him at first, but as his client base grew, he was able to hire on additional junior developers.
“That’s how it turned into what it is now, by getting enough projects that I had to hire people to help me,” said Korensky. “It took me about 4 months from December until early April when I hired our first people.”
Korensky said a lot of those hires are coming out of UNO, Metropolitan Community College and Interface.
“All of our hires are junior developers,” said Korensky. “I really wanted to capture another gap that I saw which was very talented developers who were still considered junior and were having a difficult time finding a position making decent money. I wanted to help fill that gap.”
That makes Korensky the only senior developer on his team. He said he’s had to learn the hard way how to be the lead developer and CEO.
“I’m doing development and still having to do training because I’m one of the only senior people,” said Korensky. “The hard thing I’ve learned in that is although the process and the concept are working pretty well, we probably need a few more senior people to help guide the junior devs.”
Korensky said Appsky Labs is gaining traction every month through social media marketing and regional referrals throughout Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Kansas. Korensky has a five-year goal of making Appsky Labs the first franchised software development company to give other communities physical options instead of remote ones.
“In the industry, the people I work with here in Omaha have tried to work with a remote company and they have a difficult time,” said Korensky. “It makes sense to have physical locations in different areas so that customers can actually come in and experience it.”
But right now he’s happy to focus on Omaha. Korensky donates his time helping with business pitch competitions, speaking to classes and staying involved in his community. Appsky Labs is working on a fundraising project with the Great Plains Black History Museum.
“We’re really gearing towards developing a fundraising platform for small businesses in the area to raise money for the technical services that they need,” said Korensky. “This is something that we’re partnering with AIM on and we’re in the process of launching our first fundraising project [with the Great Plains Black History Museum] as part of the collaboration.”
It’s been a strong year for Appsky Labs. So what advice does Korensky have for other young entrepreneurs looking to start a business?
“Our motto is ‘why wait to be great.’ I always like to validate things but to some degree, if you know that you’re going to do something revolutionary and you have the validation, then it’s probably worth trying.”
Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News