St. Pete-based software startup PowerChord is on a growth trend despite the challenges its clients are facing.
PowerChord creates brand-specific websites that become digital storefronts. The company’s biggest clients are those in the outdoor power equipment space, such as those selling tractors, which the majority of those manufacturers are in the Midwest U.S. or overseas in Germany.
CEO Bill Volmuth, who was promoted to the top role last year, says the startup has recently become profitable even while charting through the Covid-19 pandemic.
“A lot of our clients were struggling because they are mostly manufacturers. We dealt with the technology and marketing side while they were deciding if they should come into their offices and work with their manufacturing employees who had to be there,” Volmuth said.
PowerChord, like most tech companies, had remote work options so the pandemic did not impact its workflow as much as it did for other sectors.
However, it did interrupt a big initiative to start working with education institutions on STEM learning.
“We had a whole number of initiatives internally and externally from creating cultural diversity events and the desire to start working with universities and secondary schools on STEM education,” Volmuth said. “We didn’t get to do that as quickly as we wanted to because we weren’t allowed to meet anyone, so we are cranking that back up and have a number of meetings with the University of South Florida.”
In July, the group did get to host an event for the Boys and Girls Club about STEM. PowerChord separated the children into different groups to learn about digital marketing and software development. It then assigned projects to the groups, which then had to form a plan of how to go to market with that specific project.
Volmuth hopes to have more similar STEM educational activities by the next quarter.
The firm completed its other goal of creating resource groups for employees including those in the LGBTQ+ community and women in tech. PowerChord has previously been recognized for having a significant female workforce, which is a major milestone in an industry that is male-dominated.
How the company is now profitable
Today, PowerChord has 75 employees and is expecting to hire five more by year’s end, and 10 to 20 more the following year.
What’s helped fuel the growth was a $10 million funding round investment in 2016 led by Tampa-based venture capital group Ballast Point Ventures, Volmuth said, describing it as the kick-off point.
‘”We are not opposed to any kind of acquisition activity, but we are very well-funded and are profitable right now. The next funding round may happen in another year or two,” Volmuth said.
“When I came in as president a couple of years ago, I took a look at the lay of the land. I saw tremendous opportunity. This space is so wide open. I did a listening tour with the product management team and realized people create this marketing, they get a lead from it and it comes down through channels, but then we don’t know what happens to it? Did it cause a sale? We tweaked our software on that and that’s how we’ve become profitable,” Volmuth said, explaining that PowerChord found a solution for companies to better understand their consumers and what the entry point was in connecting with them.
“Most of our competitors aren’t focusing on the niche we are focused on – it can be consumer brands, anything that is bought, they are interested in managing that. There’s this omnichannel for these brands. Our differentiator driving these brands goes down to the local consumers and then down to the channel they are using. These channels are changing profusely,” he said.
Volmuth is also keeping a close eye on what’s happening on a data security level.
“Constantly observing what’s going on with big tech and the privacy issues. We want to be the partner that has the data and provides the information to our partners that can get value and not infringe on the privacy issues,” he said.