CallCopy secures venture capital to continue rapid growthBusiness Profiles — By Walker Evans on November 28, 2011 at 8:00 am
CallCopy is an example of a local success story that you may not yet be aware of, but by all means should. This startup provides high-tech call recording and contact center solutions for many large corporate clients, and has grown rapidly in its short five year life span.
Born out of a project originally developed internally at local call center company Teleperformance (previously known as CallTech), CallCopy attributes it’s inception to a unique set of circumstances.
“All six founders of our company were working in operations or in IT at CallTech,” explains Patrick Hall, chief marketing officer at CallCopy. “CallTech was utilizing several pieces of third party software, and we realized that we could build something better that would solve a lot of different problems with one product.”
The developers took the idea up the ladder at CallTech and an agreement was born for the team to produce the software for CallTech’s use while giving the developers the rights to spin off the software into a separate company after it was fully built.
“There was a huge benefit to have that initial customer using our product throughout the depth and breadth of its enterprise,” Hall says. “Having them as an immediate reference and touch point was huge for us.”
In 2006, CallCopy launched with five full-time employees and they began selling their software to additional corporate clients. They later obtained startup office space at TechColumbus, but found that the incubation program there was not a good fit for their specific type of company.
“TechColumbus is a great organization, but we were there early on and there weren’t a lot of incubation services available to us at the time,” says Jeff Canter, co-founder, CEO and president of CallCopy. “Most of the benefit of being housed at TechColumbus came from having a space to talk to other companies who were at a similar growth stage.”
After leaving TechColumbus in early 2008, CallCopy relocated twice due to rapid expansion. First into a building located on Olentangy River Road with 30 employees, and later into their current home at 530 W. Spring St. in downtown Columbus, where they employ about 100 and counting.
“I’ve interviewed nine people last week,” says Product Management Director Aaron Cash.
Hiring issues have posed a challenge for CallCopy, as they require very specialized types of software and application developers. Nevertheless, the company has no plans to relocate its operations to other cities known for their talent pools.
“The struggle with finding the right type of developer talent isn’t a Columbus problem, it’s a national problem.” Canter says. “In general, the talent we need as a business is here in Columbus, from delivery staff to project managers to marketing professionals.”
Cash cites Columbus as being a great city with a low cost of living, a vibrant downtown, and a pleasant lifestyle environment that translates into being a business resource in itself. Additionally, CallCopy goes the extra mile to woo talented employees through a relaxed and collegial work environment and company outings to places like local comedy clubs.
“It gets people out of the cube,” Cash says. “You interact with people that on a day-to-day basis you wouldn’t normally interact with in different departments, which helps for building a team and a cultural identity.”
The strategy is working well for CallCopy, which was recently recognized by Columbus Business First for the fourth consecutive year as one of the “Best Places to Work” in Central Ohio.
“I never want to have a work environment where there’s a lot of politicking,” Canter says. “If someone in our company has a great idea, there’s no reason that they can’t approach me or Patrick or someone else to share. I want to have ideas come from anywhere in the company, wherever they will help us out the most.”
The rapid growth of CallCopy was recently recognized for the second year in a row on the Inc 500 list, which tracks the fastest growing companies in the United States. CallCopy was ranked No. 412 on the list, with a three-year sales growth of 831 percent.
The leadership at CallCopy isn’t content to coast at that pace and has already laid the groundwork for advancing their company over the next few years. New Jersey-based venture capital firm Edison Ventures recently announced a $6.5 million investment in CallCopy that will beef up its research and development efforts for future products and services.
“Edison Ventures has been courting us for about three years,” Canter says. “We had always heard horror stories about VCs in general, and we have done well by growing organically, but we’re at the point now where the market is changing and the time is right.”
Currently, CallCopy’s services compete with three larger companies, but the third largest firm is exiting the market, which Canter sees as a huge growth opportunity.
“This leaves a lot of room between us and the two market leaders, which are $500 million companies,” he explains. “It seems like a good opportunity now to accelerate our growth and to get into that market space.”
Looking back just a short five years, the co-founders at CallCopy have a lot to reflect upon, and are eager to share their story and their knowledge with other local startups and entrepreneurs.
“We didn’t know what we didn’t know at the time,” Canter says of the company’s early startup days. “We got lucky sometimes and just had to learn over time how to manage everything. I think we’d do things a lot differently if we could do it again, but I think that mindset applies to all business owners.”
To learn more about CallCopy, visit CallCopy.com.
Walker is the founder of ColumbusUnderground.com and co-founder of TheMetropreneur.com along with his wife and business partner Anne Evans. Walker has turned local media from a hobby into a full time career over the past decade and serves on multiple boards and committees throughout the community.
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