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From Startup To The Big Leagues

National Tech

It’s been over 10 years since Phil Schmitz sat in his University of Maryland dorm room and dreamed up a tech company that would offer web hosting and software as a service to anyone with a checkbook. The dream worked. BIS Global, which started as four guys in a tiny room, has built solutions for large retail customers like Tuesday Morning and nonprofits like the Wounded Warrior Project. It's on pace to more than double in revenue this year and grow head count from 16 to 30, and just moved to bigger space in Tysons from Rockville, Md. The live ticker behind Phil shows how much funding is being raised by the company’s nonprofit clients using its CharityEngine software. (It's much more fun than the national debt clock.)


Phil recently hired former Motionsoft co-founder Hossein Noshirvani as a partner and Leigh Kessler to handle marketing. BIS Global’s growth comes from creating software for email marketing, e-commerce, CRM, and website content management. Phil says the company's big break came when Tuesday Morning, an 800-store retailer, wanted the company to create its e-commerce solution. It grew from zero online sales to $10M in a year. The second big break came three years ago when the Wounded Warrior Project asked the company for a CRM solution to support its direct response TV campaigns. Realizing the gap in the marketplace, the company created CharityEngine software geared specifically to nonprofits that needed technology to better integrate their CRM with whatever online fundraising and communications they were doing. 


We weren't that impressed by Phil’s Redskins helmet until he told us it was signed by RGIII. The 34-year-old is the oldest of eight and pursued computer science after high school. While at Maryland, he got a job at an online advocacy firm on Capital Hill. He taught himself code and saw the firm go from five people to 60 before the boss realized Phil was only 19. He then switched majors from computer science to business. While he launched BIS Global during college, going to class was less of a priority since he had to work full-time to pay tuition, but he did graduate. Now the plan is to focus on marketing and growing the nonprofit client roster. Phil says he’s also making his own transition from the guy writing code to the guy in charge.