Can This Tech Startup Survive Without Ping Pong?
Savvy Apps just moved into new digs in Reston, increasing its footprint five times. But it's intentionally leaving out the startup cliche of ping-pong tables and exposed brick.
Savvy Apps founder Ken Yarmosh (above) proudly boasts that his firm is about 20 miles away from DC, where many tech startups think they need to be. It’s a skywalk away from the Wiehle-Reston Metro stop, which Ken is hoping will attract the six more people he needs. The company also ditched super open, collaborative design for a 5k SF space that's still open, but with more privacy based on the way desks are positioned and using large computer monitors as barriers. Instead of talking across desks, employees are forced to get up to have conversations. (Sitting is the new smoking after all.)
The $250k build-out is part of Savvy Apps next chapter, says Ken, who launched the firm in 2011. The 15-person company relaunched its brand and site recently and is focusing on attracting the right kind of customers. The firm has a backlog of work as it stands. Ken says the competition for building apps is fairly thin in the DC region. And the ones that do exist focus on offshore development, which means Savvy Apps can boast its local presence. The strategy has resulted in 20 featured apps built by Savvy in the Apple and Google stores.
The bootstrapped, profitable company has wooed a mix of clients, including the NFL Players Association, PBS, the Cato Institute, Homesnap and LifeFuels. The company built an app for NFL players that took the schedule info they get at the beginning of the season in a leather binder and put it all into an app. The “fat finger syndrome” (the struggle is real) was factored into the interface design. Cato reached out with a need to digitize its audio content into a slick podcast player. Ken says future growth will come from helping customers keep up with tech, especially iOS and Android updates, and working with them more closely on app strategy and positioning in the market.