The 2012 Tech 25 – Part I

From Agilum to Firefly, the first batch of Middle Tennessee's most distinctive, innovative and interesting IT companies

The Nashville area’s most distinctive and fascinating IT entities deliver a certain innovation and impact, positively affecting various industry sectors and — in the process — our region’s economy.

It is perhaps unfortunate that many folks still view information technology as it relates to businesses in Middle Tennessee as an offshoot of the area’s health care sector. And, indeed, some of the companies you will find on our list are health care-oriented. However, there has long been a robust roster of local IT companies that serve various business sectors.

For example, our list includes companies representing communications, finance, graphic arts, marketing and music business.

Also noteworthy: Seven companies that made the list in 2011 return for another appearance.

Compiling the list was no easy task. But we feel these 25 businesses comprise a stellar group, one that will continue to help drive Nashville’s fast-changing tech scene. Today we look at the first eight (alphabetized by company name) of the 25.

 

 

Agilum Healthcare Intelligence
Roy Mathews, founder and CEO
agilum.com

It’s been a busy year for Franklin-based intelligence provider Agilum. In January, the company announced the addition of Kevin McNamara as the company’s board chairman. Ron Marston soon followed and now serves as a member of the same board.

In August, founder and CEO Roy Mathews hired Winnie Fritz, an industry veteran brought in to lead Agilum’s performance improvement consulting unit. Fritz had come to Nashville from Arizona and, for the three years prior, had served as the CEO of Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital and Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital in the Tucson area of Southern Arizona.

Soon thereafter, Mathews decided it was time for a company name change. Agilum had been known for the prior six years as Anthem Healthcare Intelligence but in May Mathews and company wanted a name and a marketing push promoting their business intelligence expertise.

“It was time to adopt a new brand that reflected our exclusivity in healthcare BI,” Mathews said in a company report announcing the change at the time.

With a buttressed leadership team and a rebranding effort under way, Agilum soon attracted the interest of investors. In September, the company raised nearly $5 million in equity from eight unnamed investors.

 
Artist Growth LLC

Matt Urmy, co-founder and CEO
artistgrowth.com

Artist Growth “puts the business of artist development directly in the artist’s hands,” as the company website notes. The Nashville-based company provides a mobile software platform that gives users, via one interface, the tools to manage and track daily tasks, coordinate multi-dimensional projects and grow a business steadily.

Launched last January, the platform targets  iPhone, Android and Blackberry and uses proprietary technology to integrate finances, gig calendars, inventory, industry contacts, social media and performing rights organizations. It also provides mentoring resources from various entertainment industry experts.

Former Sony chairman Joe Galante, an investor in the company, has called the platform “the record business in a box.” Interestingly, co-founder Matt Urmy has a poetry background, while fellow company co-founder Jonathan Sexton holds a  master’s degree in early childhood education. Both men are musicians.

 
Capital Confirmation

Chris Schellhorn, CEO
confirmation.com

Since it was created 10 years ago by CPA Brian Fox and CEO Chris Schellhorn, Capital Confirmation has grown into the industry leader in electronic audit confirmation — a seemingly mundane task, once the province of paper-and-ink statements delivered by the U.S. Mail. But last year, Capital Confirmation’s service helped to uncover the massive fraud perpetrated by Peregrine Financial Group CEO Russell Wasendorf. And in the wake of that big coup, Capital Confirmation earned heaps of publicity and praise from the accounting and financial services community. (See Q&A with CEO Chris Schellhorn here.)

 
Care Technology Systems

Jim Anderson, president and founder
caretechsys.com

Care Technology Systems is just over a year old but has already laid a solid foundation helping folks much older than the company achieve quality of life standards historically unmet.

“Aging in place” and the catchy “ambient awareness” are part of the current health care vernacular, which in CTS’s case succinctly defines the company’s purpose and the method by which its consumers are served using the company’s products.

It’s well known that seniors do better at home. And in most cases, the aging in place outcome is most desirable to seniors and their families.
So products and systems providing protection by notification for fall detection, general activity monitoring and even biometric monitoring (blood pressure, blood sugar levels, weight) comprise part of the CTS offering.

Company founder and President Jim Anderson sums up the current state of the company best when he told the Nashville Post earlier this year: “We’re growing as the pivotal player in the aging-in-place health delivery market.”

 
CoreCommerce

Matt DeLong, president and CEO
corecommerce.com

Franklin-based CoreCommerce’s Software As A Service product allows small to medium businesses to sell online starting at $19.99 per month.
The software powers more than 13,000 stores online, with clients in all 50 U.S. states and in more than 70 countries. The CoreCommerce website notes the company maintains a 93 percent customer satisfaction rating.

CoreCommerce’s Facebook Store feature allows customers to view a company’s products from inside that company’s Facebook page. Specifically, companies can set up tabs within their Facebook pages and then allow CoreCommerce to take certain products those companies select and send them to the Facebook system so that the companies can display them to customers.

In September, CoreCommerce, which was founded in 2001, captured two awards within the E-commerce website categories at the 10th Annual American Business Awards.

 
Cybera Inc.

Cliff Duffey, president and CEO
cybera.com

Cybera is a familiar name to a variety of media outlets across the country, including this one. President and CEO Cliff Duffey has come a long way since 2001 and the founding of the Nashville-based managed security and network services company. Cybera, under Duffey’s leadership, has been named to the Inc. 5000 list for six consecutive years now, a notable feat by anyone’s standard. And for the last two years, Cybera has been selected to the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 listing. By making this list, Cybera joins the likes of American business icons Microsoft, Oracle and Zappos — good company indeed.

So it’s not all that surprising that 2012 is proving to be another banner year.

In June, company officials signed an agreement with Shell Oil Products US and Motiva Enterprises, a business development coup for Duffey’s group.

And despite economic circumstances not all that conducive to revenue generating, in May 35 investors pumped $4.4 million into the company through a Series D funding play, providing the company with the funds necessary to grow and further develop its corporate footprint.

“With some recent wins, such as ExxonMobil, we are poised for a very strong year of growth,” Duffey said in a May company statement.

 
Digital Reasoning Systems Inc.

Tim Estes, CEO
digitalreasoning.com

Brentwood-based Digital Reasoning Systems is best known for Synthesys, which is geared toward entity-oriented analytics. Launched in late 2007, Synthesys serves various U.S. government agencies, assisting them in resolving the fundamental problem of information overload for analysts and decision makers. 

DRS CEO Tim Estes, who founded the company in 2000, and Rob Metcalf, president and COO, team with nine high-ranking company officials.

This year has been major for the company. In July, Digital Reasoning announced it had completed a successful engagement with Accenture and the FinTech Innovation Lab, an annual program run by the New York City Investment Fund (the economic development arm of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City). The company also that month announced an agreement with Carahsoft Technology Corp., known for its work with the federal government. 

In September, Digital Reasoning announced that Cristóbal Conde, the former president and CEO of multinational software giant SunGard, had joined its board of directors. 

 
Firefly Logic

Amy Henderson, partner and director
fireflylogic.com

A perusal of Firefly Logic’s website speaks volumes. From employee bios — especially the pictures — to the constant but measured slideshow presentation scrolling at the bottom of the landing page, Firefly Logic is obviously cutting edge, relevant and more than likely a fun place to work.

Fun, that is, if one is a tech geek and possesses midichlorian talent (the company’s words, not ours). Midichlorian is a Star Wars movie reference and describes intelligent microscopic life forms whose function was to communicate to their hosts the “will of the Force.” If you knew that, well ...

So in an effort to word succinctly the morass of technology genius these folks exude and to give some insight into the company’s purpose, we’ll let the website speak for itself.

“Firefly Logic is a Nashville-based software development and consulting company specializing in custom software development, architectural risk assessment and development processes and practices.” 

What this means is that Firefly builds and implements the software that allows the myriad information technology applications a company employs to speak efficiently to each other. Thus, creating, implementing and monitoring the interface between platforms or among several platforms is the core of what the company’s does.

Business partners Amy Henderson and Ben Henderson have led the Firefly effort since 2004 and have recorded profits every year since.