LEHI — Ask any entrepreneur and you'll hear that growing a new company from scratch is an uphill battle, regardless of your product or service, and the adage that success is "1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration" is one that has sprung directly from the struggles of the startup world.
For Utah's Podium, one can only imagine the work behind its growth rate over the last three years, a staggering 13,645 percent, that has landed it in the No. 13 spot on the just-released Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S.
The company shared that news Wednesday at an event to celebrate the grand opening of its brand-new, $10 million, 125,000-square-foot headquarters in Lehi. Podium co-founder and CEO Eric Rea told the Deseret News that the rate at which his company has expanded has been breathtaking.
"It's a little bit surreal," Rea said. "I just think back to 3 1/2 years ago, operating the business out of a spare bedroom in my apartment and fast-forward to becoming the 13th fastest-growing business in America. It's pretty amazing."
The company specializes in helping offline businesses attract, communicate with and retain customers through the careful management of their online presences. Podium has built a client list numbering over 20,000, and its platform is generating more than 4 million customer/business interactions every month.
The just completed Lehi office will be the new home for Podium's current roster of 350 employees, but Rea noted the company is on track to hire an additional 400 employees by 2020.
Podium's potential was spotted early by Utah venture capital firm Peak Ventures, and Peak Managing Partner Sid Krommenhoek joined Rea, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and others for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday. He noted that even for the sometimes hyper-velocity tech realm, Podium is a unique performer.
"There are companies that take decades to accomplish what Podium has accomplished," Krommenhoek said. "There's something extra about how Podium has done it."
That extra, Rea noted, has been about never resting on laurels or feeling satisfied with the status quo.
"Our goal continues to be how to modernize the way business happens locally," Rea said. "We have so much more to do … and so much opportunity ahead of us."
That view appears to be one shared by the heavy-hitting investors who have been drawn to the company. Podium has attracted over $90 million in venture investment, with the latest infusion coming earlier this summer via a $60 million round led by Silicon Valley's Institutional Venture Partners, with participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures), Accel, Summit Partners and Y Combinator.
The company has also earned the support of Utah's Governor's Office of Economic Development. In June, the agency granted Podium a $1.1 million, post-performance tax credit on the company's anticipated expenditures of $124.7 million in wages over the next five years.
In a statement, Inc. Editor-in-Chief James Ledbetter said Podium's success reflects the incredible drive of its founders and employees.
"If your company is on the Inc. 5000, it's unparalleled recognition of your years of hard work and sacrifice," Ledbetter said. "The lines of business may come and go, or come and stay. What doesn't change is the way entrepreneurs create and accelerate the forces that shape our lives."