Offering salaries ranging between $70,000 and $90,000 a year, Owen (right) said he is attracting young software developers who are attracted to West Michigan's laid-back and affordable lifestyle instead of the higher costs associated with living and working in coastal regions. Owen expects to make another 20 hires this year, says employees are offered equity in the company as part of their compensation.
Blue Medora is making a name for itself as a company whose software monitors the performance of big databases and predicts when those databases are prone to failure or about to fail, explains Owen . Clients like Starbucks, JP Morgan Chase, British Telecom and Honeywell has Blue Medora make "dashboard" programs for companies that need to keep on top of their data centres and their "clouds." Losing access to a database even for minutes can be costly notes Owen.
With annual sales approaching $10 million, Blue Medora also is finding success in European and Asian markets, said. "Forty-five percent of our revenue comes from overseas," he said. Starting from its roots in the basement of Grand Rapids-based Atomic Object, Blue Medora has raised $14.7 million in capital, most recently through a series of investments that raised $8.6 million. Investors include Grand Rapids-based Start Garden, Holland-based Grand Angels and Ann Arbor-based eLab Ventures and the company counts VMWare of Pala Alto, Calif. among its latest investors.
Owen graduated from Central Michigan University in 1994 and worked for IBM before coming to Grand Rapids. He said Blue Medora's local roots helped them get started. Now they are benefiting from a movement among venture capitalists that favours investing in Midwestern startups. West Michigan's image as a center for information technology was bolstered last year when Switch, a Nevada-based data centre, announced it was acquiring the former Steelcase pyramid in Gaines Township to serve the eastern half of the United States. Although Blue Medora does not compete with Switch, Owen said its arrival will bring more talent to West Michigan and make his company more attractive to young programmers.
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