SARATOGA SPRINGS – Behind a large gray, unmarked door on Phila Street is a nearly two-year-old software and web design company MadGlory. Out of view of passerby, it is a fast-growing company that was a small offshoot of yet another tech startup. Today the company employs 20 individuals and is able to accept projects at discretion – typically ones that serve between 5 million – 20 million customers.
Shipping projects with this extensive reach is a “sweet spot” for their company’s enthusiasm, teamwork and professionalism, said Brian Corrigan, MadGlory president. However, this year Corrigan; Clarke Foley, director of operations; and Seth Louey, creative director, created the “Level Up: Creative Tech Conference 2014” scheduled for October 8 and 9 and what is intended to be the spark that ignites the community of Saratoga Springs and its talent to set the ground work for attracting and retaining tech startups closer to home.
After only having announced the conference a week ago, Corrigan said that word has already spread. They are speaking with “big brains” such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to be guests at the event.
With a planned 200 ticket capacity and about eight to 12 keynote local and national speakers, the responses that MadGlory has received have only confirmed interest in the creative technology field. The type of experience the event is expected to encompass is to be a personable one, allowing for plenty of opportunities for people to connect, as well as give the chance for local businesses to represent themselves alongside some of the “big” invitees.
“What better way to inspire people than to show them a bunch of people who already did it (developed careers/companies in web technology); people they can work with to bring outside companies in,” Corrigan said. “We want to show them this area. The amount of engineering talent that bleeds out of this area every year is astounding. We sent former employees to Microsoft, Brightcove, Blizzard, Activision, Disney and SoundCloud. We've got people everywhere that have just left, and it's too bad because it's a really nice place to live.”
The break-neck speed by which MadGlory has progressed since it was established July 11, 2012, and whose products have reached 55 million users in 145 countries for publishers such as Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Riot Games and Atari was attributed to the aspect of teamwork balanced with individual drive to do successful work.
At MadGlory, everyone is outdoing you all the time, but in a good way, Foley said. “It’s a friendly competition and a collective goal.”
As MadGlory continues to keep its door revolving; filling a niche in the professional fields of software design, programming languages and web design, from their location in Saratoga Springs but shipping projects out to customers nationally and internationally, they are looking to help establish the reputation of having infrastructure to support tech startups in the Spa city.
Establishing that kind reputation is the first step to addressing the disconnect between talent resources and job opportunities, Chris Wink said, editor of Technical.ly, a publication that covers early stage tech companies in Baltimore, an area which attracted two tech startups from New York within the last several months. “One thing you see is that across the country in all markets and regions is the interest in technology, its development and finding a regional distinction.”
Stephen Wilcox, head of interactive group at Fingerpaint and a Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau board member is helping MadGlory with the logistical aspect of the conference. He recalled an earlier discussion with Corrigan about the option of hosting “Level Up” in Troy, as opposed to Saratoga Springs, as a tech-centered community and event host. (See correction at end of story)
“There are other companies making those kinds of decisions, and it has a lot to do with the support of what is around as far as getting jobs,” Wilcox said. “There is a groundswell going on, and this conference is a big part of bringing national attention to Saratoga Springs as a tech destination.”
Robert Manasier, CEO of In Focus Brands, a company that has previously raised millions for tech startups in Saratoga Springs as well as started them, said: “There is a lot of talent here but not a lot of investment. Now, you have state government involved and it’s helping to create traction in the area. Most of our companies weren’t local in the beginning. It takes time to drive the conversation and the collaboration that’s needed.”
Correction: Stephen Wilcox is aiding MadGlory with the logistical aspect of the conference, but his quote was in regards to MadGlory moving their company to Saratoga Springs, not the conference itself 'Level Up'.
Article before correction said that Robert Manasier was the director of Diamond Point Advisory Group -this is incorrect. Diamond Group was sold and Manasier is now currently the CEO of In Focus Brands.