In the leadup to the 2018 Best of Tech Awards, we asked one of last year’s winners to tell us how their business has changed during the past year. This update focuses on Futuri Media, the 2017 Tech Company of the Year Award winner.
What a thrill it was for Futuri Media to be named OHTec’s 2017 Tech Company of the Year! Ever since we launched our company out of a tiny Rocky River office in 2009, Futuri has maintained a deep belief in the quality, passion, and promise of the Northeast Ohio technology community. Today, we employ nearly 100 people, our SaaS technology solutions are relied on by more than 1,000 broadcasters in 20 countries worldwide, and all of this happens right here in Cleveland. That’s a clear testament to fact that Northeast Ohio’s technology industry is thriving, and we’re incredibly proud to be leaders in this community.
In the months since receiving OHTec’s 2017 Tech Company of the Year honor, Futuri Media has continued our rapid growth. In August, Futuri was named to the Inc. 5000 List of America’s fastest-growing private companies for the fourth consecutive year, and this year, we took the coveted #1 spot for percentage of three-year revenue growth among all Northeast Ohio software firms. Obviously, revenue growth means that we can hire more people to create, market, sell, and train partners on Futuri’s innovative SaaS technology solutions, so we’re very focused on an Inc. 5000 five-peat in 2018.
Speaking of hiring more people, the size of our team has more than tripled in the past three years, and we’re currently hiring for several new positions. We’re sure that many who have worked in a fast-growing startup environment know that growing pains frequently manifest themselves in the office, in the form of a lack of personal space. It’s hard to do brilliant work when you’re packed in like sardines! So this year, after working from a series of spaces that couldn’t accommodate our faster-than-anticipated growth, we moved into a new headquarters.
On the product side, our incredible technology team once again outdid themselves by creating, maintaining, and constantly improving on dozens of new features, and in some cases, new products. Our entire family of audience engagement and sales SaaS technology solutions has been deployed around the world - interactive broadcasting tool #engage; podcasting and on-demand platform POST; sales research and data visualization app TopLine; data-driven story discovery tool TopicPulse; high-quality Futuri Streaming; our smart speaker skills division, Futuri Voice; and our app division, Futuri Mobile.
POST, our podcasting and on-demand audio platform, was one of our highest-growth products. While this might sound unsurprising to anyone who’s familiar with the incredibly fast pace of growth in the streaming audio market - a recent Nielsen Audio report showed that 2017 saw a 59% increase in year-over-year on-demand audio streams - we built POST to stand out in a very crowded technology market. For example, understanding that visuals are a great driver for on-demand audio consumption - and that an increasing number of brands are getting fined for unauthorized usage of copyrighted photos - we built a library of fully-licensed images into the product.
We completely redesigned TopicPulse, our real-time story discovery tool that delivers audience-specific insights based on engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and 100k+ sources of verified news sources. As one of our TopicPulse partners, Emily Stone at Fox 5 DC, recently said during a panel at a convention of television executives, “You used to go into your news meeting with a stack of papers...you’d assign your reporters, and you’d start your day. Now, everything would be different by the time you printed the paper.” Media has never been in such a period of rapid change, and it’s critical that the art of story selection be paired with the science that tools like TopicPulse provides. Now, broadcasters can see in real time not only which stories are predicted to go viral with the specific demographic they target, but they can also see which stories their audience is tiring of, and find fresh angles on ongoing stories to keep their audiences engaged.
We’re committed to generating strong ROI for our partners. In January, we launched the Futuri Ad Network to help our partners take better advantage of on-demand audio growth. Now, POST and Futuri Streaming clients have very flexible ad insertion options, where they can sell all of their advertising inventory, some of their inventory, or none of it. Inventory is available through the Futuri Ad Network and our clients are compensated for their time. Of all the reasons we’re excited about this, it’s gratifying that our technology now gives our partners direct access to revenue opportunities.
Futuri is well positioned for another banner year. There are several new product developments and partnerships that will be announced over the coming months, and as always, we continue to cultivate a company culture centered around trust, speed, passion, and proactivity. We’ve consistently found that the best talent thrives in that type of culture.
We’re very much looking forward to future events OHTec and its technology partners have in store! It’s so important to take the time to celebrate Northeast Ohio’s incredible technology community. We’re a fast-moving, forward-thinking, change-minded group of people, and to see this sector booming is incredibly gratifying. And we love all the opportunities Tech Week provides for us to meet our peers, share ideas, talk about how what we’re doing to shape the future, and encourage each other.
Learn more about Tech Week, of which the Best of Tech Awards is a part, by clicking here.