Nick Kishfy is the founder and CEO of MojoTech, a Providence-based Web and mobile app developer built on the premise of turning their clients’ ideas into well-executed and profitable apps.
Rising from a startup on Kishfy’s patio in 2008 to a $2.4 million business last year, MojoTech was named one of PBN’s fastest-growing Rhode Island companies of 2013, and recently relocated its headquarters to roomier office in downtown Providence.
Kishfy spoke with PBN about the business model that has brought his company so much success, as well as his plans for the future.
PBN: What has been your recipe for success in bringing other people’s ideas to life?
KISHFY: We’ve been incredibly fortunate to grow so quickly, but our success is built on the success of our clients; we grow when they do. We haven’t taken a dime of investment, and we’ve only hired new employees when our client needs warrant it. Our team is talented, dedicated and passionate about not only building beautiful apps or innovative ones, but successful ones. By engineering our clients’ growth, we’ve been able to accelerate our own.
PBN: What is MojoTech’s business model? Do you only charge customers an upfront fee, or does MojoTech receive royalties from the companies that draw revenue from MojoTech-developed apps?
KISHFY: The traditional agency model is to map out the scope of a large project, set a fee and build to that blueprint. Unfortunately, this is almost never in the client’s best interest. Everything in business is fluid: goals, needs and budgets all change, even over the course of a couple of months.
Our business model reflects that. When we start an engagement with a client, we assign a set number of team members – designers, developers and project managers – to them based on the project needs and budget. Clients are billed based on the number of team members (we call this “Team Strength”) dedicated to them. Over the course of the project, it’s very easy to adjust a client’s Team Strength to fit their needs.
PBN: Earlier this year, MojoTech launched a New York office, and just a couple of weeks ago relocated its headquarters to a new office at 56 Exchange Terrace in Providence. Do you see the company branching out to more locations in the future if MojoTech keeps growing?
KISHFY: It’s certainly possible. The move to New York was a reactive one, based on the growing number of clients we’re serving there. If we begin to see the same kind of demand in other markets, we’ll consider opening offices there.
PBN: In November, MojoTech celebrated its 100th product launch. When a company pitches you on a new idea for a web or mobile app, how do you evaluate whether it has to potential to be successful?
KISHFY: If an idea is obviously weak, especially if we’ve seen similar ideas fail before for reasons beyond execution, we’ll generally take a pass.
With that said, this happens quite rarely. I think that many ideas – more than most people think – have the potential to be successful. Success is predicated far more on the quality of execution than the perceived quality of the original idea. We’re confident that our team can help turn most decent ideas into successful products, and we’re more focused on that than filtering out potential failures.
PBN: Where would you like to see MojoTech a year from now?
KISHFY: Twelve months is not a long time, though if MojoTech continues to grow at the same rate as we have this past year, we’ll be very happy.
In our early years, our focus was on helping young startups turn their ideas into businesses. We still love to work with startups, and that’s the bulk of what we do. As we’ve grown, however, we’ve been able to leverage our new resources to bring our services to larger, more established enterprises, helping them apply nimble startup thinking to innovation. We’re excited to continue to grow that side of our business over the coming months, and our ability to do that will help define our success a year from now.