Software-design firm finding mojo

There are many reasons why a technology company would want to move to downtown Providence. They include being close to the tech community, networking with potential clients and perks such as the culinary delights of the city. More

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Software-design firm finding mojo

PBN PHOTO/HILARY ROSENTHAL
KICKING BACK: Some of the staff members at MoJo Tech, from left: owner Nick Kishfy, developer Matt Forsyth, developer Dave Dufresne and Art Director Andrew Shedd. The company offers a number of amenities, including ping-pong, espresso, a bike garage and a dog-friendly atmosphere.
Posted 2/6/12

There are many reasons why a technology company would want to move to downtown Providence. They include being close to the tech community, networking with potential clients and perks such as the culinary delights of the city.

But, for Nick Kishfy, founder and CEO of MoJo Tech, there was no deal if he couldn’t find a landlord that would allow Emma, his yellow lab, to come with him to work.

Dog-friendliness is just one of the perks of working at the software design and development company that Nick started – and funded – as a one-man business that’s growing but still in what he calls its “by the bootstraps” phase.

Kishfy attracts talent with a simple philosophy – he cares about the “things that matter” to the business and not the things that don’t – i.e., not what hours his employees work or how they dress. Perks at the new 3,000-square-foot space at 127 Dorrance St. include a ping-pong table, espresso machine, catered lunches, copy room-turned-bike garage and a type of beer-of-the-month club.

Before founding MoJo Tech, Kishfy suffered his share of trials and tribulations trying to launch products.

“It’s kind of romantic to think ‘Oh, man I’m going to be building the next Facebook or Twitter,’ ” Kishfy said. “Technically, [the products] were successes but it was kind of discouraging because you worked really hard on something and then you sell it. You didn’t hit a grand slam … you did well – but it’s just not satisfying.

“I was kind of tired of this build-it-and-exit it idea; I was really good at effectuating someone else’s idea,” he said.

Putting two and two together, “That was how MoJo Tech was born. We have the ability to build it. It’s up to them to make sure it’s a good idea,” he explained.

Kishfy started his company at an office in Warren and has grown it to a staff of 18 people, while looking to recruit more. Since he wasn’t looking for venture capital, he didn’t need to be in San Francisco or New York to launch the business.

“It was challenging to hire engineers but I think it’s challenging to hire engineers everywhere, I don’t think that’s unique to Providence,” he said.

“I think it has been good to be in [Rhode Island] because of knowing everybody. … In Boston or San Francisco, we’d be one of so many small companies that no one’s ever heard of. In [Rhode Island] most people know who we are,” he added.

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