When childhood buddies Thomas H. Karren, ’96, and Douglas O. Baird, ’95, decided to begin their own software consulting business, Karren expected run-away success. Along with college friend Ty J. Allen, ’95, they founded WingateWeb in 1998.
The company wasn’t quite a runaway success—”It’s been more challenging than I thought it would be,” Karren says—but it has nonetheless grown remarkably in the past six years, ultimately achieving a desirable spot in a niche market.
With Karren doing the programming, Allen doing sales and setting up a business structure, and Baird busy writing the Web pages, WingateWeb had a solid first year. Within a few weeks after starting the company, the men had quit their other jobs and were focusing on their own business full-time, creating custom-made software for companies in need of individualized programming.
By 2000 WingateWeb had become a product-driven company, selling its software to conference planners. Karren attributes much of the steady success of WingateWeb to the company’s close ties to BYU.
“As we’ve grown and gotten busy, we’ve been able to hire really talented people who graduate from BYU,” Karren says. “We’ve had consistent growth, and a key determining factor has been working with BYU students.”