In recent years, the ever-increasing technological advancements and the rapid shift towards digitization have accelerated numerous opportunities for innovation. Several new startups are emerging to meet the changing demands of the tech-savvy world. CROOW, a Tampa, Florida-based software company has made the most of these increasing opportunities. CROOW has been recently selected as one of the Top 10 Innovative Companies, 2021 by Mirror Review.
A Visionary Paving the Path
While building his first venture—digital agency Sparxoo—into a back-to-back INC 5000 company, David Capece saw the opportunity for disruptive growth and innovation. In 2020—just before the pandemic—David established CROOW to solve the major pain points in the professional services industry.
The company was established with the mission to unify business leaders, project managers, and creative into high-performing teams for easy, fun, and profitable work. David and his team selected a pirate-themed brand to give a nod to their home base in Tampa, Florida, and to demonstrate the positive, playful attitude of the company.
Talking about his role as the Founder and CEO of CROOW, David asserts, “My role is to be a visionary, but in being one, also being able to bring that vision to life through overseeing the product and our go-to-market.”
Breaking Barriers, Accelerating Growth
CROOW is designed to be the next generation of software that enables companies to break through barriers and accelerate growth. It is more than a project management platform, it is a performance management platform that includes everything needed to manage a creative or services organization. The company is built on five critical philosophies that will help any firm unite and conquer—to unify, create, operate, automate, and accelerate. CROOW’s team has evaluated the pain points of virtual collaboration and addressed them directly by taking a market-based approach.
The CROOW project management software platform has been incubated through agencies, marketing organizations, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Beyond the platform’s best-in-class project management features, it shines with advanced collaboration and business intelligence designed for the creative class. It helps leaders predict upcoming work, optimize resources, and make smart decisions faster. In the short span of around two years since its inception, CROOW has already been named one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in Tampa Bay.
Since its inception, innovation has been at the center of the development and improvement of CROOW. The company’s innovation is around how open and collaborative the platform is. CROOW focuses on team and business management instead of siloed project management. Thus, it can unify teams—including extended teams like freelancers, partners, and clients.
Besides this, CROOW’s primary innovation has been in tying together all the data that yields into business intelligence. It helps companies check their to-do lists as well as helps their entire team understand the workflow so that they can improve and become more efficient. David wanted to ensure that functionality did not trump form with his platform, however, his team recognizes the importance of design aesthetics and user interface when it comes to tool adoption and continued usage.
Pandemic: A Blessing in Disguise
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic—only 9 months after the inception of CROOW with the product still in development—meant David had to choose between pausing the venture or carrying forward. Surprisingly, David decided to accelerate the product development and moved up the product launch in the face of the looming global crisis.
However, the decision paid off. The innovative solution David had been developing with his team suddenly became a bigger necessity in the age of the pandemic and work-from-home mandates. David, alongside the CROOW team buckled down, leveled up, and expedited the completion and go-to-market for CROOW.
Surmounting the Challenges
Starting a business comes with numerous challenges. Early-stage companies often tackle the challenge of how much they need to accomplish with such limited funding and resources. “With this, it is really about being smart about how we allocate our investment and ensuring that each of our team members is up for a challenge of being productive and impactful ahead of the curve,” says David.
Brand recognition is another challenge faced by multiple startups. CROOW is working on establishing its brand and product in the competitive space. With that, it is focusing on differentiating and having different go-to-market strategies. One of these innovative strategies is to write a book about the experience of growing a business. David and co-author Doug Pace have recently released “Level Up”—a book that guides business leaders through the steps of growing a business from 10 employees to more than 100.
In addition to the book release, CROOW has several enhancements coming its way. Noticing that growing organizations need to improve performance through project automation and business intelligence, the company has recently added reporting and intelligence into its platform. In mere two years, CROOW has received numerous achievements. Its alpha version went to the market in the first year, followed closely by beta and launch of a complex product for early adopters. “We put out a product that is on par with products created by billion-dollar companies,” adds David.
Helping and Supporting Teams
David believes that the trends towards remote work and leveraging technology are here to stay. He adds that 2021 will be different from last year as it will witness a return to growth. According to him, unemployment may be a little high right now, but as employment rates get back to normal, the most talented candidates want roles that minimize getting stuck in the rut of low-value tasks that could be automated.
Furthermore, there will be more pressure to automate and remove low-value tasks. This could also tie into team sizes as companies are dealing with smaller teams. Having to do more with fewer resources makes project management essential. Companies will scale up, needing a tool that will scale with them. Catering to this need, CROOW is aiming to help and support teams.
Read full issue: The 10 Innovative Companies of 2021