50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2021
The Silicon Review
“We integrate project management, collaboration, and business intelligence through comprehensive features including requests, approvals, task tracking, and design boards.”
Now more than ever, project management is an essential service to businesses across industries. As teams expand to work remotely and globally, project management’s importance heightens for those companies who want to maintain peak performance. This is particularly true of the marketing field, where time and task management collide with collaboration. Because of this, agency leaders are in search of a single platform for project management and overall agency financials. According to a recent SoDA Report on Agency Operating Practices, the top four capabilities an agency management system must-have in the next two years are an integrated resource plan with revenue forecast (79 percent), an overview of resource availability and skills (52 percent), net revenue forecasting reports (45 percent), and automated alerts when a project goes over budget (39 percent).
Out of this environment, CROOW was born. CROOW is a project management platform with creative collaboration and data analysis at its core. It was established in 2019 by founder and CEO David Capece to solve an industry problem. David, who is also the CEO of the digital marketing agency Sparxoo, was looking for project management software to use with his team.
David Capece spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
“We ran into a pain point in our growth where there was a need for a software solution, but a gap in the market that was an industry-wide problem.”
“Project management can’t act in a silo—it needs to be connected to business intelligence and collaboration. We needed to attack that gap of collaboration, and we did so in the form of a creative review and commenting system.”
CROOW is designed to be the next generation of software that enables companies to breakthrough barriers and accelerate growth. It is more than a project management platform. It is a performance management platform that includes everything you need to manage a creative or services organization. “We integrate project management, collaboration, and business intelligence through comprehensive features including requests, approvals, task tracking, and design boards.”
What truly sets CROOW apart is how nimble the team is. “We’re very market-focused, always listening to feedback and quickly implementing solutions based on that feedback. Across the team, including our development team, we’re always thinking of the market need and pain points, and the end-user solutions.”
Of course, pain points are also a part of the life of a new business—and CROOW has experienced some. “The hurdles are a part of that journey of learning and better understanding the market. One of the main ones for us has been realizing how much the market wants integrated solutions rather than siloed functionality, which has helped us take our product much farther than we initially expected. Good isn’t always good enough, so we want to strive for improvement constantly.”
Along with the challenges, CROOW has experienced exciting success stories in its short time on the market. At CROOW, we had the good fortune of also having the operational management of Sparxoo, so we are able to quickly test and implement solutions in real-time with an award-winning digital agency.
“In implementing project management with business intelligence, the Sparxoo web, and mobile development team has been able to move from a position of having projects behind schedule and teammates burning out to having all projects on schedule or ahead of schedule, and currently no teammates overburdened.”
In addition to this success at Sparxoo, CROOW has partnered with the University of Florida Hatchery. The entrepreneur teams the Hatchery is incubating are going to be brought onto the platform, with seven total teams joining in May.
CROOW’s work culture is summarized by the company’s tagline. “Work like a captain, play like a pirate” is CROOW’s way of maintaining a fun and collaborative culture. And when it comes to teamwork, the team is all about “Unite & Conquer” —“We accomplish more together.”
The digital marketing industry continues to evolve, which brings with it new challenges. Throughout building up Sparxoo, David and his colleague Doug Pace (who built and sold Bayshore Solutions) recognized that there are different levels of growth in the digital agency space, and each level of growth comes with its challenges. The duo collaborated to write Level Up, which is a guide to taking your digital agency to the next level.
“As you go through levels of growth, there are common pain points. As you reach the team size of 10, you need to start to scale sales; at 25, put in repeatable processes; through 50, you need to have people in the form of a management team that oversees the delivery of work. To get through 100, you need to be focused on profitability and margins. Ultimately as you go past 100 employees, you need to look at partnerships, including acquisitions.”
By creating this playbook for business growth, David hopes to inspire future generations of business owners to create solutions to industry pain points.
What does the future hold for CROOW? According to David, it’s all about adoption. “We spent the first two years building out a best-in-class product. As we continue to evolve that product, we have begun to roll out the solutions to agencies, services organizations, tech incubators, and general marketing and creative teams. We’re now going out to the market to share the solution more broadly and accelerate the adoption of CROOW.”
As this growth accelerates, David and his team want to continue innovating and challenging their own solutions. “We’re not afraid to rework solutions to take them farther. We want to disrupt the industry and encourage bold thinking and new ideas. Ultimately, we believe that CROOW works better the more people that use it—there are network effects we want to bring into play.”
The Phenomenal Leader Upfront
David is an innovative leader who founded the INC 5000 award-winning digital agency Sparxoo. David is making his future mark as founder and CEO of CROOW. CROOW, which has been named one of the most innovative growing software companies, is a next-generation platform designed to help companies unify teams, automate processes, and deliver profitable work. David has over 20 years of digital leadership experience, including posts earlier in his career as head of marketing for ESPN.com and brand strategist at Interbrand. During his career, David has led strategic digital and innovation projects for Dr. Pepper Snapple, JP Morgan Chase, Tech Data, Comcast, and NBC.