Local tech industry veterans Bill Godfrey and Mark Hill have been heavily involved in Carmel-based Lumavate LLC ever since the software-as-a-service firm was founded in mid-2015. But, until recently, the involvement didn’t extend to day-to-day operations.
That’s now changed, the company announced Wednesday, with Hill becoming Lumavate’s CEO and Godfrey becoming vice president of business development.Godfrey and Hill think their full-time involvement is needed to take the 20-employee firm to the next level.
Godfrey, 49, is best known as the co-founder and former CEO of Aprimo Inc., an Indianapolis tech firm that was sold to Dayton, Ohio-based Teradata Corp. for $525 million in 2010.
Godfrey co-founded Lumavate and serves as chairman of the board.
Hill, 61, co-founded financial software firm Baker Hill in Carmel in 1983 and sold it to Experian PLC for an estimated $75 million in 2005. He was an original investor in Lumavate and joined the firm’s board of managers in August.
Hill will replace former CEO Paul McGrath, who left in July by “mutual decision,” according to Godfrey. Godfrey said McGrath was a good fit for a company in its formative stages, but Hill is “better-suited” for leading a larger tech firm.
Since selling Baker Hill, Hill has been busy running his local private tech investment firm Collina Ventures LLC and serving on numerous corporate boards and trade group boards.
He hasn’t been involved in full-time operations at a tech company in about a dozen years, but said he's missed it, especially the opportunity to “affect things directly” on a day-to-day basis.
Hill and Godfrey invest in and mentor numerous early-stage tech companies, but they said few have been as compelling as Lumavate.
“I don’t see many opportunities coming across my desk that have this kind of potential,” Hill said.
Godfrey and several former Aprimo execs started Lumavate as a subscription-based software-as-a-service firm that focused on helping manufacturing customers create interactive solutions for their end-users.
It got a big boost in early 2017 when it raised $2 million in a venture capital round that was led by former Interactive Intelligence CEO Don Brown.
The company now offers clients a platform for building cloud-based mobile apps and services. The platform lets companies deliver personalized mobile experiences to their customers.
Lumavate has about a dozen clients and plans to add another dozen major customers this year. In addition to manufacturers, the firm is targeting clients in construction, entertainment, hospitality, financial services, software engineering, retail, commercial printing, marketing and systems integration.
Lumavate signed an incentives agreement with the state in 2016 to create up to 93 high-wage jobs by the end of 2020. The company had nine employees at the time. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered the firm up to $1.3 million conditional tax credits if it could meet those hiring goals.
Godfrey said the company is on pace to meet those job projections. New employees will come in sales, advisory services, software engineering and marketing.
Hill said Lumavate is working to dispel the idea that a mobile app is strictly a program that somebody downloads on a phone. Clients are relying more and more on “progressive web apps,” which include more accessible activation methods, including near-field communication (NFC) tags, quick response (QR) codes and text-in options.
“There is a fundamental shift happening in mobile technology, and it’s affecting how companies interact with consumers on mobile devices,” Hill said. “Lumavate is positioned to help brands transform their mobile strategies and truly think differently about what mobile means for their
Hill said “customer acquisition” will be his biggest focus as CEO. He said his contacts in the industry give him an edge at attracting talent, and his track record (and Godfrey’s) of leading large tech companies give them credibility.
“Bill and I together get people’s attention,” he said.