Building a Base of Tech Talent
Brian Platz and Andrew Filipowski have been building technology companies together for 20 years. Their latest venture, a database management company called Fluree, was co-founded by the two business partners five years ago in Winston-Salem.
As is the case for many startups, the idea for Fluree grew from recognizing a problem. Platz and Filipowski both have a background in data management and realized the need for companies to utilize data in smarter ways.
“We really wanted to focus on building a new platform for the modern challenges surrounding data and information, which has changed drastically over the last 10 years,” said Platz.
Modern issues like data privacy and ownership, artificial intelligence, and data integrity all factored into their plans for Fluree. Having scrapped and re-built the company seven times, Platz and Filipowski wanted to make sure they got everything right.
“We have a platform that allows people to get more value out of the data they have,” said Platz. “Lots of organizations are collecting immense amounts of data, but they can’t get any leverage from it. Our focus is on strategically building from the data perspective and maximizing the value from it. We call this a ‘data-first’ approach.”
Fluree currently employs 15 people, 10 of which are located directly in Winston-Salem in their office at Bailey Power Plant.
Platz says that the pool of tech talent in Winston-Salem continues to grow, and more companies are allowing remote work which means people can live anywhere they want. If someone wants to work in tech, they don’t necessarily have to live in San Francisco.
“We believe that Winston-Salem is a great place where a company can be formally headquartered. It’s a great community and it keeps getting better and better as more investment happens. There is easy access to leadership both in the private and public sector, including local universities.”
Platz says that Winston-Salem’s ample resources have helped them to grow Fluree. Some of these resources include excellent entrepreneurship and tech initiatives, which Kevin Doubleday, communications director at Fluree, is directly involved with. Doubleday co-hosts the “Tech Slam ‘N Eggs” event at Flywheel, a co-working space.
Platz’s advice to someone considering starting a business in Winston-Salem is to get involved with local leadership and look into incentive programs.
“Get involved with the community. There are a lot of resources here that did not exist five or six years ago. Take advantage of those resources because they can grow anyone’s business potential.”
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