Game, app and website developer BitLoft hires ‘unicorn employees’
The term unicorn appears frequently in tech, but at BitLoft, it’s part of the company. The Indianapolis-based consulting firm takes to heart the concept of a unicorn employee: someone who can hammer through technical or creative components of a build and then turn around and create the full customer experience for clients with equal aplomb.
While such an employee could find a home at many tech companies around Indiana, BitLoft relies upon unicorns to accomplish the demanding work across its varied business lines. The careful selection of this talent and the infusion of key cultural components has contributed to BitLoft’s success in establishing itself within a busy consulting space.
Leaning into consulting with unique business segments
When the company opened its doors as a single-service firm called A Simple Reminder in 2009, its focus was text messaging. In the years since, demand for custom web application development soared and the company went full-bore into the space. BitLoft became the BitLoft of today in 2017, when it leaned heavily into its consulting practice.
Following that pivot, the Agile methodology took deep roots into BitLoft’s entire management ethos. Born from the challenges inherent in simultaneously managing its many projects, the company set out in the spring of 2018 to upskill talent in Agile and got more than 30 team members trained in Agile methodology and Scrum practices. “I think the most salient feature of our shift to Agile has been the way that we’ve really brought in our customers as much as possible,” said Travis Lynch, executive vice president of business development at BitLoft.
Standing out to these clients is a monumental task, especially when considering just how many consulting agencies there are. Concepts like Agile assist in that endeavor, as does the type of clients and work BitLoft targets. “The agency space that we operate in is very crowded; there’s a lot of people doing it,” said Travis. “We like to think we’ve got a niche approach to it. In addition to our Agile approach, we bring that extra sort of Hollywood level to whatever it is that we do.”
While we at TechPoint know BitLoft for their Hollywood-level video production capabilities–a fast-growing segment of the company’s business–the company’s core services also include websites, web applications and game development (you may have noticed BitLoft in our recent esports story). Its clientele, currently numbering about 40 organizations, are as diverse as its services: College Humor, Beyond Monumental, the Indiana Pacers, and the City of Carmel have all engaged BitLoft.
Another of BitLoft’s standout elements is its game development segment. For several years, BitLoft has been developing an educational video game, The Crystal Core. The game serves up content in algebra, biology, English and U.S. history to students who can earn course credit toward their high school diplomas. Travis says the narrative element of the game sets it apart and creates a more immersive experience to engage students. While the game dev team is working through final development stages, most of the development has taken place in BitLoft’s newest office, located in Carmel. That space also includes Player One Esports and Evolve Youth Esports, with which BitLoft shares a common ancestry.
Deliberate culture. Strong company growth.
The unique product blend BitLoft boasts also typifies the kind of company culture it has set out to create. The culture embraces its uniqueness—the Super Mario Bros.-themed artwork by the front door will certainly catch your eye, and you may have meetings set between the House Stark banner and design specs for the Millennium Falcon. “We’re accepting of people’s uniqueness, but we also hold people accountable and want them to be their best selves. From a leadership perspective, it’s a balance of nurturing and challenging,” said Travis.
Creating this culture necessitates picky hiring for others to join the roughly 30 BitLoft team members. “I always ask my senior managers when we’re at the point of hiring, would you want to be stuck in an airport for six hours with this person? That question was especially relevant for some of our game devs traveling to Dallas last fall,” said Travis. That feeds into the work environment in which these unicorns will operate. “We hire smart, talented people, and give them enough lateral latitude to be able to do the things that they need to.”
In the past, BitLoft has chosen not to seek outside funding, instead relying on revenue streams to grow–and grow they have. New hires are filling the ranks throughout the company and are activating more opportunities for the sales pipeline–the lifeblood of any consulting firm.
It’s this business development growth that’ll springboard BitLoft into its future as a unifying agent between the product side and the agency side, the niche it has carved out of the consulting space. Travis sees great potential in furthering this work. “I want us to make our mark on the tech consulting and marketing agency landscape, locally and regionally to an extent, and then find other partners who have good ideas for products,” he said. “We’re a creative development partner, and our doors are open. We want to meet you.”