Counterpart — A brand new name for software development 25 years in the making
Counterpart is a custom software solutions company that takes its name to heart. They don’t build extravagant enterprise applications when a client needs something much more streamlined, and they refer about a million dollars worth of work to other local businesses every year because they care more about “fit” than financials. Relationships and the work are what drive this Northeast side team of 19 end-to-end software developers on a day to day basis.
While Counterpart might not be a brand that’s immediately familiar; it’s a new name for a company that’s been part of Indy’s tech community fabric for 25 years.
Counterpart used to be known as WDD, which was named for its three original founders who worked together at AT&T Bell Labs, and two of whom still work for the company. They sold the firm to three longtime employees Jason Bourg, Matt James and Tyler Smith in 2013. With the addition of Chief Strategy Officer Drew Linn, Counterpart began building on its strong heritage and earning its own identity with clients and community partners.
“Mentoring the next generation, sharing our knowledge and expertise with the community — whether it’s with paying clients or not — that’s who we naturally are as people and it’s now reflected in our name, Counterpart.”
A broad mix of companies and organizations rely on Counterpart to help solve complex business process problems with technology, including large healthcare systems like Community Health Network and local, independent scratch bakeries like Long’s. Though Counterpart doesn’t have a specialty field, they do have an affinity for the nonprofit sector, large associations in particular.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana (BBBSCI), for example, partnered with Counterpart to create “The Big App” based on a major study and data project that highlighted a need for Bigs to be more intentional about their time with their Littles. Just a few months after launching the app, Counterpart was invited to showcase the project at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America National Conference. Since then, The Big App has helped bring in $75,000 worth of new sponsorship opportunities to BBBSCI, four other agencies have subscribed to the app for an annual subscription fee, and several others are in conversations to onboard in 2018.
Counterpart has also worked with the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) on a number of projects over a span of nearly 10 years. Most recently, the NPCA was facing serious tech challenges and mounting costs with an off-the-shelf, legacy database platform. They partnered with Counterpart to create “Phoenix,” a comprehensive custom solution that fit seamlessly into their workflow and allowed the organization to more efficiently and better serve its members, and all at a price comparable to buying an off-the-shelf product that would’ve required expensive customization, and licensing fees down the road.
The nonprofit niche was a catalyst that really helped Bourg and Linn develop their unique go-to-market strategy that eschews typical transactional approaches and focuses instead on building relationships, becoming part of the organizations they work with, and helping to solve big problems.
Drew LinnChief Strategy Officer
“I lost count of how many people told us ‘Counterpart IS you,’ and that’s something we’re just really humbled by and very proud of inside the company.”
It’s worth noting that the Counterpart company culture is as focused on employee relationships as it is with client relationships. Employees have unlimited vacation, including the freedom to volunteer within the community. Counterpart also has transparent billing and compensation as well as a healthy profit-sharing schedule.
According to Bourg, “our industry is usually on the cutting edge, even in the area of human resources and fringe benefits, and at Counterpart we were leading the way with things like unlimited vacation, open books and compensation transparency years before it was a ‘thing.’”
Being a really great place to work is something the Counterpart partners care about deeply. It’s one of the things that really sets them apart. Counterpart doesn’t promise the delivery of products; they promise the solving of problems.
“I don’t think there’s any other company out here doing things quite the way we are and we’re looking for clients who value the same things we do,” Bourg said. “We don’t try to sell clients, we try to get to know them, understand their business and build something together. Anyone can build a piece of software for you, but not everyone can build the kind of trust and relationships that are necessary to solve your problems and help you succeed,” Bourg said.