Software Scene – four Eau Claire software companies that…

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WORK HARD ON THE SOFTWARE. Eau Claire software company Clearwater Labs is entirely founded and operated by UW-Eau Claire students.

If you live or work near Eau Claire, you know Jamf. You already know their success story. You already know how instrumental they have been, not just as a management tool for Apple, but as a community contributor, engine of economic development, tireless supporter of the arts, and a key player in Apple’s own history. ‘Clear water. 2000s.

But what about other Eau Claire software publishers? Where there is one success, there are countless others. For a workforce to thrive, for a software community to thrive, and for our community as a whole to thrive, it takes a diverse field of leaders, entrepreneurs, and starters who push, pull, grind, and overcome everything at the same time.

Here are four of the many Eau Claire software companies that aren’t Jamf, and what they do:

1. Applied Data Consultants and Elite EXTRA

ADC turns 23 this year and is headquartered in Eau Claire with branches on the East Coast and West Coast.

ADC’s team of 45 employees began as a geographic information systems consultant serving government and private industries with GIS services. Their app called WebGUIDE Xtreme (WGX) is a land information app used by about half of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

Their first product, called Elite EXTRA, was developed 11 years ago when a customer requested technology to track their routes and drivers. While there were other products on the market, most were prohibitively expensive, used older technology, and weren’t suited to this client’s workflow. Elite EXTRA was born and is now present in all states of the country, Canada, Mexico, Asia and growing.

“We really value our culture first,” said Susan Marcot, director of corporate projects. “We offer unlimited PTOs, company lunches and breakfasts, birthday trips, flexible working hours and scholarships for employees’ children. We will inaugurate a new building in a minimal building zone, rather than downtown. This allows team members to go for lunch breaks and play kubb, volleyball, basketball, croquet, and badminton on the ADC campus.

Applied Data Consultants started out in the automotive industry, but has expanded into any industry that is looking for optimized routes and real-time tracking of its service technicians, drivers and goods. With the Amazon effect being a big disruptor in the delivery industry, they are now entering the last mile, the global home delivery arena, and things are taking off there. They continue to use technology to make Elite EXTRA faster and more feature rich, which is why they changed their tagline this year to “Powering the Future”. View them online at adc4gis.com.

2. Clearwater Laboratories

Clearwater Labs is a 100% student-run software consulting company with the goal of delivering quality products and high-impact experiences. The organization’s mission is “to improve the lives of students through innovative technology.”
Founded in 2018, Clearwater Labs employs 10 UW-Eau Claire students who gain hands-on technology experience and will graduate with deep experience in business processes and software development. Their unique model allows students to innovate and take risks by developing solutions and connecting with the software industry in a non-academic setting.

“My goal for this was to create something that would empower students to be innovators, and for me to learn how to effectively manage a team of students,” said Clearwater Labs co-founder Alex Stout, in an article on the UWEC website.
Their first project was to develop software called Parking Notifier that helps students learn about other side’s parking policies and when they are in effect. Their next project is an “energy dashboard” in collaboration with the student office of sustainable development. As they grow, Clearwater Labs will reach out to regional companies to develop partnerships that will be mutually beneficial for companies and students who have the opportunity to work on software projects provided by these companies.

Clearwater Labs operates out of the Ivy Creatives coworking space in downtown Eau Claire. Learn more on their LinkedIn page (www.linkedin.com/company/clearwater-labs) or meet their team at parkingnotifier.com/about.

3. Speaking

A documentation platform co-founded by Jana Morrin and Zach Halmstad (formerly of Jamf) that empowers and helps users confidently navigate workplace harassment experiences.

Founded less than a year ago, Speakfully is quietly building a team of technology leaders who are passionate about helping employees and employers solve uncomfortable company culture issues. “Speakfully is specifically designed to provide support to the employee who is being abused and to guide HR staff and the CEO protecting their team to cultivate a safer culture and reverse the tide of workplace abuse. “Morrin said.

The company goes on to describe itself as follows: “Everyone deserves to work, live and speak fully. While this belief is neither shocking nor radical, the fact that American workplaces currently do not provide a safe environment for employees certainly is. It’s time to change the status quo.

Speakfully is headquartered in Eau Claire but has a team of seven software engineers, designers and product specialists working remotely to launch the first version of their product for individuals, followed by a beta version for organizations. Learn more at speakfully.com.

4. New software

Andrew Niese, the owner/operator of Fresh, has been pissed off since 1998.
It all started with his love for computer programming, which was formed during the internet boom of the 90s. He was hanging out in hacker communities at the time, which meant that most of his early programs were safety oriented. Fresh Software has always been about the creative process, experimenting with new ideas and finding solutions to problems.

Fresh is probably best known for X-NetStat, a network and system information monitoring application for Windows that has been in development since 1998. It’s now at version 5.6 and has firmly established itself.

The big focus for the past two years has been Fixity, which is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application for citizens’ demands on their cities. Fixity is an app for reporting issues and suggestions to your city. It has a reporting interface for citizens and management tools for city staff and/or elected officials. Fixity’s goal is to report issues, improve neighborhoods, and help city staff manage crowdsourcing issues efficiently and cost-effectively.

“Our main motivation in creating new software is because we think it would be cool if it existed,” Niese said. “It’s a labor of love first, and a business second.”
In 2018, Fixity won Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation’s Idea Challenge, which included $5,000 to help grow the business, and the company is now looking to beta test Fixity in multiple cities. They will assess how everything looks, determine its usefulness, and see how the Fixity product could be improved. It has just been added to the Apple Store and is being updated for Google Play. Learn more at www.facebook.com/fixityapp.


Josh Rizzo is an inbound marketer at Satellite Six, a branding and digital marketing firm in Eau Claire. This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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