Midwest Firm Makes Leap from Startup to Public Company in One Year
Far from Silicon Valley, Iowa’s Growing Startup Scene Emerges
DES MOINES, Iowa, March 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Not everyone who starts a business dreams of taking it public. Not everyone who dreams of taking their business public achieves it. But entrepreneurs with the audacious goal of going from a startup to publicly traded are closely watching the rise of DomiKnow, a digital marketing firm in Des Moines, Iowa, that will begin public trading on March 15, just more than one year since its founding.
DomiKnow founder John R. Stokka recognized a crucial opportunity when he launched the company in December 2011. Small business owners were hungry to leverage the power of digital marketing to expand their customer base, but most lacked the resources to mount effective long-term campaigns that reached the right audiences. DomiKnow, short for “dominate with knowledge,” creates affordable custom email and social media marketing campaigns, and uses its proprietary database of more than 350 million email addresses and 400 fields of data to “hypertarget” the audience most likely to convert to customers.
“Startup success ultimately hinges on the right mix of innovation and execution,” notes Christian Renaud, principal of Startup City Des Moines, an early-stage technology startup incubator. “John and the DomiKnow team have been relentlessly innovating and executing as they build value for their customers and investors.”
In the heart of what’s been dubbed the “Silicon Prairie,” entrepreneurs like Stokka are finding places like Iowa to be a prime business launching pad. Access to top talent, affordable work space, and a famous work ethic, coupled with the notable success of companies like Pinterest and Dwolla, are getting nontraditional places like Des Moines a closer look.
“We knew we had something special when we were closing more than 90 percent of the presentations we made,” said Stokka. “And then when institutional investors became interested, I knew we needed to accelerate the move to go public”.
Work is underway to garner the large-scale investment needed to support the company’s steep growth curve.
Stokka has been launching technology-based business in Iowa since 1985. He was a pioneer in inventing one of the first CASE (Computer Aided Software Engineering) tools known as Respond© in the 1980s, and hasn’t stopped creating successful companies since.
The idea to generate customers for local businesses through hypertargeted email marketing began to ruminate in 2004, and so began the years-long process of developing a critical mass of email addresses and segmented geographic and demographic data. In 2008, Stokka had a business plan and was ready to raise capital, but DomiKnow was put on hold indefinitely amidst of the economic crisis.
Three years later, the economy was still weak. But small businesses needed an edge during the recession, and the time for DomiKnow was right. With two customers under his belt, Stokka signed a lease on office space two floors up from Startup City Des Moines, and went into business with DomiKnow. Five months later, it acquired RED SHOE Media and content management system (CMS) technology, and expanded its offerings to include email marketing, social media management, and website services. Today, less than one year later, DomiKnow has a staff of 10, with plans for 20 more this year, and 200 in the next two years
DomiKnow’s stock will begin trading under the ticker symbol DMNO on March 15.
DomiKnow (OTC: DMNO), is a multichannel marketing firm based in Des Moines, Iowa dedicated to bringing big-time marketing to small business. DomiKnow’s experts in digital marketing use its proprietary database of 350 million emails and 400 fields of data to create hypertargeted email, social media, and website communications that generate customers for local businesses. For more information, visit www.domiknow.com.
About StartupCity Des Moines
StartupCity Des Moines is an invitation-only incubator that brings startups and mentors together to develop early-stage technology-oriented businesses. Active mentoring from serial entrepreneurs, targeted education, and constant collaboration with peers creates an energetic environment in which startups can thrive and grow.