In the summer of 2000, now known to be
the beginning of the end for countless small technology
operations, a successful Pennsylvania-based Internet strategy
and design firm called Refinery opened a Boulder office.
By November 2002, the still-surviving firm had laid off its
local production staff to become a small consultancy.
But three members of that production team struck out on
their own, establishing Imulus, a Longmont company that aims
to create everything from an Internet strategy, to
brand-building, to marketing and advertising campaigns for
clients including Conduant Corp. and the YWCA of Boulder.
"We can offer Fortune 500 experience, but we don't need to
charge what large consultant firms need to charge," said Scott
Hooten, creative director of Imulus.
Imulus is comprised of Hooten, George Morris, client
services manager, and John Skufca, technology director.
"On Nov. 1, 2002, they (Refinery) laid off the production
people who were still left," Morris said. "The same day, we
decided, 'Yeah, we can do this.'"
Mark Walker is vice president of sales and marketing for
Longmont-based Conduant Corp., which makes recording and
playback equipment for the scientific research, military and
aerospace industries. Walker started working with the Imulus
team members when they were still with Refinery, and the
"Our existing Web site does not reflect our business
enough," Walker said. "We needed a change."
The result is not only an upcoming Web site that looks more
sophisticated and is easier to navigate, but a relationship
with a team that put together a cohesive image for the
12-employee Conduant, including a trade show booth and
"We would go to one company for artwork, then another for
brochures and another for a Web site," Walker said. "I wanted
to put all my marketing eggs in one basket. I can't stand
going to all these different people — 'Can you please get our
new logo to these other people to put together a brochure,
then we can send that off to the Web people.'
"They (Imulus) can do everything," Walker said.
The Imulus team is not unique in continuing its operations
after the parent firm decided to shut it down.
Boulder-based International Approvals Laboratories, a
testing firm, was founded by two former executives of the
Boulder unit of TUV, a German firm. When TUV announced it was
pulling out of Colorado, Bob Cresswell and Todd Seeley formed
a business plan, took out loans and bought the six-employee
unit from TUV in order to keep it operational.
That sale, which closed this month, included the current
office and lab in Boulder and a remote testing site near
Imulus' formation, since it wasn't a business purchase
involving assets, was considerably less formal.
"Refinery gave us a server in exchange for me driving their
equipment back to Pennsylvania," Morris said.
The three are bootstrapping their firm, working from home
in order to keep their expenses to a minimum.
They hope to post a profit by March or April, and one of
their first goals is to establish an office, probably in
Longmont. Though their debt load is low-to-none, they
acknowledge the difficulty of launching a new firm during a
technology spending drought.
"We figure if we can be successful in this economy, then
when it turns around, we'll be set," Morris said.
Contact Erika Stutzman at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (303) 473-1354.