Edison CEO Shares Secrets of Success
February 12, 2024
Developing an innovative idea that leads to a successful business is one thing, but what needs to happen from there to scale and remain competitive? How does being based in Colorado, a thriving tech hub with a pool of available tech talent, impact a company’s potential? What role could artificial intelligence play in further driving a company’s future metamorphosis?
Those were among the topics discussed by the CEOs of some of Colorado’s fastest-growing tech companies recognized in the 2023 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 rankings. The following Q&A was conducted by the Fast 500 program champions for Colorado state: Chris Schmidt, managing partner of Deloitte’s Denver office, and Alexie Tune, a Deloitte audit & assurance partner specializing in emerging growth companies. In collaboration with the Denver Business Journal, they explored the leaders’ personal attributes, their companies’ origin stories and growth journey, and their aspirations for the future.
What’s the one thing you, as a person, are most known for?
Ostermiller: I’m most recognized for my innovative thinking. I often approach problems with unique perspectives and solutions.
It’s important to stay curious in life. What was the last new thing you learned or experienced?
Ostermiller: I’ve recently built a music studio in my home and am currently diving into the world of music production. I’m exploring how to DJ and am also learning to play various musical instruments.
What is your company’s origin story and mission? Also, where in Colorado is it headquartered?
Ostermiller: Established in 2016 by high school friends Jeremy Ostermiller and Nick Stanitz-Harper, Edison Interactive has its roots in a mission is to inform, inspire, and entertain, creating experiences that enrich and elevate everyday life. Edison embarked on a journey to develop technology that forges deeper connections between brands and consumers, striving to make these interactions more meaningful and impactful. Today Edison powers over 80,000 screens across all 50 states across the country at golf courses, ski resorts, hotels and casinos and connected vehicles. Edison’s headquarters is in Cherry Creek North.
Looking back over the past year of your company’s life, what are you most proud of and why?
Ostermiller: Looking back at 2023, I can’t be prouder of the company and the team that we’ve built. We are working with some of the largest companies in the world, and providing a level of customer service and support that is unmatched. I’ve gotten positive feedback from both our customers and our partners about the level of professionalism and the quality of our team, and I can honestly say that Edison wouldn’t be the same without our employees.
As you look ahead two to three years, how would you like to evolve your company or “take it to the next level”?
Ostermiller: Edison has a tremendous opportunity to radically change how people interact and monetize different verticals such as healthcare, hospitality and sports. The next couple of years will be focusing on scaling the business to achieve the growth in the verticals we have identified as targets. We will expand on our current process, grow the team and continue to drive new product development to make sure we establish Edison as a true change leader in these verticals.
How are you thinking about your next phase of growth? How are you balancing growth vs. a drive toward profitability?
Ostermiller: Edison is currently in our high growth phase, so balancing growth and profitability is always a challenge. We are fundraising in 2024 to accelerate the growth of our company. After we close our fundraise, we will have a focus on using the proceeds to strategically invest in the areas that will help us generate the pieces of our business that bring long value contracts and recurring revenue. We have always been scrappy and that mentality will continue to drive performance across all of our teams as we move forward.
How would you describe the current state of the capital environment in Colorado? How is your company navigating this landscape?
Ostermiller: To say the capital environment is unlike anything we’ve seen in the past, would be an understatement. I think there is a lot of uncertainty in the markets, but at the same time we are seeing a lot of money sitting on the sidelines, looking for the right investment vehicles. I think a lot of people are being very cautious and the diligence is focused on companies that can drive real revenue and profitability. The days of solely investing in companies because of their high growth capabilities have passed, and investors are looking for founders and companies they know can drive results in the next three to five years.
How is your company thinking about generative AI? What opportunities and risks do you see?
Ostermiller: Edison is a platform company, so AI or Machine Learning has always been a part of every product or feature we roll out. We have a robust data infrastructure across all of our products, which gives us the ability to think strategically about how we can help drive real success for our customers. For example, we can drive real recommendations inside our hospitality products based on a consumer’s behavior while on premise. These automated recommendations can help drive real revenue for our hospitality customers by increasing activities such as restaurant reservations, amenity usage or offering discounts on extending stay. This isn’t possible with their existing tools, so we’re helping them generate incremental revenue using real time audience data and analytics coupled with our ML/AI infrastructure.
We’ve all heard the famous quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” As CEO, how are you building a culture that fosters organizational and employee success at your company?
Ostermiller: At Edison, our team is our most important asset. We have been lucky to build a team that is agile, smart and challenges one another on a daily basis. At Edison, we really encourage our employees to challenge the status quo. We are a really flat organization and I believe this empowers everyone to feel comfortable voicing their opinions. This helps us drive innovation and really helps get all team members involved regardless of their day-to-day responsibilities. We also have a very flexible work environment, and unique benefits like an in-house performance coach who helps our team members make sure they are not only helping with the growth of the company, but also with their own personal growth and mental health. Working in a safe, and collaborative environment like this, really helps the culture build organically, which is what most employees want in a work setting.
In your view, what qualities make Colorado a great place for tech workers to grow their career? What can our region do to become even more attractive to tech talent over the coming years?
Ostermiller: Colorado is a great place for tech as we have a well-educated workforce, and a growing economy. Colorado attracts a lot of talent from nearby states, and I think we’ll continue to see growth in the tech industry, as the talent pool continues to grow and mature. For Colorado to remain competitive, we need to foster a business-friendly environment from a policy perspective. Incentives will help drive more companies to look at Colorado as an ideal location for their HQ’s. Obviously, other issues like housing costs and traffic will play an important role in these decisions, but the amenities and talent pool available here, as well as our geographic location which suits both coasts, make it hard to argue against the benefits of building a tech company here in Colorado.
Jeremy Ostermiller, CEO, Edison Interactive. Ostermiller is a seasoned entrepreneur and accomplished businessman, serving as the CEO of Edison Interactive, a Content Management System for connected devices. His accolades include 40 Under 40, ColoradoBiz Magazine’s Most Influential People, and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
These answers come from a larger article first published February 9, 2024 on Denver Business Journal: https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2024/02/09/table-of-ceos-colorado-tech-ceos-share-their.html