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Company To Watch | Stackify


Matt Watson and his team make it easier for developers to troubleshoot problems.

Matt Watson

9201 Ward Parkway, Ste. 302
Kansas City, MO 64114
(816) 888-5055

Application support and systems management


The idea for Stackify came to Matt Watson when he was still with his old company, VinSolutions, an Inc. 500 company that develops software solutions for car dealerships.

VinSolutions has been extremely successful. According to news reports, AutoTrader.com bought the company for about $135 million in 2011—but Watson, the company’s chief technology officer, would get frustrated sometimes.

His developers needed server access so they could troubleshoot the applications they had built. It wasn’t always easy to gain entry from the IT team that maintained those servers on a daily basis. Coordinating between the two groups ate up a lot of time.

So Watson created Stackify, a cloud-based suite of tools that lets developers access a server, review an application’s code and check for problems—while still letting network administrators manage how much access they have.

“It’s all about diagnostics and troubleshooting,” Watson said. “We give them one tool that pulls a whole bunch of stuff together.”

It’s a problem that every single company with an IT department has, Watson said, but most don’t even realize it’s a problem.

A lot of observers are predicting big things for Stackify. Silicon Prairie News and Software Development Times both named the startup a “company to watch” this year, and Entrepreneur.com and MSN.com have published stories about it. It also has a partnership with Rackspace, a leading cloud infrastructure provider.

The bulk of the last several months has been devoted to simply building and perfecting the product, which has been a complex undertaking.

“We’re trying to build three or four different products in one platform,” Watson said.

And that makes it more challenging to tell Stackify’s story to potential customers—it’s kind of a technological Swiss army knife.

“If you do one thing, it’s easy to say ‘we do X,’” said Watson, who is putting more emphasis on Stackify’s marketing. “When you do a whole bunch of things, it’s harder to get that message across.”

Stackify primarily has pursued small and midsize companies as customers because they’re easier to sell to, Watson said. But the startup hasn’t given up on large businesses. Instead of trying to convince a corporation to use Stackify across its entire enterprise, the startup reaches out to specific departments that would benefit from its products.

Watson believes that Stackify’s solutions have the potential to win over a huge number of developers and IT leaders.

“We solve problems that they’re not necessarily looking for,” Watson said.

James Hart

Written by

James Hart is a freelance writer based in Kansas City.

Categories: Company to Watch


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