Akron Web Design Company Makes Inc. 500
By Katie Byard
Beacon Journal Business Writer
About four years ago, OuterBox Solutions Inc. of Akron had one employee and operated out of its young founder’s apartment.
These days, the Web design/development company boasts 30 workers — many of them in their 20s and early 30s — in offices that take up the third floor of the historic Kaiser building downtown.
OuterBox’s heady sales growth — from $236,359 in 2008 to $2.1 million in 2011 — has landed it a spot on Inc. magazine’s 2012 list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Sales soared by nearly 800 percent from 2008 to 2011, securing the company the No. 495 spot.
The company specializes in building e-commerce websites — where shoppers can buy products online — for enterprises all over the country.
OuterBox’s chief operating officer, Nick Nolan, 29, said the goal for next year is to rank even higher.
“Customers want a company who is successful to build a successful website,” Nolan said.
OuterBox is among five Northeast Ohio companies on this year’s Inc. 500 list, and the only business in Akron. Companies are ranked on the percentage growth of their annual revenue over the three-year period.
Company leaders say what sets their venture apart is their focus on search-engine optimization — using techniques to get websites to rank high in search results.
“We’re not just a Web design company. What really has differentiated us, and allowed us to grow so fast, is e-commerce,” said Chief Marketing Officer Beau Miller, 27, who, like others at OuterBox, wears jeans and T-shirts at work.
Building the e-commerce sites, with search-engine optimization techniques, “is so technically intensive … it’s a lot more to handle than just designing a brochure website,” Miller said.
“You have to figure out how to make people buy,” he said. “As a small company it was important for us to figure out how to be strategic and win.”