The two men leading the fast-growing tech startup DivvyHQ have been named finalists for the Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Award in the Central Midwest.
DivvyHQ co-founders Brody Dorland and Brock Stechman both were named finalists for the award on Thursday, lending credence to the duo’s tech. DivvyHQ created a planning and collaboration platform for content marketers that’s being used by large and small brands around the world.
“We’ve been battling in the trenches of this new software category for six years and it’s not getting any easier,” Dorland said. “So it’s nice for a third-party to shine a spotlight on our progress.”
The award series from EY recognizes entrepreneurs who are excelling in “innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.” Now in its 31st year, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in over 145 cities and more than 60 countries throughout the world.
Dorland and Stechman were among 25 other finalists from Missouri and Kansas selected by a panel of independent judges. In total, 12 business leaders from Kansas City were named finalists. Award winners will be announced at a gala on June 15 in Kansas City.
Rather than personal glory, Dorland said he hopes the nomination brings attention to DivvyHQ for prospective talent.
“I’ve never been the type that seeks personal recognition,” Dorland said. “I don’t do award shows and I’m not very good at tooting my own horn. But as we’ve built this startup into something real, and I’ve recognized the importance and benefits attracting great talent, it makes a lot of sense that great talent will want to work under strong leadership. So we gave this one a shot.”
Asked what the recognition means for him personally, Stechman said he’s motivated by challenges not commendations.
“We didn’t become entrepreneurs to seek out awards or gain personal recognition,” Stechman said. “We’re entrepreneurs because we want to solve very complex problems for our customers with a highly-skilled group of people who we love working with every single day. This is an individual award, but we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what we have and be finalists for this award if it wasn’t for our team — they make us look good.”
Stechman said that the toils of entrepreneurship can take one through dark times. Building a startup is typically not as glamorous as most think, he added.
“For entrepreneurs, it can be hard to gauge if you’re on the right path and doing a good job,” Stechman said. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us to achieve our goals, but being finalists for this award does give us validation that we are on the right path as an organization and business owners. We’re so honored to be finalists for this award alongside all these great innovators and business leaders.”
Founded in 2011, DivvyHQ works with major clients such as Samsung, Olive Garden, Pfizer, General Mills, Lowe’s, Roche, Marketo, Aflac, TripAdvisor and others. In 2015, the company closed on a $1.8 million Series A round. A graduate of Digital Sandbox KC, Divvy currently has clients in more than 20 countries around the world.
In January, DivvyHQ was recognized by Startland News as a Top Kansas City Startup to Watch in 2017.
Other Kansas City-area finalists are:
- Jay Kim, DataLocker Inc.
- Richard Wetzel and Steven Swanson, Centric Projects
- Jeanette Prenger, ECCO Select Corp.
- Martin Bicknell, Mariner Holdings
- Peter Mallouk, Creative Planning
- Matt Hertig and Michelle Jacobs, Alight Analytics
- David Johnson, Maxus Properties Inc.
- Bren Brown and Michael Brown, Frontier Justice
- Sonia Garapaty, FSC Inc.
- Erica Brune, Lever1
- Martin Bicknell, Mariner Holdings
- John Goodbrake, Master’s Transportation Inc.