Northeast Ohio: The Next Developer Hub?

DecisionDesk is one of the fastest-growing IT startups in Northeast Ohio. The Lakewood-based company has developed a proprietary, easy-to-use SaaS that helps colleges, universities and other higher education institutions streamline how they organize, process and manage applications.

According to CEO/Co-Founder John Knific, business is booming—and expansion is imminent. “The company is poised for scale,” he says. “We’re on track to double our revenue this year while simultaneously dropping operating expenses. We will be investing in at least three developer hires this year, possibly six within the next year.”

And while DecisionDesk is searching far and wide for these hires—including partnering with JumpStart’s Entrepreneurial Talent Team to recruit locally and from out of state—the company is planning on basing these developers right here in Northeast Ohio, to complement its already-strong team in New York City.

While Knific admits “access to a larger talent pool” is an advantage of an East Coast office, there are other reasons why it makes sense to have these new employees based in Northeast Ohio. “Web development jobs are perhaps one of the most competitive skill sets in the market right now,” he says. “Demand is through the roof. While we have a physical presence in New York City, that doesn’t mean we have the same access to capital to compete with other startups.”

Knific notes the salary for a senior developer in New York City starts at around $125k—and this number only increases when recruiter fees, job perks and other expenses are factored in. Still, DecisionDesk’s new Northeast Ohio hires will have competitive salaries—”Many of these will be six-figure jobs, fully loaded,” Knific says—as well as a chance to have a long-lasting impact on Northeast Ohio’s startup scene.

“My hope is that we can recruit some strong talent that will eventually be a co-founder or hire number three or four in future startups in the region,” he says. “The most successful startup regions have a critical mass of software development and business development talent to build companies—and therefore build wealth. Hopefully in a small way, we can help with this.”

And although Knific notes that DecisionDesk’s New York team is planning to spend more time in Cleveland, he has nothing but praise for their contributions to the company’s progress and growth. “We currently have four incredibly strong developers, including our VP Products, in New York City,” Knific says. “In fact, the person in this position is incredible; they are keeping our three high-caliber developers there aligned with the business process, and also helping create an environment so our new hires in Cleveland can be successful.”

Still, he’s eager to see what the future holds for DecisionDesk. “It’s always energizing to put our top sales and business development people together with our development team,” he says. “We have a strong remote culture between the two offices, but I’m excited to see what happens when our teams have the chance to do more in-person collaboration.”