Published April 18, 2000
Volume 8, Number 4

Emerging E-Business Efforts are Finding a Groundswell of Support
A group of Groundswell employees stand in front of what will become their new location at 5890 Owens Drive.

By Jay Hipps
Network Editor

It's not every day that an Internet startup company endeavors to keep a low profile -- especially one that's been financed to the tune of $100 million by Behrman Capital, recognized as one of the top investment firms in the industry. 

Such is the case with Groundswell, however, a full-service Internet consulting firm offering business strategy, creative, and technology services to its clients, which include both Fortune 1000 companies and dot com startups. 

"Our whole model has been, 'Let's tell people what we've done and not what we're going to do,' which is a different approach in today's market," explains Paul Stich, CEO and one of the firm's five founders. 

It's not just different. In an industry that's often all about hype, it's unique. Despite the fact that they were funded over nine months ago, they haven't publicized the investment but instead have built the company and an impressive client list so that they could demonstrate their accomplishments and not just their goals. Their modesty is even more surprising with companies like Nike and Federal Express on their roster. 

Groundswell is about to lose that low profile, however. They have signed a lease for 52,000 square feet of space in the Lincoln Centre, a new Hacienda project currently under construction at the intersection of Owens and Chabot. The firm has also signed a letter of intent for 50,000 square feet in San Francisco, which will give it a footprint on both sides of the Bay, within walking distance of BART, in order to maximize its appeal to talented employees in both areas. Groundswell has also opened offices in New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego. 

Their unique philosophy and package of services has brought in over 20 clients, each of which typically spend over $1 million with the firm. 

"We help brick and mortar companies leverage the Internet, to take them to the next generation of their business model," explains Stich. "We also work with startup companies to get their business up and running very quickly." 

One of Groundswell's key attractions for established companies is their ability to help integrate existing computer networks into new e-commerce offerings. 

"We can link the web site into their existing back end systems and legacy systems applications, all the way through the fulfillment process," Stich explains. 

One of their strategies is to create web sites where a number of companies come together to offer a suite of products and services, which makes for a more robust user experience. 

"For example, if you're moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles, you want to disconnect your telephone, turn off the gas, and stop your newspapers in one city and start it all up in another place, plus work with moving companies," he says. "We would create a site that would help you to manage the process from need to execution." 

Stich notes their approach puts the user at the center of the experience. 

"What we're really focusing on is loyalty from a user's perspective and it's the overall experience that does it -- not just the transaction, but the whole experience." 

For more information on the company, access their web site.

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