Front Porch Forum isn’t what you’d call a ‘typical’ startup media company. But innovation can spring from unlikely places – like a tree-lined street in Burlington, Vermont and a desire to use digital to connect more closely with the neighbours around us.
Founded in 2006 by Michael and Valerie Wood-Lewis, Front Porch Forum’s mission is to help neighbours connect and build community. It hosts regional networks of online neighbourhood forums: Simple, accessible online communities where people can build bridges with one another by discussing the ebb and flow of neighbourhood life.
In 2010, the Knight Foundation selected Front Porch Forum as one of its dozen Knight News Challenge award winners. The resulting investment led Michael and his CTO, Jan Schultz, on a US and Canada-wide search for the perfect development team to help them grow Front Porch Forum. We’ve been working with Front Porch Forum ever since.
The Knight Foundation has published a detailed report about the progress of the 2010 and 2011 winners of the Knight News Challenge, including Front Porch Forum.
The Front Porch Forum team knew where they were heading when we started working together. Michael and his CTO, Jan Schultz, needed a way to incrementally grow their platform in a way that suited their style and stage of development, and knew that an Agile process, solid email and CMS experience and a team at the cutting-edge of Ruby on Rails development were key. But for a startup with community at its core, technical expertise was just one piece of the puzzle.
“The special ingredient was that The Working Group has a very entrepreneurial mindset and approach and that was very attractive to us. Other companies aren’t engaged with their communities the way that TWG is.
At the same time they were asking questions about our bottom line and how we wanted to meet our business goals – they were very organized about starting from that point. It’s all about fit, and once we started looking closely, TWG rose quickly and clearly to the top of our list.”
– Jan Schultz, CTO, Front Porch Forum
Good People Crafting Great Software: About The Working Group
The Working Group is one of North America’s leading design and development studios. Established in 2002, we work with leading brands and exciting startups to design and build market-defining software products.
We love what we do, and our approach is guided by our unwavering drive to solve problems for our clients. Pairing our domain expertise with yours, we collaborate to craft the right solution for your business.
We actively invest in startups through our accelerator program. Partnering with driven, committed teams, we help them prepare for their next milestone using a hands-on model that blends strategic advisement with expert production support from our senior designers, developers and product strategists. Startups are invited to apply for consideration by contacting Dominic Bortolussi at firstname.lastname@example.org