Instead of the Latin restaurant once slated for 44th & Beard, the former Southwest Motor building is now home to an e-commerce agency.
The company is called Echidna — pronounced E-kid-na, named for an unusual Australian mammal with a high-powered brain. Echidna launched in 2010 with seven-figure revenues in the first year, and has continued growing quickly, with most of the company’s 200 employees based in Bangalore.
CEO Adam Roozen said the Southwest Motor building gives them room to grow, particularly in marketing.
“That’s why we have 8,300 square feet for 10 people,” he said.
Roozen previously worked in e-commerce for Sam’s Club, and he said several employees have previous experience handling multi-million dollar tech projects.
“We are very selective with who we hire,” he said.
In India, they accept one person out of 80 interviews, he said.
The company made an unsolicited pitch to Kohl’s about two-and-a-half years ago, and Roozen said they replaced a global IT powerhouse to help update Kohl’s website. Echidna also works with midsize clients like Michael Kors and Gotchya, as well as local companies like Ergodyne and Sigma Beauty.
Roozen said he works with small, local clients to help them grow into major players. The smaller projects also provide more interest and variety for employees, he said.
“It affords us an opportunity to give our top performers passion projects,” Roozen said. “It gives them a reason to stay.”
Staff also work on internal passion projects, such as “fbvideo,” which collates all of the publicly-shared videos on Facebook in one place.
The staff at Echidna have introduced themselves to the neighboring businesses at 44th & Beard, and the garage doors open to 44th Street on warm days. The L-shaped building retains the old trusses and exposed brick.
“Everything that doesn’t look rusty, we put in,” Roozen said.