This feature was written by Conner Scott, an Emerging Prairie contributor and NDSU student.
Jake Joraanstad and Myriad Mobile are considering it their personal responsibility to make the Fargo-Moorhead area a great community. They aim to support the community they love, not only through the success of their business, but with the utilization of the unique talents possessed by each member of their team. For them, it started with Myriad.
Turning a small business into a nationwide mobile technology solutions provider is no small feat. “Myriad Devices” (as it was formerly known) started when the companies’ two co-founders were still in college. Jake Joraanstad and Ryan Raguse saw Fargo as fertile ground for growing a business, and so they quit their part-time jobs and went to work on Myriad.
They have seen rapid growth in the young life of Myriad, largely due to the fact that Jake and Ryan have an unmatched desire to improve upon themselves and in everything they do. Their track record gives testament to this expansion. At the end of 2012, Myriad Devices had just 1 full-time employee and 15 interns, but at the end of 2013, Myriad boasted 20-25 full-time employees. Now, Myriad has a total of 40, and it is looking for more. “Right now, we are always growing,” Jake said. “We are in six cities right now: Fargo, Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles, and we are on track for 50 employees by May. Eventually, in the next three to five years our mission is to be in the top three mobile technology companies in the nation. We are going to do that right from Fargo.”
Although they are branching out all over the country, Myriad’s roots are in Fargo. Jake and his team have been vital in the development of Fargo’s startup community. “As a technology solutions provider, we are here to support the community in any way we can,” Jake explained. “We do a lot of work outside of the state – all over the country, really – but Ryan and I are huge supporters of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are the ones who make the future city.”
Although Myriad has been experiencing wild success because of the great minds that work there, their employees are all in an open relationship with the company. In fact, Jake and Ryan fully support side projects. Many of their former employees have gone on to start their own businesses while working there. “Our mission for the startup community in Fargo…is just to be a feeder system,” Jake stated. “My personal vision is to be a leader in the startup community, but on a wider scale we need to be a feeder system; to help and grow, and hopefully be a huge help to the Fargo startup community.”
Myriad is developing the community in a variety of ways. One of their employees, John Walters, started 1 Million Cups Fargo. Ryan Raguse also serves as a mentor to small business owners. Myriad’s Chief Strategy Officer, James Dravits, is out working to start other companies, and Jake is also a leader in Emerging Prairie.
Not only are their members doing things on their own time, Myriad is hosting and supporting some major community events. On May 5th and 6th, Myriad is launching the Midwest Mobile Summit, a 2-day event in Fargo connecting the public with all things mobile. Organizers are expecting some big mobile players to show up, like Apple, AT&T, Verizon, and Microsoft. Personally, Jake is also working with Emerging Prairie to launch a co-working space in Fargo. These projects help to build a community, but it starts with Fargo’s entrepreneurs.
“Keep building this community,” Jake urges. “Keep going to 1 Million Cups and Startup Drinks. Our community is what makes Fargo so attractive, so let’s get people excited about living and moving here.”