Viewpoint: A conversation with tech entrepreneur Terry Low
Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY, Star Tribune Updated: July 27, 2013 – 5:12 PM
Terry Low, founder and CEO of 12-year-old Byte Technology, this month moved the headquarters of his 13-employee Web design firm to Bloomington from Monterey, Calif.
The employees in the California and Denver offices stay put. But Low, a California native and first-generation American whose parents immigrated from China, decided to move to the Twin Cities to try to expand the local client list and because he and his Korean-born wife have relatives here. They decided it would be a good place to raise two young children.
Low, whose clients range from AT&T to National Geographic, has joined a south suburban bicycling club and is a Rotarian who has done humanitarian work in the Middle East and Nicaragua.
Q: Why are you moving your family from south of Silicon Valley to the southern Twin Cities suburbs, also known as the Tundra during the winter?
A: After having visited the area numerous times for the past three years for business and to visit relatives, it was apparent the growth opportunity for the company and my family are tremendous.
The quality of Minnesota education was also an important factor for my expanding family, which includes a 3- and 1-year-old.
Q: How does the cost of doing business figure in your decision?
A: Though the business taxes may be higher, the cost of doing business is lower. The Web and design talent in Minnesota is outstanding and the cost of employment comes at a lower rate.
In addition, the local Web industry consists of many young families who balance work and quality of life, which is important to Byte’s culture.
The ability for Byte Technology to scale quickly [also] was a primary driving factor to open our third location.
Q: How many people do you plan to employ here?
A: While we maintain our offices in California and Colorado, our focus is to headquarter our operations here. Currently, it’s just me at the helm in Bloomington. We hope to increase our Minnesota employee count tenfold in year one and hope to double that in the next couple of years.
Q: What’s the history of the business?
A: Byte Technology began in 2001 from my deep passion and desire for Web technology. Though this occurred during the era of the dot-com decline, I had a strong sense that the Web was going to be a dominant force in the business marketing space.
My brother Clarence and I started the business with $5,000 cash plus two computers and quickly became profitable in less than three months. Clarence is kind of a clone of me in terms of his work ethic and ability to communicate with clients. The company has been fortunate to grow and expand and we continue to invest from revenues. No loans or outside investors. I’m the sole owner of Byte Technology.
Q: What do you do for clients and who are several of your long-term clients?
A: We specialize in providing website design, specifically parallax design. Parallax Web design is for clients wishing to create a richer and more engaging Web experience. The Web technology creates the illusion of depth in a [two-dimensional] way that’s used by website visionaries such as Saucony, Nike and Nintendo.
Several of our long-term clients include AT&T, Chevron, GE, Comcast, National Geographic and, more recently, Colgate-Palmolive.
Q: What are estimated 2013 revenues and how many employees will you have throughout the company by the end of the year?
A: The estimated 2013 revenue will be $1.1 million with 18 employees in 2013.