Software startup harnesses experience to drive growth

Augustwenty launched mid-pandemic as a skilled jack-of-all-trades.

Cynthia Bent Findlay
For Columbus CEO
Angela McManaway and DJ Daugherty, founders of Augustwenty

Some companies are named for their founders or their products. Augustwenty is a new software consultancy tagged by its founding date, in the midst of the pandemic summer of 2020.

Husband and wife founders Angela McManaway, CEO, and DJ Daugherty, who serves as chief technology officer, spent years working together at Columbus software firm Pillar Technology, which was purchased by consulting giant Accenture in 2018.The pair felt stifled in the enterprise-scale environment and wanted to create their own smaller outfit that could be more nimble. “We lost that feeling of being able to make a difference and really be part of a family,” says McManaway.

“I thought for sure someone would say we have to guarantee three months’ salary or whatever [for employees willing to join], and it was amazing how people just wanted to be part of something,” she says.

Potential investors and developers showed enthusiasm for the idea, and by August, the die was cast.

Augustwenty attracted a team of industry veterans with broad and deep experience, and it has found reception with clients quickly, offering what it says is the same quality work for a lower price. “We like gnarly problems, that’s where we really shine,” says Daugherty.

“The other thing is, we do not come in with the expectation that we only work in Ruby or C or Java or the automotive industry. The expectation is that we are working on what is a valuable thing that a client needs,” she says.

Projects run the gamut. “We have electrical, chemical, software engineers who have built everything from mobile apps to radar systems guiding military airplanes,” Daugherty says.

One current project involves auto-positioning forklifts. Another involves a project for an Iowa-based nonprofit—an advanced manufacturing training simulator and curriculum for non-traditional students.

Clients are all over the country, with one in central Ohio, and also Michigan, Chicago and New Bremen, Ohio. McManaway says while Augustwenty’s corporate headquarters will stay in Columbus, the company’s remote work model allows for flexible talent recruitment and service.

Augustwenty also isn’t a place, at least not yet. McManaway says there are no plans for a physical office, though that may be an option at some point. The company has quickly grown to 20 full-time employees, and McManaway says that number is probably going to grow—but carefully.

“We don’t want to be a huge company. We have a culture we’re trying to keep,” she says. “The whole point is being a company where I as an employee feel like I can make a difference, make things happen quickly, where you’re a person, not a number.”

Cynthia Bent Findlay is a freelance writer.



Business: Software consultancy

Founders: Angela McManaway and DJ Daugherty

Employees: 20

Investment to date: $600,000 from private investors