Startup Life

Four SpareFeet Get to Spring Into Action as Guest Chefs

By John Egan   August 4, 2014

Lily Youn

When Lily Youn arrived the morning of July 30 at SpareFoot’s off-site kitchen in Austin, TX, she was bracing for a Gordon Ramsay-style, hot-under-the-collar, screaming-at-the-top-of-your-lungs nightmare. Instead, she was treated to reggae music playing in the background, small talk from the assembled chefs—and bushels of fun but hard work. Definitely not a scene from Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Youn (pictured at top), a member of SpareFoot’s Amazing Customer Experience (ACE) Team, was one of four SpareFeet who earned the privilege to work as “chef for a day” at our company after winning an in-house contest. At a June 25 cooking class taught by SpareFoot’s chief chef, Ari Dvorin, four two-member teams were assigned the task of concocting a dish from “mystery” vegetables, protein and up to five other ingredients. Two teams tied to claim victory. → Keep Reading

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Chris Garrett: A Customer Service Superhero at SpareFoot

By John Egan   July 29, 2014

ACE Team at SpareFoot

It wouldn’t be a stretch, and actually would be pretty appropriate, to proclaim Chris Garrett as a customer service superhero.

Garrett, a full-time member of SpareFoot’s Amazing Customer Experience (ACE) Team and a part-time comic-book creator, recently won an in-house contest to recognize the delivery of an amazing customer experience. SpareFoot judges reviewed phone calls from storage-seeking customers that were answered by ACE Team members. A call taken by Garrett (at left in top picture with SpareFoot’s Josh Lipton) was declared the winner. → Keep Reading

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Here’s Why Boston’s Life-Science Sector Is So Strong

By Jay Fitzgerald   July 24, 2014

Boston skyline

Ashok Chander says he had a simple reason for moving his startup, Cellanyx Diagnostics, from New York City to Boston.

“Bluntly, it’s because of the talent and funding environment in the Boston area and Cambridge,” said Chander, CEO of the cancer-diagnostics company, which has offices in Boston and lab space in Beverly, MA, just north of the city. “It’s such a rich and very diversified life-sciences community here. My (angel) investors are based in Cambridge, and our labs are in an incubator space in Beverly, only a 50-minute drive away. It’s very convenient.”

In recent years, a lot of other life-science companies, whether small startups like Cellanyx or Switzerland’s giant Novartis, have been flocking to the Boston-Cambridge market, leasing out small lab spaces or spending hundreds of millions of dollars on gleaming new research facilities and headquarters. → Keep Reading

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Question: Who Is RJ Gossett? Answer: SpareFoot’s Resident Pub-Quiz King

By John Egan   July 15, 2014

RJ Gossett

Alex Trebek, eat your trivia-loving heart out. You’ve got nothing on SpareFoot’s resident quiz host, RJ Gossett. Well, at least we humbly think so.

Could the “Jeopardy!” host keep up with Gossett? We doubt it. Every Monday and Tuesday night, you’ll find Gossett plying his part-time trade as a quizmaster at two venues in Austin, TX, that aren’t nearly as cushy as the studio where “Jeopardy!” is taped.

For Gossett, a member of SpareFoot’s Client Relations Team, working as a quizmaster is no trivial matter. (Yes, the pun is intended.) → Keep Reading

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Every Day Is Take Your Dog to Work Day at SpareFoot!

By John Egan   June 20, 2014

Liebe and Katie Smith

Only 12 percent of U.S. dog owners can bring their pooches to the office on a regular workday, according to a recent report from Wellness Natural Pet Food. Fortunately, SpareFeet are among that 12 percent.

Every workday, dogs of all shapes and sizes scamper and sleep and eat and entertain at SpareFoot. The office just wouldn’t be the same without our daily dose of doggies. In honor of Take Your Dog to Work Day (June 20), we’re highlighting nine SpareFoot dogs and the people they own. → Keep Reading

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SpareFoot CEO Chuck Gordon: ‘Austin Is Growing Up, and We Need to Grow Along With It’

By John Egan   June 18, 2014

Chuck Gordon

Five years ago, the company now known as SpareFoot packed up and moved to Austin from Los Angeles to join the Capital Factory incubator. Of course, there wasn’t much packing to be done, as the barely-off-the-ground startup had only two employees at the time—co-founders Chuck Gordon and Mario Feghali.

Today, SpareFoot now has close to 160 employees, and we should have about 190 employees by the end of this year. As SpareFoot has grown, so has the city that it now calls home. In 2009, SpareFoot settled into a city with a population of about 750,000. Since then, Austin’s population has skyrocketed past 840,000 (as of July 2013). In that relatively short span, the city has gained roughly 90,000 residents.

Along with SpareFoot’s growth and Austin’s growth have come the inevitable growing pains. Recently, a new local magazine called Citygram reached out to Gordon, our CEO, to get his take on the changes he’s witnessed in Austin. Here are some of Gordon’s answers to questions posed by local freelance writer Rachael Genson. → Keep Reading

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Pedal to the Medal: Patrick Davis Wins SpareFoot’s National Bike Month Challenge

By John Egan   June 12, 2014

Patrick Davis

Throughout the month of May, SpareFoot’s Patrick Davis pedaled 522.3 miles on his bike. To put that in perspective, the drive from San Antonio to El Paso, TX, is about 550 miles. Of course, no one in his right mind would cycle from San Antonio to El Paso. We think.

In conjunction with National Bike Month, SpareFoot challenged employees to hop on their bikes, and ride them whenever and wherever they wanted. Participants tracked their mileage through the MapMyFitness app (an Austin product), and then plugged the numbers into a spreadsheet. → Keep Reading

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Back to School: SpareFeet Participate in Special Storytime at Austin’s Reilly Elementary

By John Egan   June 11, 2014

Jeanette DeHay

Traditionally, adults read stories to kids, especially at bedtime. Earlier this month, the reverse happened at Reilly Elementary School in Austin: Thirty-one fourth-graders took turns reading self-published stories to a group of employees from SpareFoot.

The reading session at Reilly capped a project in which each of these fourth-graders wrote and illustrated a story that was published as a hardbound book. Employees of SpareFoot chipped in about $300 to get the books published by a company called Student Treasures. → Keep Reading

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How SpareFoot’s Tony Emerson Became Our ‘Biggest Loser’

By John Egan   June 6, 2014

tony emerson

We’ve got a big winner from SpareFoot’s “Biggest Loser” competition.

Tony Emerson (top photo), a leader on our Product Team, bested 14 other SpareFeet to claim the “Biggest Loser” crown. During the 12-week program, Emerson racked up a weight loss of 9.78 percent. In second place, but still a winner in our eyes, was Craig Barrett, who leads our Paid Media Team. Barrett notched a weigh loss of 8.62 percent.

“At first, it was all about self-improvement—I was really in it for my own health,” Emerson said. “But as the contest reached the final weeks, it became clear that Craig and I were neck-and-neck for the lead, and it became a real competition.” → Keep Reading

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Provo, Utah: An Incubator for the American Dream

By Camilla McLaughlin   June 2, 2014


Not that long ago, Provo, UT, was best known for sheep ranches and Brigham Young University. Today, the region, anchored by Provo and Orem, consistently garners top rankings on “best of” lists, ranging from best for business to happiest in the country.

The Provo area has emerged as one of the country’s top tech hubs, bypassing Seattle, Dallas and Cambridge, MA, to capture fifth place on The Atlantic Cities’ list of America’s top 25 tech hot spots. Forbes says it’s the best place for business, careers and jobs. The Milken Institute ranks it the No. 2 “best-performing city.” And in April, The SpareFoot Blog named Provo the fastest-growing “on-the-rise startup hub” in the U.S. → Keep Reading

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