COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A software company developing technology for the defense industry and known for its success and rapid growth has received an investment of "tens of millions" of dollars from a planning group.
The O'Neil Group Company, which is proposing a downtown high-rise apartment and office complex, announced its investment Tuesday in Bluestaq, a company that was started in 2018 by four friends and has since grown from four employees to 60.
The O'Neil Group is making the significant investment to help Bluestaq scale its infrastructure, grow its workforce and open new offices outside of its Colorado Springs headquarters.
"This company is one of the fastest-growing and the most technology-advanced companies that we've seen in a long, long time," said CEO Kevin O'Neil. "It's a unicorn in the defense business."
Bluestaq outgrew its original location at Catalyst Campus in downtown Colorado Springs and is close to outgrowing its current location in the 1st Bank building; the company plans to hire an additional 60 employees during the next 18 months.
Bluestaq also has a tremendous potential for further growth for expanding its military-based software applications into the private sector.
It may seem unusual for one company to invest in another company's success and future, but part of the O'Neil Group's purpose is to attract and develop high-tech businesses to and in the city; several dozen such firms are presently located at the Catalyst Campus on the east side of downtown.
But what helps makes Bluestaq so unique and successful is something that many employers have only been forced to address by the COVID-19 pandemic: taking better care of their employees.
In addition to an average salary of $160,000 annually, the company provides a spacious, laid-back workplace that includes a well-stocked kitchen and bar, a patio area for cookouts and a variety of games including shuffleboard, foosball and video games.
"That's really what I was looking for when I moved here," said Bluestaq employee Koen Litt. "The people and the environment. Which game I play depends on how long of a break I need. A quick game of foosball gets the energy flowing again, especially in the afternoon."
Buestaq CEO Seth Harvey said that the amenities allow employees to have fun and mentally refresh themselves when taking a break.
"This is the kind of environment that software engineers are looking for," he said. "Not just a regular cube-type setting. It makes employees more productive. It shows that we care about them and their well-being, not just how much work they do. This is what I envisioned when we started this company four years ago."
The Chamber of Commerce gave a strong endorsement to the investment Tuesday.
I would say that since the pandemic began, companies that are innovative, finding ways to appreciate their employees and give them flexibility will be the companies that win in the future," said Chamber President and CEO Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer. "It's very competitive out there as cities look to attract companies like Bluestaq and attract talent to support them. We're very glad that Bluestaq is keeping its headquarters here in Colorado Springs."