Slingshot has been building custom software since 2005, when CEO and president David Galownia, a University of Louisville graduate, began the company. It’s been successful, but Galownia is not one to sit on his laurels. This year he has two new startups under development. Louisville Future touched base with him to learn more about his business.
Can you give us an overview of what Slingshot does?
Galownia: We design and build mobile apps for small and medium-sized businesses. We’ve done work for the healthcare industry, Churchill Downs, and Louisville Metro Government, to name a few.
What kind of projects specifically?
Galownia: For the last three years, we’ve worked with PetFirst [pet insurance company], building a mobile app for policy holders and also helped PetFirst integrate their systems with MetLife when they were purchased.
We were approached by the University of Louisville when they wanted a way to teach ethical leadership that would allow leaders to work on their skills in a practical way. We created a mobile app that offers exercises and uses gamification to help the user strengthen their expertise in leadership areas, such as conflict management.
We are helping the state of Illinois to build a telehealth platform that will connect child family services workers and investigators with child abuse pediatricians (a specialty in which a doctor can determine if a child has been injured and whether it was an accident or intentional). The platform was designed to connect those people so they can make better decisions about children in their care.
The company has also done pro bono work, including designing the tech behind Churchill Downs’ 50/50 raffle, half of which benefits Thoroughbred Aftercare, Arts and Education, and Breast and Ovarian Cancer Research.
About nine months ago, you came up with a concept that would become a new startup company, Slingshot Ventures. Can you tell us about that?
Galownia: Our company usually operates on a consulting-level arrangement where people pay us for a project or by the hour. We wanted to do projects that allowed us to be more a part of a business.
It goes like this: Somebody has an idea for a company, Slingshot Ventures acts as the technical co-founder–meaning we design and build a product for them—and then we become an equity owner in that business. We’re currently working with two companies that will be releasing a product near the end of this year.
What are the advantages of running a company based in Louisville?
Galownia: Louisville is very connected. If you need to get ahold of someone, people are willing to help. The biggest benefit of Louisville is the cost of living and the cost of doing anything. If you start a tech company in Silicon Valley and want to hire a programmer, it’s going to cost you two to three times as much as it would in Louisville. If you have a million dollars in funding, it will last you a year in Silicon, but it would last you three years in Louisville.
And you can raise money anywhere now. You can go across the globe for funding and still come back to Louisville to start your business.