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Phil Coffman

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The Merger of Element and SpaceCraft

MAR 21, 2014

In the summer of 2013, Element was going strong building and designing web and mobile applications and responsive sites for a variety of great clients. Our team had hit a nice stride as a group and Dan and I were continuing to work on ways to improve and grow the company. We looked on and off at new office space to support a larger team, discussed timing for bringing on additional employees, sought new ways of marketing our services or even releasing our own products. We had a list of viable options and the future of Element continued to be as exciting a thought as when we started the company.

And it was at this time when another option presented itself: a potential merger with local technology company SpaceCraft.

We knew the team at SpaceCraft since their start, which was about a year prior to when we formed Element. Comprised of former colleagues and friends, we followed along with their hard work as we were building Element, at times getting together to share notes and talk shop. While we were forming a services team they were in the thick of designing and building their platform and working diligently to bring it to market, which they did in May 2012. The SpaceCraft platform empowers small businesses and individuals to easily create and manage a fully responsive website. Customers range from restaurants to furniture manufacturers, professional surfers to musicians, fitness groups to actors and everything in between.

The SpaceCraft team, like Element at the time, was capable and poised to continue on as is, improving the platform, building up their customer base, and supporting the effort with customer services and support. But as we explored the idea of merging it became clear that by joining forces we could enhance those efforts many times over. At Element we had spent at least half of our time working with clients as an extended design team, defining and designing the user experience and visual language of our client's products. The rest of our projects were either marketing websites or mobile applications which we saw through from start to finish. Everything we touched was approached with the consideration of the multi-screen and device world we live in. All of this experience would be a natural fit into the SpaceCraft team. We could assist them on the design and development of the SpaceCraft platform, do more with marketing and day-to-day operations, and help manage their customer growth.

After considering our options and conducting several meetings, it became clear that proceeding with the merger would be our path forward. The deal was done and announcement made on September 10th. In the midst of the process it was important to know if the two teams would work well together. Both companies had developed strong cultures and we wanted to ensure that the combined group would continue to support and inspire each other. It took a couple of months before we found suitable office space for us all to be under one roof, but thankfully our original offices were only a few blocks away from each other. We used that time to get the teams together and even share people across projects, which helped build relationships during the transition phase. At the end of last year we packed up our offices and moved into our current space on the 9th floor of the Omni building in downtown Austin.

My role at SpaceCraft as VP of Design hasn't changed much from my role as Creative Director of Element. I still oversee all design efforts of the company and lead a team of people which supports our Element client base as well as new and existing SpaceCraft customers. The biggest addition is my direct involvement with the SpaceCraft platform itself. The platform is always maturing and I will have direct input on shaping it's evolution. This is a great challenge for me as product design is a growing interest of mine and the discussions we have for future enhancements and releases this year have me very excited! If only there were more hours in the day.

This year we are busy at work on some new marketing projects (which I'm dying to show), big updates to the platform itself, and continuing to grow out the team. We'll be adding designers, sales specialists, developers, support members and more to continue to expand everything SpaceCraft has to offer. In the immediate future we are looking for a Platform Engineer to help us build out our platform architecture. I work directly with the product developers and I can say without hesitation that they are in the top ranks of best developers I've ever worked with. We're also looking for a Project Manager, Designer, Sales Representative and Design Intern, so get in touch if you want to know more about these openings.

The past 2 and a half years have been a real journey. I'm extremely proud of what we accomplished with Element and, again, am pumped about what we're building at SpaceCraft. There's nothing but opportunity and I'm excited to share more of the road ahead with you as it unfolds!

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