When I think of successful startups in Milwaukee, WI., I think of BrightCellars. From <10 employees to >30 employees within a year and couple months, the team at BrightCellars has truly blossomed to create a tale of success for small businesses/startups. And what better way to celebrate their growth than an office warming party with wine and cheese!
When BrightCellars moved into Milwaukee and called Ward4 their home, they were still a small team of less than 10 employees. I was fortunate enough to meet some of the team during the first month of their arrival. From a cold email, I received a heartwarming invitation to tour the office from Maria. I was excited to see what BrightCellars was all about and was glad that I made the spontaneous effort to email Maria.
Upon arrival at Ward4, I met up with Maria and took a short stroll to their office down the hall. The door to the office had the company's logo, sweet and simple. Maria escorted me in and started showing me the decorations of the office and how she plans on making it more spiffy. I still remember the vineyard type arch at the entrance of the office that was wrapped around in white LED rope lights. At the time, Maria and two other employees were in the office.
The two employees were the CTO, Joe, and the lead software engineer, Jared.
As a Software Engineering student, I was fortunate to have been able to meet these two. I wanted to meet Richard, the CEO, but he was out of town at the time of my visit.
Talking to Joe was one of the best moments during my visit to BrightCellars' first office in Milwaukee. He and Richard are the co-founders of BrightCellars which was born in Boston, MA. They are both graduates of MIT. Maria was their first hire who is also from Boston. They applied to Gener8tor (an accelerator), became successful there, and decided to call Milwaukee, WI their home. I am so glad that they made this decision because BrightCellars is always doing good things and is a great addition to the business world of Milwaukee.
I find it amazing that BrightCellars moved to Milwaukee and stayed here. They could have moved back to Boston, but they stayed in Milwaukee! From the initial meeting with Maria, Joe, and Jared, I did not come back to see them again in the office until February 3, 2017.
The next time I saw the team, I learned that they have grown to have >30 employees. And unfortunately, Joe was not present at the time during the night's office warming soiree. I had a chance to catch up with Maria and Jared. The engineering team grew and I was able to meet and chat with two software engineers that were present. I got the sense of their talent from our conversations and was glad that BrightCellars hired some bright minds. Turns out, a classmate of mine at MSOE will be starting full-time with BrightCellars in Summer 2017!
Entering the new office and checking out the space during the soiree made me flashback to the first time I visited the now old office. This flashback put a smile on my face because I was able to see the growth of BrightCellars that night. I was also fortunate to have a great conversation with Richard and listened to the story of BrightCellars and how he and Joe possessed entrepreneurial minds back in college. Richard welcomed the guests and shared a nice speech during the soiree.
I am glad that I was able to make it to the celebration of BrightCellar's growth aka office warming party. I hope to visit again when the team has grown to >50 and then >100 employees. To Richard, Joe, Jared, Maria, and the rest of the team, keep up the fantastic work and keep achieving the success you all have helped cultivate. Make Milwaukee the place for small businesses and have fun while doing so (which of course is not a problem with support from your parties!).