Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Low-down on Byte Technology

Clarence Low brought his family and his website-development company to metro Denver without much of a clue about the tech market here in 2003. The move, in fact, was primarily driven by a desire to join family already living in Evergreen.

But Low knew the Denver Tech Center was a big draw for tech workers, and he realized the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce was much larger than the Monterey, Calif., chamber, which he and his brother Terry used as a source for leads when they founded their business in California in 2001.

From the start, "community involvement" was a staple of Byte Technology, the Lows' company.

So getting involved in the Denver chamber was a no-brainer for Low. He knew he could leverage his active participation in chamber programs into a list of customers -- even in a market thick with rival web developers.

"We have donated our time, money and services to local nonprofits, whether it's helping them with their online marketing strategies, or helping them build websites, or whatever," Low said in an interview. "We have worked with childrens' services, childrens' museums, foundations, philanthropic efforts or organizations, things like that."

"Through ... working with some of the executives in those organizations, we have been able to gather referrals," he said. It was the formula Low and his brother used to found their company, so here, he said, "We're leveraging that formula."

"It's not rocket science," said Clarence Low, who is a trained marine scientist.

He and his brother both rode the tech wave that blew up the bubble in Silicon Valley, and when it burst, in 2001, and each found themselves dripping wet and without a job, they decided to stake out their own niche in the tech market -- on the shores of Monterey Bay.

Literally. Byte Technology started in a storefront shop in downtown Monterey, and offered tourists to the nearby Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row computer stations to log on to the Internet. "It was actually really cool," Low remembers now. Tourists from overseas would come in to download photographs or to send e-mails back home. Then the visitors would ask what the brothers did to make a profit from the enterprise.

"So we actually got a couple clients that way," Low said. At the time, the company was setting up and servicing computer stations in small businesses and nonprofits, doing network support and designing websites as well. When Clarence Low moved to Denver in 2003, Byte sold off the network business and focused on website development.

Today, Byte Technology still has only three employees in both its location, although it supplements its workforce with contract workers. Clarence Low said each customer's project is tailored to the company's or organization's specific needs. Byte's prices are competitive but also tailored to each customer's needs, Low said. In 2008, which included a good chunk of the nation's economic downturn, Byte turned about $300,000 to $500,000 in revenues, he said, being purposely vague.

"Yesterday, I gave a presentation to a nonprofit in Aurora that specializes in providing services to refugees and recent Asian immigrants," said Low whose parents emigrated to San Francisco from Southern China. "They were interested in a multi-lingual component to their website," he said, so within his 45-minue presentation Low showed the group how to upload Korean on the site with ease. That, too, is one of Byte Technology's product offerings. It can show an organization how to self-maintain the sites it creates, adding to a group's or a small business's longterm savings even as it upgrades to the latest in doing business on the web.

Clarence Low's goals for the company are reaching $2 million in annual revenues and, perhaps, 10 employees in both the California and Colorado offices over the next five to seven years. "I give myself that timeframe," he said, because both he and his brother are committed to not growing so fast they begin to shirk ongoing services they provide to their oldest clients.

Check out Byte Technology's website here, and you'll find the kind of "strong, effective, refreshing" design Byte can provide, along with a row of fruit splashing into some clear water that is also emblematic of the company's work. Clarence Low said each employee adopts one of the fruit images to include on the back of a business card, and his is the kiwi. It's a good way for people to recognize him once they've seen the card or one of his business presentations, Low said.

"Hey, you're the kiwi guy!" he said one potential customer greeted him in an airport one day. "Yes, I am," Low said he responded. "You can call me the kiwi guy, as long as you know who I am," he said.

His brother, Terry, is the orange.

Byte Technology: a brand that refreshes your digital presence. Try a bite.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bob,

    That is the type of story I would like to see more of in the news, especially when imigration becomes a topic again. In fact, why not seek more energetic immigrant entrepreneurs and tell their stories in a regularly published column. Their stories are remarkable and can demonstrate what a great country America is.

    Great story.....keep up the good work.