Investing in Talent and Technology With Syvantis Technologies in Baxter

Entrepreneur Fund

September 2, 2021

Janelle Riley, is the founder and owner of Syvantis Technologies in Baxter, Minnesota

Syvantis Technologies was founded in 2000 by Janelle Riley as a local managed services provider out of Baxter, Minnesota. Since then, the company has grown into a leading provider of integrated, industry-specific cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and business productivity software to organizations of all sizes across the country. Syvantis’ services moved to 100% cloud-based in 2008, making the company a cost-effective, remote solution for clients across the country. 

Riley offers high-quality, professional jobs in rural Minnesota, and takes a keen interest in developing her staff. She’s found that investing heavily in training opportunities empowers employees to accomplish their career goals and grow within Syvantis. So, when she needed funding to expand her Syvantis team, why couldn’t her traditional banking partner present an offer? It came down to two simple reasons. First, her growing real estate endeavors maxed out her loan opportunities. Second, Syvantis, a cloud-based technology company, lacked sufficient collateral to satisfy another loan.

That’s when Janelle and her banking partner approached the Entrepreneur Fund with an idea. 

In 2018 our lending team worked closely with Janelle to understand her busines model and revenue streams. Because Syvantis had many clients with three-year contracts, revenue was secure for years to come. We recognized this truly valuable (albeit non-traditional) asset and were able to use it as collateral.

When her traditional banking partner’s hands were tied up with their real estate transactions, we secured the funding Janelle needed to grow. This working capital gave Janelle the flexibility she needed to invest in her team. The flexible financing from the Entrepreneur Fund helped Syvantis to add value to the company, invest in retaining a highly specialized team, and hire and train new team members.

A year later, Syvantis continued to grow, acquiring a competing company, and adding four more team members. Currently Syvantis has about 28 full time staff who are all making annual salaries between $50k and $100k. Because developers are a highly specialized skill, half of Janelle’s team is now located remotely outside central Minnesota. The other half that focuses on company administration are all based in the Brainard Lakes area. Janelle prioritizes hiring locally when possible and continues to heavily invest in training the right people with the necessary skills. 

The two most recent Syvantis hires came to the company with the desire to move to the Brainard area but no professional job prospects in their fields. Janelle and her team brought a chemical engineer and Ph.D of microbiology onto the team, and a year later all parties have benefited from the Syvantis approach. "You have to invest in your people to grow your business. It's as simple as that", said Janelle. 

Looking ahead, Janelle is considering acquiring another company that would add 10 more people to her team immediately, and likely expand her administrative department in Minnesota. Recently when discussing her plans with some of her peers they asked how she would finance it. Janelle’s response was that she feels confident she will be able to move forward if she chooses to because there are people in her area that can help her with gap financing. "[Organizations like the Entrepreneur Fund] open the possibility to have the cash to grow and invest in people. To really be able to think outside the box, because we are located in central Minnesota and have strong relationships."

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