In 2007, Dan Galvez and Pete Madsen founded Hedgehog Development. They were committed to building a company that clients could trust, and that employees would be proud to be a part of. Hedgehog celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and Pete Madsen couldn't be prouder.
What inspired you to start Hedgehog?
Dan Galvez and I had been working together since the mid 1990’s building small business websites (lots of hand coding HTML), under the name Hedgehog Development. In 2000 we became partners in a company called Ruby Digital, a tech company focused on building software in the wealth management space. The company was doing well, and by 2006 we had 25 employees – including Bruce Lee, Andy Karaptis, Brian Cronin and Charlie Turano. Then, in late 2006, Dan and I decided we wanted to get back to helping businesses be better at what they do, and not be focused on one vertical. With those goals in mind, we resurrected the Hedgehog Development name, jumped off the cliff and started over in January 2007.
Looking back on the last 10 years, what has surprised you the most?
The fact that we have multiple campuses in the US and Bulgaria. When we started Hedgehog, we were just trying to get through each day. Our plans never included expanding outside of Holbrook. When we left Ruby our outside goal was to get to 25 people. It took us 6 years at Ruby to make that happen, so that was our target. That, and having a diverse vertical client base. Having an office outside the US was never in the plans. If Dan and I had not attended a meeting at Dowling College, we never would have met Petko or Elena and there would never have been a Bulgarian office.
What Hedgehog accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am incredibly proud that we’ve built something that people believe in. I love that people feel strongly enough about Hedgehog that they would leave jobs to come work here, that they can buy houses, get married, and have children.
What Hedgehog event will you never forget?
The first Sitecore Symposium in Boston, where Sean and Dan publicly demonstrated TDS for the first time. After that demo, Dan and I got pulled into a meeting with the Sitecore guys and they were very impressed by what Hedgehog had put together.
Which Hedgehog milestone stands out in your mind?
It is a three-way tie; opening the Charlotte, Sofia and Portland offices. I knew we could be successful. I knew that we could grow an organization, that we were great at developing partner channels and talking to customers, but I never thought that we would open offices outside of Holbrook.
What’s your favorite Hedgehog memory?
So many to choose from…maybe when we first came to the Holbrook office. The whole crew was working out of my house, and it was just getting to be too much. Dan and I had a friend who had been running a small web development company out of the office here in Holbrook and he still had the key to the door. He suggested we should go have another look at the office space. So, we drove over late one afternoon and let ourselves in. As we were walking around the landlord came in and asked us who we were. We quickly told him that our friends used to work out of this space and we came over to see the office, and we found the door unlocked so we walked in. I don’t think he believed us. Anyway, we started talking to him, and soon realized that he and I knew some of the same people. We got to swapping stories, and after a while he turned to me and said “Do you want the space?” I told him I did, but wasn’t sure if we could afford it. He looked me in the eyes and said “Look, you’re a good guy, I’m a good guy, I’ll let you have the space for three months for a thousand bucks a month. At the end of three months if you want to stay we’ll figure something out.”. I held out my hand and we shook on our “good guy lease”. Ten years later, and about four times the amount of space, we are still here and still friends with our landlord and his sons.
What does Hedgehog mean to you?
This may sound crazy, but Hedgehog is like my child. I have poured my heart and soul into helping make this the company what it is today. My entire identity in life is wrapped up in being a co-founder of a great company with a great team in multiple locations around the world.
What do you see in the ten years ahead?
I wish I had a crystal ball 😊. We have a 10-year plan includes continued growth, and diversified offerings, and we continue to march towards that.