St. Anthony: Twin Cities software firm is saved by many

The momentum is building at the small Bloomington software company once known as Bromelkamp Co.

We last checked in with the company in early 2020, not long after founder Henry Bromelkamp sustained a near-fatal head injury from a scooter accident. At the time, John Long, who had founded his own software company, had been recruited to take over for Bromelkamp as CEO.

Today, the firm has a new name — AkoyaGo — and it has refined its the software and services it provides to charitable foundations. It has also raised more capital and grown its revenue.

“There are always challenges and things we need to work on, including finding and retaining talent,” Long said in an interview. “In general, things are going great. I’m optimistic.”

This was a many-hands recovery after Bromelkamp’s March 2019 accident.

His brothers Mike, a retired CPA, and Dave, an investment manager, brought in business advisor Rick Brimacomb to find a successor. Mike also became the court-appointed co-conservator of Henry’s affairs, along with Jeff Nelson, Henry’s spouse.

Before then, Henry Bromelkamp made all the key decisions at his company. In the months after his injury, its performance slowed. Long didn’t come aboard until January 2020. There was a lot of ground to make up.

Long, 53, founded software-staffing firm Avionte, which he left in 2018 several years after it was acquired by a private-equity outfit.

Long was attracted to Bromelkamp for the challenge and because he was inspired by Henry Bromelkamp’s mission to make the world a better place.

Bromelkamp, who is now 65, was a software whiz who once worked for IBM. He also has a passion for philanthropy, mainly helping children in poverty from Minneapolis to South Africa.

AkoyaGo, renamed for the new software that Henry Bromelkamp pioneered and improved by Long’s team, has raised about $4 million in critical capital since 2021 from local individual investors and an institution.

The company doubled employment and revenue in 2021. AkoyaGo expects to grow revenue up to 40% this year and achieve revenue of $3 million, Long said.

Investments are in place to produce $10 million in annual revenue within four years, he added.

“We’re still small,” Long said. “But almost all the growth is on a recurring basis. We’ll be profitable in 2023. We’re hiring the right people and scaling.”

The capital allowed Long to hire a chief technology officer and software developers, instead of contractors, as well as customer-service personnel. There’s been a 90% reduction in customers waiting for technological assistance.

“The foundation space is a great space,” Long said. “We need to fund the nonprofits and social justice and other philanthropic work that is important. There is competition in this industry, but I think we can win by making sure we don’t do dumb stuff. We’re hiring developers and shoring up customer service. We are getting there.”

In addition to last year’s individual “angel” investors, AkoyaGo this month closed on $2.5 million of convertible preferred stock. The lead $1 million came from Mairs & Power venture capital in St. Paul, Brimacomb Capital and several other individual investors who also invested in 2021.

Though he can’t work at the firm, Henry Bromelkamp is still the majority owner after fundraising.

Long said Bromelkamp Co. is still the legal name of the firm while it uses AkoyaGo in the marketplace. Akoya is the company’s new software, named for a Japanese pearl when Henry Bromelkamp commenced work on it to succeed the previous software, known as Pearl.

Rick Brimacomb said friends and family are happy and inspired by Bromelkamp’s recovery.

“Physically, he has progressed to walking around the block with his four-point cane,” Brimacomb said. “He is still using a wheelchair for most other activities outside the home.

“His speech continues to improve, but still needs help with some vocabulary and memory,- as is typical for a person recovering from a traumatic brain injury.”