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Greenville Business Magazine

Kopis Celebrates 20th Anniversary This Month

Apr 30, 2019 11:45AM

Andrew Kurtz had one clear goal when he decided to leave his job in 1999 and focus on creating custom software that led to real solutions for customers.

That was to build a company that was always striving to be better and to offer to more, but also be one that creates and develops the community around it. Twenty years later, that company he created, Kopis, is doing all of that and so much more.

“I created this company to do something bigger,” Kurtz said. “We loved solving the challenging problems and helping innovate companies and pushing them to use technology to achieve their business objectives.”

A Furman University graduate, Kurtz opened the first office of what was then known as Proactive Technology in a second-floor in the Plaza Bergamo downtown.  The company quickly grew from three employees to 15 in 18 months which resulted in the need for more office space. Kurtz moved the company to Ivey Square, on top of today’s Southern Tide in a space that could acclimate the promising growth of the company in the fall of 2001.

However, the September 11 terrorist attacks, the internet bubble bursting, and the NASDAQ crash, led to projects completely and quickly ending. Despite the setback, Kurtz held on tightly to his dream and downsized to five key employees.

“We realized the convergence of Y2K and the founding of the Internet doesn’t just happen every day,” he said. “After 9-11, we dropped down to reality and took a stair-step approach to growth.”

The company bounced back, adding employees as needed and growing again to 15 employees within four years, moving to a West End office with stunning views of Falls Park.

At the same time, Kurtz got involved with the tech growth project known as NEXT. In 2009, the company moved to the NEXT Innovation Center, located a stone’s throw from Greenville’s historic Sirrine Stadium, and remains there to this day.

The company has grown steadily post the 2008 recession finally reaching a point where the work grew to be too much for Kurtz to handle alone. That led to restructuring the business, top-down to allocate responsibilities to the employees.

In 2015, Kurtz promoted Kevin Wentzel to chief operating officer and Adam Drewes to chief marketing officer with the goals of creating a plan on longevity for the firm, which would allow Kurtz the freedom to manage his own schedule and jump in as needed from a higher-level. In 2015, the company rebranded as Kopis.

Kurtz then began a series of acquisitions, starting with ACUMEN IT’s Enterprise Resource Planner (ERP) Division and ended with NWN’s SmartGov Division in early 2018. These two acquisitions alone doubled the company’s size and value.

“These additions to Kopis, moved us up the strategy chart for our customers. We were placed into areas we had never been before, working with new sectors of clients. We had a 40 percent head-count increase and were forced to change our processes rapidly,” he said.

In early 2019, Kopis doubled its size in office space in the NEXT Building, just in time for its twentieth birthday. Kopis’s capabilities have increased, but the focus remains the same - solving business problems, through technology. The re-branding justifies the ideal, showcase a Kopis sword that sliced the fabled Gordian Knot.