Location: 600 Star Brewery Drive, Suite 200, Dubuque
Started in: 1983
Number of employees: About 65
Over the past 40 years in business, a Dubuque-based software company has grown to have a global reach.
Eagle Point Software, located on the second floor of the Star Brewery building in the Port of Dubuque, offers an e-learning system that helps architectural, engineering, construction and manufacturing companies teach their employees how to use the companies’ technology and software.
After getting its start with just two self-taught developers, Eagle Point Software’s products now are used by thousands of companies worldwide, including big names such as Amazon and Walt Disney Imagineering.
“We didn’t know what we wanted to become,” said John Biver, Eagle Point Software president and CEO, when reflecting on the company’s history. “We were trying to solve a problem for ourselves, and others were interested in solving the same problem, as well. It evolved into the concept of solving problems for people.”
The company currently has about 65 employees, with 55 based in Dubuque and others working remotely elsewhere. Biver noted that most employees have been working from home since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
However, the company started in 1983 with just Biver and his business partner, Scott Taylor, who left the company in the 1990s. The two were working as civil engineers in Dubuque at the time, and personal computers were just coming onto the market.
“We bought an IBM PC when it first came on the market, but it didn’t have any engineering software on it,” Biver said. “So we started building software for engineers.
“… We took a one-semester program on software development in college, a three-credit course. We were self-taught developers. We didn’t go into it with the design of being a software company. We were looking at where the market was heading and became a software company.”
The company’s current signature product, the Pinnacle Series, offers a vast catalog of training videos, documents and other resources to help employees learn the company’s technology. The system also offers translation in 60 languages.
The system offers several benefits for companies that use it, Biver said. This includes higher retention of employees after they receive training in their company’s technology, as well as increased efficiency.
“The other thing it helps with is onboarding,” Biver said. “Architects and engineers that get out of school know the theory, but they don’t know the technological tools. That’s not taught as much, and they sure don’t know this specific organization’s technology.”
The Pinnacle Series got its start 10 years ago, as Eagle Point Software began selling its training software to bigger customers. In the years since, the company also began partnering with resellers to get the e-learning system to customers.
“In the 1990s, we were selling to the smallest firms in the U.S., typically in Iowa,” Biver said. “The resellers were in the big cities, so we were selling in places where this didn’t exist. Our business became global in nature once we partnered with the resellers. Now, we’re in the (United Kingdom), Europe, Australia and across North America.”
Eagle Point Software’s customers now number around 2,800 and include globally known companies such as Amazon.
The company’s team has grown along with its reach. In the past two years, the software development team has grown from four people to 25 people.
Biver said the company has a strong employee base in the Dubuque area, one of the reasons the city is a good location for its office.
“When we hire, we look here in Dubuque first,” he said. “The work we do and the success we have is because of the people.”
The company also has added a customer success team over the last five years. Amanda Wachendorf, director of product management, said the team is in contact with customers after they purchase the Pinnacle Series to ensure implementation goes well and that customers can customize the system to their needs.
“It’s not like we just hand it over and say, ‘Here you go,’” Wachendorf said. “We help them with what they need.”
She said the customer success team has grown to 25 people and that its efforts help Eagle Point Software stand out.
“I love working here,” Wachendorf added. “I’ve had such a wonderful experience in the past five years. Everyone I work with has so much passion, and we’re meeting an unmet need.”
Eagle Point Software also is poised for continued growth.
In August 2021, Eagle Point Software acquired KnowledgeSmart, a company based in the United Kingdom. While Eagle Point Software offers a training system for employees, KnowledgeSmart offers a testing system that serves the same kinds of customers.
“When we integrate the KnowledgeSmart system with the Pinnacle Series, we can test an employee of a customer organization, determine where there are gaps in their knowledge and automatically create a training course custom built for that individual where the individual is trained on gaps in their knowledge and not on things they already know,” Biver said.
The company also is working on expanding its Pinnacle Series library in the construction sector as that field becomes more technology-based, Biver said.
Eagle Point Software also is working on a learning management system. The system would help organizations select businesses to work on projects based on their credentials and licensing. Biver said that system will be launched in phases over the next three years.
“Now, we’re solving another problem,” he said. “It generates revenue for us, and it helps out customers save money by getting both systems from the same place.”