Startups

PickTrace: Q & A with Brothers/Co-Founders Harrison & Austin Steed

New to the Glendale Tech Scene is PickTrace, a fast growing software company that provides high tech solutions for farms all over the US, Latin America and Australia, founded by brothers Austin & Harrison Steed.

After moving their operation from Northern California to beautiful downtown Glendale, they talked to us about their startup journey, overcoming obstacles, how they narrowed the search for a new home from 17 cities across the U.S. to Glendale, CA, and why they're thrilled to be here.

Harrison Steed, Co-Founder and COO of PickTrace

Harrison Steed, Co-Founder and COO of PickTrace

Tell us a little about PickTrace; how did the idea for the company develop and what has it evolved into today?

PickTrace was founded after my brother (Austin) was asked by my father to create a system to resolve our workforce management issues. After a year of building the solution for our own family farm, and creating multiple iterations, the product took shape and other growers garnered interest in what became PickTrace. After selling to our first few customers in 2014, Austin and I opened our first office in San Diego. Shortly after, we were accepted into Y Combinator in Mountain View, CA and raised a small round of capital. We continued to grow, hiring a small fantastic team in the East Bay of San Francisco. In Fall of 2018 we raised a Series A financing round and decided to move to Glendale! 

Why is PickTrace an important player in your industry?

PickTrace is helping growers complete a core function of their business, payroll. Without a solution like PickTrace, farmers leave themselves exposed to payroll noncompliance lawsuits, workforce inefficiencies, and lack of production insights. Agriculture is one of the slowest adopters of technology, yet is one of the most important industries in the world - we strive to provide tools that will ultimately lead to healthier businesses that produce higher yields.

What were some of the challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are today?

In a startup, nothing is permanent! The go-to market strategy will change, the product will change, the management style will change, etc. - you're constantly in flux and iterating on ideas and methods. It can be a challenge to let go of an idea that the company has outgrown or methods you've practiced for years. Financial constraints were also a constant battle pre-Series A.

PickTrace is used all over the US, Latin America and Australia. Why did you choose Glendale to be home to your headquarters?

We started with a list of 17 cities across the US. We considered a large list of metrics and requirements, ultimately whittling down the list to just two areas, Denver and Los Angeles. After a lot of thought and multiple visits to each city, we decided Glendale because of 6+ things. Proximity to customers, number of other successful businesses in the city, walk-ability, traffic, transportation infrastructure, affordability of office space and general cost of living

Austin Steed, Co-Founder and CEO of PickTrace

Austin Steed, Co-Founder and CEO of PickTrace

You’ve been in Glendale for over 6 months now. How’s it going so far? What do you love most about our city?

Being in Glendale has been a fantastic decision. The food! I do not think most people realize just how many different restaurants Glendale has, you can eat somewhere different every single day. I also love the cleanliness of the city - you guys have done a great job of maintaining a clean and safe environment. I appreciate some of the changes that we have seen in the last few months, like the new outdoor eating area in the alley on Wilson near our office.

If someone came to you for advice about possibly moving their business to Glendale what would you tell them?

I would tell them there is a great space available in our fantastic building! I would tell them that Glendale is a young, active city with a lot to offer - it has everything that a business needs - parking, food, gyms, great traffic management.

Drawing on personal experience, what advice would you give to new startups hoping to break into the tech industry?

Focus. One of the biggest challenges, and something we are dealing with today, was a lack of focus on the minimum viable product. It was easy for us to become distracted and allow sales to dictate product. When sales dictates product, we've found that long-term vision becomes cloudier. When we were able to focus on selling to a small group of people, with a very focused product, with a clear path to how we will achieve growth and expansion, product was happiest, customers were happiest, and sales were strongest.

Any final thoughts?

Join our team! We are constantly hiring and looking for awesome people to join PickTrace!