Grand Apps founders sell to employees

Tyler Kutt and Brandon Ross have been Grand Apps employees since 2013. Courtesy Grand Apps

Chris Ake, co-founder of Grand Apps, announced the sale of the company to employees Tyler Kutt and Brandon Ross.

Ake and Jon Butler founded Grand Apps in 2011, and the company steadily grew from just the two of them working in a basement to a downtown office and 17 employees at its height.

During that time, Grand Apps built over 1,000 mobile apps and more than 500 websites, serving clients all over the world, including in Australia, South Africa, the U.K. and Canada.

“Over the last three years, we kind of scaled down, Ake said. “We were paying entry-level people and thought we needed more top talent. Tyler’s one of those people, and we’re super happy we got him.”

Kutt and Ross have been Grand Apps employees since 2013. Kutt has a background in digital marketing and website development.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this,” Kutt said. “It’s been kind of an end goal for me from a career perspective. Chris and Jon built this from the ground up. After working with them for as long as I have, it’s let me see the back end of things before we even talked about transfer.”

Ake said Grand Apps received numerous sale inquiries over the past couple of years, including a company on the east side of the state with offices in New York and Boston, and another local tech company looking to merge. Ultimately, the previous owners decided the company’s reputation and knowing who was going to continue their legacy was most important.

“That legacy is the greatest thing they’re leaving behind, and I’m honored that they trust Brandon and me to take care of their first baby,” Kutt said.

Ake and Butler will stay on with Grand Apps for the short term to oversee the transition into early 2021. Kutt hinted at Grand Apps’ new services and products later on down the line.

After transferring ownership, Ake and Butler plan to focus on their newest venture, Sidekick Ai, a software that schedules the meetings and works with platforms like Google Hangouts. The two launched Sidekick earlier this year, according to a previous Business Journal report, and the platform now has 200 users.

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