Identifying a gap in the market
, an Eau Claire-based company that builds enterprise software tools for Apple devices, has successfully grown into a global, multi-million dollar company with 450 employees and is using its profits to invest in its local community. Zach Halmstad launched the company in 2002 with only $2,000 in his pocket – just enough to buy a computer, software and web hosting. Prior to turning his entrepreneurial aspirations into a reality, Halmstad worked as a system administrator for a Mac lab at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. “There were all these great tools out there for managing Windows machines, but not for Apple,” Halmstad said. “We saw an opportunity to really make a difference in the day-to-day lives of Apple admins, and we thought we could make them more successful in their jobs, and hopefully give them some balance in their lives, too.”
Launching his own business on a shoestring budget was tough, but Halmstad and his team stayed patient, believed in what they were building, and stayed focused on providing the best value to their customers. Today, JAMF Software has customers around the globe in both the education and commercial spaces, and it has built a community with more than 20,000 members. It has U.S. offices in Eau Claire; Minneapolis; New York; and Cupertino, California, and international offices in Amsterdam, Sydney and Hong Kong.
Rapid growth, community investment
In 2014, JAMF Software relocated its Eau Claire staff from a 16,000-square-foot space in a remodeled JCPenney store to a brand new, $12 million, 70,000-square-foot building in the heart of the city. Staying loyal to its Eau Claire roots, JAMF Software has invested in local real estate projects and developments meant to revitalize the city. The company recently contributed $500,000 to the Confluence Project, a nearby public-private development that will feature a performing arts center, retail outlets and university housing. Halmstad is personally investing in two Eau Claire hotel renovation projects. Additionally, JAMF Software has helped the Eau Claire economy by hiring local residents that fit the company’s culture and teaching them how to handle tech support, quality assurance and other roles. “It is very rewarding being able to see people grow in their personal and professional lives,” Halmstad said. “So many people have advanced in our company as we’ve grown, and also bought their first house and started their families. Being a small part of that has been an amazing experience.”