A Tale of Two Brothers: The Janeiro Digital Story
You know what they say: third time’s the charm.
If you ever needed proof, look no further than Janeiro Digital, a digital consultancy that designs and builds enterprise technology. The company also serves as the third for founding brothers Jonathan and Justin Bingham. The former serves as CEO for Janeiro, and the latter as CTO.
Jonathan, eight-and-a-half years Justin’s senior, is the more business-minded of the two. His younger brother describes him as “the brightest, most driven person that I know.”
Justin is more technologically-minded, though that might be an understatement. In the 1990s, at 16 years old, he got a technical support job at Shore.Net, an acclaimed regional ISP based out of Lynn and, within two years, was a leader on the systems and network engineering team, pioneering new approaches to security that were brand-new to the service provider space. When he was 19, he invented an altogether new type of network security system focused on advanced insider threat detection, and started his first of three companies, Intrusic—alongside his older brother.
Intrusic was founded in 2001, and offered “internal threat intelligence solutions.” In other words, their software protected your company from the threats that originated within. Intrusic would raise nearly $20M between three rounds of funding, but it closed its doors in 2007 due to significant competition in their industry.
“There was a valuable lesson that a good friend of ours—who was actually one of our investors—taught us, which was that there are two types of entrepreneurs in the world,” Jonathan said. “There are those that try once and fail, and then there are those who try once, may fail, may succeed, and then do it again. We did just that.”
In 2007, they started Surrge, which was looking to create a distribution channel for artists who wanted to sell music without needing to get on the iTunes Top 100 charts. The brothers funded the business with their own money, though it ultimately folded in 2009. But while Surrge didn’t succeed due to the complexity of building a music business, it made for another valuable learning experience.
The duo utilized the lessons they learned from running Intrusic and Surrge (making software, leading teams, and solving business problems) to start their third (and current) company, Janeiro Digital, in 2009.
For the first few years, the company enjoyed early success as a digital consultancy helping companies get their software projects over the finish line. That said, the duo recognized that the market for systems integrators and custom application development firms was crowded and competitive.
They took a step back to think about how they could differentiate themselves in the market. Ultimately, it was the product mindset they gained from running their own businesses, assisted by the fact that they were building applications in an agile environment before it was common.
“We found that one of the things we were best at was taking the business of content—and what outcomes clients wanted to achieve—and then running through all these scenarios to make sure there was a technical approach that was viable, and that constantly aligns back to those outcomes,” Jonathan said.
This is the basis of their Rapid Alignment, Design, and Development (RADD) process, which they use to help companies solve their digital challenges. Put simply, it’s an 8-week time period where the client is run through a proven methodology to design, validate, and deliver a technology solution that meets their business objectives. It is focused around testing hypotheses for a solution that addresses the company’s pain points—carefully considering technology, architecture, and subsequent development needs—and all done through rapid prototyping.
Their methodology has driven success for hundreds of clients, and at this stage in the game, they’ve grown far past their roots as a small company. Just this past year they introduced XFORM, a technology platform with a suite of components for rapidly building scalable, enterprise application architectures. Their revenue is growing at over 100% YOY, and the company expects a 2018 revenue of $20-25M. The Boston-based company currently maintains 80 employees, and Jonathan says they’re looking to hire 20-25 more in the next year.
If we’re following the premise that there are two types of entrepreneurs, it should be clear by now that Jonathan and Justin Bingham are the latter, “never give up” variety. Although there are many reasons for their success on that magical, third try, one of the most important might be the 18-year working relationship that Jonathan continues to have with his brother. “I love working with Justin,” he said. “He’s my best friend and a terrific business partner.”
Images provided by Janeiro Digital.