NH Business

CARLA VANDERHOOF and the Exeter startup she runs with her husband have been getting a lot of attention lately, thanks to their inclusion in a campaign commercial produced for Sen. Maggie Hassan.

Even their 8-year-old daughter’s classmates have seen it.

“It’s hilarious. I had no idea how frequently it would run, but we’ve had so many of our friends and neighbors contacting us,” said Vanderhoof, who co-founded addapptation with Sumner Vanderhoof in 2017.

Addapptation is one of two companies featured in the commercial, which focuses on Hassan’s support of high tech in New Hampshire.

“When she was governor she worked on a lot of the innovation policies that helped our business as well as others get started,” Vanderhoof said during an interview last week. “It felt very good to be able to support her, too.”

The media splash comes as addapptation launches a rebrand and a refined focus. The company got its start helping customers reduce the complexity of their file systems by installing a series of micro-apps.

“Previously addapptation was the low-code app development platform to improve your Salesforce.com systems,” she said. “But now we are very much focused on the ABM space, which is account-based marketing.”

As the pandemic reduced in-person contact in the sales cycle, the need for better digital systems emerged.

“The pandemic really pushed this account-based mentality. Marketing and sales have to be based on building meaningful relationships and messaging that is hyper-targeted,” Vanderhoof said.

“I don’t know if you get a thousand emails every day from people trying to sell you things. But when they’re generic, I don’t even open them anymore. They really need to speak to the person.”

The company’s pivot was a natural outgrowth of responding to what its customers needed to engage with prospects online.

“When we analyzed all of the apps that we had built for customers, we realized they kind of fell into three categories,” she said.

“They were either solutions that helped automate part of their process, they were solutions that helped evaluate performance of either departments or companies and helped with that reporting, or they were really unique engagement opportunities, like trip portals or competitions.”

The pandemic also accelerated addapptation’s own digital marketing efforts as the shift to remote working made it harder to meet with customers in person.

“We knew we were going to have to establish a digital go-to-market and establish that digital presence. But we were so in-person based that that wasn’t our priority. But the pandemic made it our priority,” she said. “There were a lot of growth pain moments with that, but they ended up being really valuable growth moments.”

Addapptation currently employs 11 full-time employees and a few part-time workers. The company moved into a newly renovated double condo unit in Exeter in February 2020 — weeks before the pandemic upended workplaces.

“We were in there all of three weeks. And then it was like, ‘OK everybody go home. We’ll just leave this beautiful, shiny new space,’” Vanderhoof said. “It’s been fine because Sumner and I still have a space we can go to, and people can go there when they need to. And now we have more people back in it.”

The company also expects to be on the lookout for new hires to populate that shiny new office.

“It’s still there, and it’s still beautiful, and we’re trying to fill it again.”

Vanderhoof will serve as moderator at 9 a.m. Tuesday during a panel talk with three startup founders as part of the New Hampshire Tech Alliance’s Innovation Summit, a four-day virtual event that runs Monday through Thursday. Visit nhtechalliance.org for more information.

Mike Cote is senior editor for news and business. Contact him at mcote@unionleader.com or (603) 206-7724.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not represent the views and opinions of the sponsor, its members and affiliates.