By Alexa Adler
Dominic and Tom Tancredi, the twin brothers who co-founded Dom and Tom, a privately-owned, nine-year old digital product development company with offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, believe the “secret sauce” behind their company’s success is working with friends and family, because they are “people who trust you” and whom you can trust.
Armed with this philosophy, the Tancredi brothers have grown company revenues from $4.13 million in 2013 to $11.87 million in 2017 and almost doubled the number of employees over the same period from 34 to 66.
While their basic business model of receiving “dollars for expertise and services” is “thousands of years old,” according to Tom Tancredi, their close-knit staff has proved adaptable in providing the corporate clients they serve with a menu of products and services that has evolved over time, beginning with their core expertise of “web services and development on an engineering level, to project design, development, ownership, quality assurance, project management and visual project development from inception to completion.”
Following the needs of their clients, according to the Tancredis, the company has become increasingly involved in new technologies like blockchain, voice applications and chatboxes, and recently, machine learning. Their website highlights a number of successful projects, such as designing and implementing a mobile platform to enable Fitch Ratings Co. to distribute its proprietary content to users.
The idea for the company was formulated in 2008 when the then 27-year-old twins moved in together in the Borough of Queens, New York. The iPhone had recently been released and the brothers saw an opportunity to develop iPhone-based expertise. Dom Tancredi had a background as a software developer and coder, while Tom had a background in finance and project management.
They began to develop apps for third parties and started a business, hiring their family and neighbors. Their father is their attorney and Joe Tancredi, a third brother, is the company’s director of special projects. Several Queens neighbors were also hired and remain with the company in senior positions, giving the company’s senior management a bit of the flavor of Vincent Chase’s Queens-based “entourage” in the popular HBO series.
In fact, according to Alice Fountain, the company’s public relations and content manager, “Around 75 percent of senior leadership has been here since the beginning,” making the company “really like a family.” It is this family-like atmosphere and the mutual trust that it engenders to which the Tancredi brothers attribute much of their growth and ability to motivate their employees to put in long hours and complete difficult projects in short time periods, as well as to cooperatively morph their expertise into newly emerging technologies. This friends and family-based approach also facilitates company employees’ ability to work cooperatively and to feel free to challenge one another in attaining optimal solutions.
Dom Tancredi recalls one difficult project in which a client wanted to get six weeks of work done in three weeks. By literally going to the mattresses, the company pulled it off with Tom Tancredi staying in the offices almost the entire time to make sure his colleagues were okay and being cared for appropriately. The successful completion of this project led to a four-year relationship with the client.
The Tancredi brothers emphasize that one of the major reasons for the company’s success is a strong motivation to complete projects on time. This determination to finish on time is confirmed by Stephanie Covino, corporate president of Safe Harbor Products Inc., for which Dom and Tom is currently building out a website. Covino also worked with Dom and Tom at a prior employer and cites the company’s relationship with her as being “built on trust for delivery and user experience.” Covino goes on to say that “Deliverables have always been met. When crunched for time, they have been able to suggest and do what they do best to make the best user experience for the customer.”
Dom and Tom’s friends and family approach is reflected in their new-hire practices. They like to recruit by word of mouth and rely a good deal on an in-house referral program that encourages current employees to bring their friends on board, thereby perpetuating the company’s family ethos. Not surprisingly, the company emphasizes organic growth and promotions from within.
The company’s client base consists of a broad range of enterprise, midmarket and earlier-stage customers, and their website lists a number of well-known clients, including Tysons Food Corp., the company’s first client which remains a client, Fitch Ratings, Priceline.com, University of Oklahoma, General Electric Co., McDonald’s Corp. and Cable News Network.