Today, Rick, Tony, and I are announcing that we are stepping away from Flywheel after founding the company eight years ago. It has been the biggest honor of our lives to serve as the leaders and day-to-day managers of Flywheel, but we are confident that now is the time to assume the role of proud parents and make room for an extraordinary new generation of leaders.
When Rick, Tony, and I met up all those years ago to talk about creating Flywheel, we never could have dreamed of what was ahead of us. At the time, we were designers and developers, building websites for clients of all shapes and sizes. Frustrated with having our time eaten up by bad hosting and workflows, we built Flywheel for ourselves.
Flywheel was fueled by an unstoppable passion for solving the unique problems of creatives who build sites for clients. We built an incredible team, a whimsical brand, a company culture we could be proud of, and products that spoke to the hearts and souls of creatives around the world.
After years of incredible growth, we were approached by WP Engine in 2019 with the idea of joining forces to build a combined company that served up a suite of hosting and services to small creative teams and freelancers, while providing best-in-class enterprise hosting to the world’s largest brands. Over the past 18 months, Rick, Tony, and I worked alongside Heather Brunner, WP Engine’s Chairwoman and CEO, to thoughtfully and intentionally combine our two organizations – our missions and our values – to realize the full potential of our products and people in the support of our customers.
Going forward, Tommy Vacek, Ben Jackson, Bob Kubicek, Eric Broulette, Jim Brown, and Liz Maloley, all senior Flywheel leaders, and Seth Halpern, Senior Vice President and General Manager of WP Engine’s newly formed business unit serving SMBs, will assume all responsibilities and executive duties of leading, growing, and supporting the Flywheel product. Tommy, Ben, Bob, Eric and Liz have been leading Flywheel’s engineering, sales, CS, and support teams for the past several years, and Seth has spent the past year learning about Flywheel’s customers and supporting its sales organization. I have no doubt that these leaders will continue to grow Flywheel and provide incredible solutions for our customers for years to come.
I’d also like to note that our customers, and their sites, will not see any changes in their day-to-day encounters with Flywheel. The teams you’ve come to know and love are here to support your sites and help you grow your business. In fact, once it’s safe to go back to the office, they will move into the brand new Ashton Building in north downtown Omaha, now WP Engine’s second largest office! There, the team will continue to flourish, as it’s always been our people who have made Flywheel so special.
We will be grateful, always, to those first customers who took a chance on us, so early on. Creatives, freelancers, small agencies – many of them located right here in Omaha. Thank you Grain & Mortar, Oxide Design, Fruitful Design, and countless others who believed in that early product and vision, and provided amazing feedback and friendship over the years.
Additionally, one of the legacies that we are most proud of at Flywheel is our focus on taking bets on the potential of people. In our scrappiest days, we hired interns and code school grads and newcomers, knowing that gathering people with great potential and drive would create a truly remarkable result.
I wouldn’t be telling the whole story if I didn’t admit that a lot of people took a bet on us, too. We were just three guys in t-shirts (we still are, actually) trying to build something special in the middle of the country. Our investors, our customers, and most especially, our employees, took a big bet on us.
Thank you for trusting us, for believing in us, and for helping us build something extraordinary. We’ll never forget it.
Cheers to doing your best work! Thank you for helping us do ours all these years.
Dusty, Rick & Tony