Since its founding in 2012, iSenpai has grown from two employees to where we are today with employees across the nation, taking on the most challenging jobs in agile development, analytics, and cybersecurity. In 2021, iSenpai made its second appearance on the Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment--its independent small businesses.
Founder and CEO Tabby Mitchell says she’s looking forward to even more significant strides in the future. “Being on the Inc 5000 in 2021 is beyond perfect for all of us at iSenpai. The underlying founding mission of our innovative cyber company is to end childhood blindness. Our mission is vision, which is why we started iSenpai while working in global defense, IT infrastructure, and national security. I’m confident iSenpai isn’t stopping at 2879,” said Mitchell.
Private, for-profit companies giving to charities or having philanthropies is nothing new. However, over the last several years, increasing numbers of entrepreneurs and private business owners have decided that they shouldn’t have to pick between being a non-profit enterprise or focusing solely on the bottom line. To that end, there is an ever-increasing number of businesses that are “profit-for-purpose” or “social businesses.” These company’s founders, owners, and employees believe companies have an obligation not just to a healthy bottom-line, but to their communities and society as a whole. While they don’t meet all the requirements for non-profit status and protections, they are still focused overwhelmingly on a positive cause that extends beyond just making money.
It was in the rise of this new business model that iSenpai came to be. While agile software development, analytics, and cybersecurity are their core capabilities, iSenpai was founded not on a profit-maximization principle but instead on one of social benefit. The founders, who’s youngest child has a rare form of hereditary blindness, had tried repeatedly to raise money for this little known and under-funded area. Unsatisfied with the pace at which they were able to raise money for the genetic research, they decided to use skills they already had in the government and technology sector. They founded the company intending to redirect the majority of their profits to help eradicate childhood blindness diseases.
While it might seem counterintuitive to divert money that might go towards additional marketing or bigger bonuses, iSenpai has found that employees are also motivated by the idea that their work not only solves authentic and challenging problems but contributes to the betterment of society as a whole. “ Every employee knows we have big missions at iSenpai. They keep all of us focused,” said Mitchell. “Everyone in the technology sector pays well, and we make sure we have exceptional fringe benefits on top of that. But at some point, we have been excited to find people also want to know that what they’re accomplishing goes beyond just making money.”
As the iSenpai brand continues to develop and grow, the company has been fortunate to diversify its efforts, not only funding research but building tools such as our 508 compliance tool. iSenpai is always looking for ways to engage with other partners to continue growing these efforts and supporting the special needs within their communities. Call them “profit-for-purpose,” “not-just-for-profit,” or “social business,” but don’t call them just another beltway contractor.