Orlando and Rachelle Guitian, founders of Technology Innovation Lab of Texas stand in their new space at 560 East Mill Street in Little Falls.
by Dave Warner
Orlando and Rachelle Guitian have brought their software company to Little Falls, and to listen to them tell the story, it was quite a journey. Orlando is from Miami, and Rachelle is from Little Falls, but that first chapter, was not written in our City.
Orlando met Rachelle at a gym in Miami and he said, “We were friends for about a year and a half before we started dating. We got married in 2011 in Connecticut.”
Why Connecticut? Well, Rachelle went to Dolgeville High School until she was a junior and then moved to Connecticut. When she was 22, she told her Uncle that she wanted to move to Miami and live there. He told her “you have nothing holding you back. If you can find a job down there, go and do it.”
Rachelle said, “I went on a whim and my mother wanted to kill me.”
Her great-great-grandparents owned the Herkimer Home, “so, our family history here was very robust,” she said.
They both felt that Miami was wonderful and had great energy for entrepreneurs, but they felt suffocated at the same time, so after getting married, they decided to move back to Connecticut.
“I had a software company down in Miami and when we moved to Connecticut, her Uncle used to be CIO of a major health insurance company and suggested that I work for corporate America instead of dealing with the stress of having my own company,” said Orlando.
He felt that it was a different kind of stress, but decided to give it a try. “We were there for a year and a half when they asked me if I’d like to move to Houston. Of course, they called us on the coldest day in December and asked us if we wanted to do that. We flew down in February right after a big snowstorm and it was 72 degrees in Houston and we said, this is nice.”
Orlando stuck with the company for seven years, but it didn’t feel the same to him. Rachelle said, “He’s a very creative person and he needs that outlet. We had kept our software company and our few clients and he ended getting into AWS (Amazon Web Services) and he just went with it.”
Over the last five to six years, they’ve stuck with working on the AWS platform, cloud migration, and web technologies while their business has continued to grow. “It just grew exponentially over the past year and a half, so it gave us other opportunities. We kept thinking, well, maybe we should just leave the full-time job and take it (their own software business) and grow it,” said Rachelle.
Orlando was the one who suggested moving back to central New York, and Rachelle said, “Where are you thinking Little Falls, and why would you want to do that? He planted the seed and the wheels kept turning. We just felt like Little Falls is this gem and it creates this amazing container for entrepreneurs like us who work remotely and have a family.”
They wanted the support of family so that they could really focus on growing their business and making it what they dreamed it could be. They also wanted a place that would allow them to get involved in the community and make a difference, and they felt that Little Falls was that place.
“For us, we felt that the schools were just amazing. I’ve always told him there is no place like this. Public Schools are like private schools in the south. We were paying $15,000 per year for our son to go to a private pre-K school and now we’re getting something way better here,” stated Rachelle.
She feels that you have to come to Little Falls first to experience it and make the connections before you really get the opportunity to discover these little gems.
They had class-A office space in Houston, and Orlando was concerned about finding the right space here to grow. “I said trust me, you just have to get there first and start talking to people and you’ll understand and find what you’re looking for,” she said.
The first day they got here, that connection happened when Orlando ran into Todd Vincent at Stewarts. “We started talking and it’s funny how things just came together.”
Orlando feels that something drew them here and that it’s something that he really can’t explain. “We were in Houston, we were in Austin, we were in the tech capital of Texas. We were in both and I really don’t know what drew us to Little Falls and told us this is where you need to go. My only regret is that we didn’t move here sooner.”
Rachelle feels that those big cities can be very distracting. “What Little Falls does for us is to create this headspace to have that laser focus on what our goals are and where we want to go with the company. Because we’re a remote company and we work globally, we can work anywhere, so that gave us the opportunity.”
“Amazon reached out to us a couple of months ago because our voice over IP platform on their marketplace is the number one subscriber base,” said Orlando.
That call has allowed them to work closely with Amazon to continue to grow their business, and it has opened up opportunities for them to spread their knowledge.
They have reached out to the high school to try and get students involved in technology and what they’re doing as well. “We want to teach digital courses to show them how to do this.”
They also have a large wall that they want to have painted with a mural and a contest for the kids that might create it. “We wanted to see if they can paint something that integrates our software company and the community and that can be our backdrop for the digital courses,” said Rachelle.
“I feel like inspiration is a huge part of this community, and we want to help grow it,” she said.
Orlando says that they need to teach these skills because they’re going to need to hire those kinds of students in the future. “We usually go to UpWork and post a job and get a contractor, but I’d rather hire somebody locally. We really want to hire two or three of these high school students, or ones from Herkimer College, or MVCC to help us grow.”
“It’s something we’re really passionate about,” he said. “If you really want to learn this, you can do it. You can be so creative with it,” said Rachelle.
“If we expose the local students to this field, I think they’ll benefit from it,” stated Orlando.
The couple has one client that processes over one and a half million calls a day. “That’s our bread and butter,” said Orlando.
They have workers in San Marcos & Houston Texas and in Philadelphia as well. “I think that over the course of the next five years, we’re going to see a lot of Manhatten folks moving into central New York because they’re feeling suffocated like we were. They have families and it’s expensive down there and they’re going to be looking for a community like this,” said Rachelle.
For right now though, they want to focus on getting the mural done, the classes started and identifying some potential hires. “We have a lot of work,” said Orlando.
You can find out more about their company and its services by visiting tiltx.com or calling 281-767-2166.