Caktus celebrated the end of our fifth year in business recently. We threw ourselves a party and invited our local friends who helped us grow from our infancy through our awkward phases into a successful and sustainable small business.
We started out as four college friends moving across the country from the corn fields of Indiana to Carrboro, North Carolina to work together building awesome interactive web applications. We were ready to put what we had learned in school to work and continue to learn and develop new technical and business skills. Since then we've grown, steadily bringing on developers, an office manager, project managers, and a designer totaling 15 people in all. We were fostered locally by Carrboro Creative Coworking as a technical and creative hub for the Carrboro area and by the incredible number of local technology companies in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Research Triangle area. The party was to celebrate that local community, but we have made amazing connections all over the world. We wish everyone could have been there but had a wonderful time with those who attended while talking, reminiscing, and speculating about Caktus' future.
Through all of this growth and change we have maintained the core values on which Caktus was built. For one, we strive to foster the same feeling of camaraderie found in late night college cram sessions where teams grow together by tackling new and challenging problems. This is how Caktus was born and we want to continue to add brilliant people to this group while encouraging diversity within our team.
We also started off with a bent toward developing technical solutions to problems faced by socially responsible enterprises. Recently this has lead to our team members working with UNICEF on projects ---traveling to Zambia and Malawi to work on mobile health projects. Our work has been directly helpful in reducing the spread of HIV infection in these countries. We're grateful to have the opportunity to work with the driven folks at UNICEF and local countries to help make a difference.
Furthermore, we have always been grateful for the teachers and encouragement that we've had along the way. We owe a tremendous debt to all of the communities that we are involved in. These include both software developer communities as well as our local North Carolina communities. We give back to our open source software communities by freely sharing software that we have developed as well as by sponsoring lots of technical conferences each year. In 2012 we sponsored: PyCon, DjangoCon, Open Data Day, and PyCarolinas (which was co-chaired by Calvin, a developer at Caktus). Furthermore, we have recently started focusing on giving back to local community organizations that are important to Caktus team members. So far, these have included FIRST LEGO League, Alley Cats and Angels, Orange County Rape Crisis Center, and Voices, the Chapel Hill Choir.
Caktus has grown from a crazy, over-caffeinated idea during a delirious late night hack session into a rock solid team of creative folks working to build web applications that make a difference and solve hard problems elegantly. We are all excited to grow and learn in the next five years as Caktus continues to evolve its own personality and be an active member of our local and development communities.