July 10, 2023
HighByte prides itself on providing data services for some of the most important industrial companies in the world.
Describe your business in one sentence.
HighByte is a fast-growing software company in Portland, Maine that enables some of the world’s largest, most innovative industrial companies to digitally transform their business.
What unique perspective/skills do you bring to your business?
The founding team of CEO Tony Paine, Chief Product Officer John Harrington, and Chief Communications Officer Torey Penrod-Cambra have worked together since 2012 and have 50+ years of experience delivering software to the industrial automation market. They previously worked together for 6 years as key leaders of Kepware, which successfully exited to PTC in 2016, before founding HighByte in 2018.
“Each founder offers a unique area of expertise. Our skill sets span technical development, product management, sales and marketing, and deep industry domain knowledge. No one knows industrial data better than our leadership team. Also, each of us have experience scaling small organizations and managing large portfolios within enterprise software companies. This makes us the ideal team to ensure the company’s success over time.” – Tony Paine, HighByte CEO
What were the biggest challenges you faced in starting your business? In running it?
“We launched HighByte Intelligence Hub in Q1 of 2020, just as COVID was beginning to impact life in the United States. It was an unexpected headwind. Many manufacturers were focused on meeting production quotas with a drastically reduced workforce and newly remote workers—they were not experimenting with new digital solutions in test labs. We stayed patient and focused on outreach and educating the market during this 6–12-month period and ultimately started to see some initial sales success in the December 2020 / January 2021 timeframe.
To scale over the past 2 years has required funding and recruitment success, both of which are challenging and interrelated. For HighByte, Maine has been a great environment to raise capital, but fundraising is a time-consuming process that takes attention away from other areas of the business. Funding has been critical to compete with increasing salaries and benefits expectations for employees in Maine and around the country.” – Tony Paine, HighByte CEO
Did CEI help you overcome any of these challenges? Describe how you have worked with our team.
“In December 2021, CEI Ventures made their first investment in HighByte, helping the company close a fully subscribed $3.5 million Series Seed round to fuel the company’s next phase of growth. Funds were used across R&D, sales, marketing, and customer success, enabling the company to add 10 new employees and grow to a team of 22. CEI Ventures has been a supportive as an investor and as an observer on the company’s Board of Directors. In February 2023, CEI Ventures once again invested in HighByte for what promises to be a big year ahead.
CEI Workforce Solutions has also been a helpful partner to HighByte, reviewing and providing feedback on job descriptions to ensure equity and unbiased recruiting practices.” – Torey Penrod-Cambra, HighByte Chief Communications Officer
What are your hopes for your business in the next 1–3 years?
“We’re on a mission to become the global standard for Industrial DataOps and help our customers achieve their Industry 4.0 goals. These are big goals with major consequences for sustainability, supply chain, security, and product quality that will impact us all.
I expect our company will employ nearly 50 FTEs by the end of 2024 and more than double sales year over year for the next 3 years. I believe we are building a great place to work that attracts top talent and creates new jobs that, in parallel, has the potential to generate a significant return for our investors.” – Tony Paine, HighByte CEO
In your opinion, what makes a job a good job? How are you providing good jobs for yourself and your employees?
“A good job means many things to many people. To me, a good job recognizes the value of an employee with equitable, competitive pay, well-rounded benefits, professional development opportunities, paid time off, and a safe, inclusive environment in which to work.
For a startup of our size, I’m proud we can offer our employees competitive compensation, equity options, comprehensive wellness benefits, a modern retirement plan with company contribution, paid time off and holidays, paid parental leave, and even complimentary tax advisory services. The work is fast-paced and challenging. I think we make every effort to balance this with supportive programming for our employees.” – Torey Penrod-Cambra, HighByte Chief Communications Officer
If you identify with a specific group—veterans, rural residents, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, immigrants, Black entrepreneurs, etc.—do you have any words of wisdom for others from that group starting or running a business?
“You need allies. As a woman founder and member of the LGBTQ+ community, allies have made the difference in my career. My fellow co-founders (Tony and John) have always encouraged me to bring my whole self to work. We have worked together to build a culture that encourages diversity of perspective, thought, and experience and I believe the company is better for it.” – Torey Penrod-Cambra, HighByte Chief Communications Officer
Learn more about HighByte:
Looking to Start or Grow Your Business?
You have big ideas. Our business experts are here to help you succeed. Through workshops, peer groups and one-on-one advising, we help people across the state get the information and support they need to start or grow their Maine business. In addition to providing general assistance to businesses at any stage, CEI has experts in child care and both marine and land-based food harvesting, growing and value-added production businesses, as well as tailored programs for women and immigrants and refugees.