Meet A Minnesota CTO: Dave Onnen, Apruve

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Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 1.09.06 PMThank you Andcor Companies for underwriting our Meet a Minnesota CTO series, where we get up close and personal with Minnesota’s chief techies.
 
The CTO: Dave Onnen, Apruve

How long have you been working in technology for?

I have been working in technology for over 20 years. I learned BASIC as a kid, C/C++ in college, and I have worked extensively with Java and most recently with Ruby on Rails.

What are you focused on right now?

Right now we are expanding our solution from a single product to an extensible open API. We are also working on integrations with a number of B2B eCommerce systems.

What are the some of the technologies within your company and IT environment?

We use Ruby on Rails, AngularJS, Heroku and AWS.

How do you ensure that IT plans, projects and objectives are aligned with business outcomes?

We have a small team that communicates well. Our primary objective right now is building a solution that meets our customer’s needs. Being customer driven allows us to focus our efforts in the right direction.

What is the size of your department and how is it organized/managed?

We currently have 6 developers. We are a small, agile team, so we are able to work very efficiently without a lot of overhead.

How does your company approach recruiting and retention for technical positions in an increasingly competitive market?

Being a startup, we don’t have much of a budget for recruiting. We have been very lucky to be able to find great candidates through referrals. We also have quite a few people reaching out to us on their own. We are finding that our company culture is attractive to people that have worked for larger corporations and who would like to contribute more directly to the success of the company.

How do you personally keep up with the ever changing technology landscape?

It’s not easy! I have been lucky the last few years to work with some excellent development partners who have exposed me to the latest development tools. You can learn a lot from doing code reviews and testing.

I also subscribe to a number of mailing lists and I attend conferences periodically.

What excites you about where technology is heading?

With all the SaaS and PaaS systems available today, it is becoming easier and easier to quickly build a system that meets your business needs without reinventing the wheel.

What concerns you about where technology is heading?

I think one of the biggest challenges we will soon face is how many jobs are now becoming automated. This in itself isn’t bad, but I don’t think we have a clear plan on how to handle this shift as a society.

What are you into outside of technology?

I enjoy music, motorcycles, and my new puppy keeps me very busy!

What is your opinion of Minnesota’s tech industry?

I’m originally from Minnesota, but I spent 5 years in Seattle and New York until I moved back to MN and joined Apruve. The startup scene in Minneapolis has grown quite a bit since I left. I think there is more opportunity here for startups than in some of the larger cities. There is less competition and it is much less expensive to run a business here.

We are finding that MN is a great location for what we do. We have been able to meet with a number of our customers in person, which really helps in building a relationship.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would just like to say that Tech.mn is a really great resource for the community, and I’m honored to get the chance to be featured on the site.

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