A cloud giant, in the Dungeons and Dragons game universe, stands 18 feet tall and has milky white or light-sky-blue skin. This race of giants prefers to live in the clouds and has magical powers. But in Morrisville, the Cloud Giants name takes on a new meaning in a startup that provides Salesforce solutions and consulting as a service to elevate client companies to where they want to go.
“Cloud giants have powerful vision to see through fog and cloud, and I feel like that’s what we do with our customers when we help them with Salesforce,” Cloud Giants Marketing Manager Shelbi Fanning said. “We see through all that fog and cloud that they have over their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems and make it more clear for them.”
Kelly Pfrommer, the CEO and Founder of Cloud Giants, founded the company in 2014, originally out of her dining room. With a background in consulting and project management, Pfrommer found her passion for Salesforce, the dominant CRM software, while working at Raleigh’s Red Hat. Pfrommer loved Salesforce, but after having children, she found herself reflecting on her career.
“Really getting caught up with work, sometimes I forgot to be present with them,” Pfrommer said. “I decided to just become a freelancer, and that’s when I became an accidental business owner.”
Becoming a business owner wasn’t originally what Pfrommer intended to do when she decided to go out on her own. Simply, she wanted more freedom and flexibility to be with her children, and this path led her to create Cloud Giants. Pfrommer’s husband suggested the name as a reference to Dungeons and Dragons.
Fanning said she can feel the effort Pfrommer has put into building the culture at Cloud Giants, which has grown to 13 employees.
Pfrommer said, “I want to create a place where it’s all the things that maybe didn’t go right for me in my career can be a little bit better for others. If I’m ever doing anything contradictory to what my intentions are or what I say I want, I want people to hold me accountable. But it’s great to be able to have that ability to make that a reality.”
Cloud Giants, which is bootstrapped, typically works with SaaS (software as a service) companies that are in a lot of pain with their Salesforce, Pfrommer said. She said it’s most important to her for her employees to feel valued and for customers to feel Cloud Giants has made a difference in their organizations.
The Freedom Bootstrapping Can Bring
“The best part of getting to not have investors and being bootstrapped as an organization is we can decide our own future and not be beholden to somebody else’s idea of what success looks like,” said Pfrommer. “To me, that is really the most empowering thing that there is because it’s up to us to be successful and to go after what that looks like. So I think that’s really just a special opportunity for me and I hope for the team as well.”
Cloud Giants is one of few women-led tech companies in the area, and Fanning said it’s incredible to work at one of these.
“It’s rare, and it’s impactful,” Fanning said. “It really does make a difference. I’ve been here for almost a year now, and it’s just like a life-changing experience to work with the people that I work with and to be at a company that is small where you can make really great impact. Each person has skin in the game on our culture and is helping to shape it and maintain and grow it as we grow. It’s a special place to work, for sure.”
Moving forward, Pfrommer hopes that Cloud Giants will add around four more people in the next year and eventually provide its own technology to offer others in a SaaS model. This would support Cloud Giants in giving back to the community and focusing on nonprofits. The startup has worked with Children’s Flight of Hope, KidzNotes, Habitat for Humanity of Wake County and SAFEchild North Carolina, among others.
“It’s about creating the perfect world for us, for this team and for our customers,” Pfrommer said. “I think we’re probably unlike other businesses whose goal is to just be more, more, more, more. And it’s not about more. It’s about better. It’s about more quality and purpose. Purpose and passion over paycheck.”