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Sunday, October 13, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Inland Northwest companies share their success stories at Triangle Venture Expo

Lisa Shaffer, founder and CEO of Paw Print Genetics, speaks at the Triangle Venture Expo on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, at The Centennial Hotel. Several local companies shared their growth strategies during a presentation and how they prospered in the region. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Lisa Shaffer, founder and CEO of Paw Print Genetics, speaks at the Triangle Venture Expo on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, at The Centennial Hotel. Several local companies shared their growth strategies during a presentation and how they prospered in the region. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

For Kochava, it has always been important to share with potential job applicants from larger metro areas that relocating to Sandpoint can be a culture shock.

But about a year ago, the mobile app attribution and analytics company noticed out-of-state applicants were specifically looking to live in the North Idaho ski resort town with a population of 8,000 people.

“I think there was a tipping point, maybe particularly in the Bay Area, where people have finally just gotten fed up with the commute, the cost and are looking for a lifestyle change,” said Kimberly Manning, senior brand director at Kochava.

Manning was one of the speakers at Thursday’s Triangle Venture Expo at The Centennial Hotel, which showcased several area companies including APANA, Vaagan Timbers, Tedder Industries, Spiceology, Safeguard and Paw Print Genetics.

The annual event is sponsored by StartUp Spokane and the Spokane Angel Alliance.

More than half of Kochava’s workforce consists of employees who relocated from other states or cities to work at the company, but it also has attracted interest from longtime Sandpoint residents – including former employees of Coldwater Creek, which closed in 2014.

“We do find one of the ways we impact the local economy is providing opportunities to people – young people or otherwise – who would think they could never work in high-tech in Sandpoint,” Manning said.

Kochava was founded in 2011 by Manning’s husband, Charles. The company, which also has offices worldwide, has expanded to become one of the largest employers in Sandpoint with more than 130 employees.

Kochava renovated a 32,000-square-foot building in downtown Sandpoint in 2016, which now serves as the company’s headquarters.

“We have a major impact on the town and the economy there, and that’s really a rewarding thing to have happen in a small community,” Manning said.

Paw Print Genetics is another local company that’s grown rapidly since its launch in 2012.

The Spokane-based company offers tests for breeders, veterinarians and pet owners that screen for genetic mutations associated with diseases or traits in dogs. It also offers genetic tests for cats and birds.

Paw Print Genetics is the only pet genetic-testing company that offers a comprehensive report verified by a geneticist and veterinarian while also providing online ordering and account management, said Lisa Shaffer, CEO and founder.

Since its launch, Paw Print Genetics has grown to more than 41 employees and serves more than 44,000 customers worldwide.

The company aims to raise the standard for the pet genetic-testing industry and improve education among customers on the importance of canine genetic health.

Paw Print Genetics is developing new breeder tools, implementing a loyalty program for customers across its brands and adding 100 new dog tests in November.

“We’ve performed testing for people all over the world,” she said. “We’ve gotten samples from as far away as South Africa, all over Europe, so it’s just really exciting it’s happening here in Spokane.”

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