Revolutionary tech startup Nulia pulls from CHC to push forward

Nulia



Revolutionary tech startup pulls from CHC to push forward 

 

Eugene company uses faith in next generation to tailor tech services for small businesses

 

Story by Lucy Kleiner and Sarah Hovet

Photos by Lucy Kleiner

Video by Abbie Winn 

In downtown Eugene, on the second floor of a faded brick building, lives Nulia, a problem-solving enterprise disguised as a tech company, joining a growing hub of tech-industry start-ups such as Palo Alto, InterVision Media and Emberex. 

Nulia’s office space, encircled with bright windows and accented with purple and green paint, is massive. The employees have congregated in a far corner, and take up only a quarter of the floorplan.  

As is common in most businesses, the employees work in teams. Desks have been pushed together to create micro-workspaces, each speaking its own language and focused on a unique goal. One hub is fluent in Twitter talk and all things marketing, the next speaks platform creation chatter. Another group is fueled by data analytics and mathematical jargon. The office smells like caffeine and hard work; the space buzzes with the sounds of voices and fingertips hitting the keyboard.  

But, while all of this sounds like every stereotypical business design, Nulia’s has a twist.  

Those fingertips have yet to wrinkle or callus. They belong to employees who have recently submitted their first ballot, and still cannot order a beer. Nulia, a platform development startup, is built on unfaltering faith in the next generation. 

That generation, known as the digital natives, comprises more than half the company’s workforce.  

The company, which was founded by a team lead by Steve and Michele Zimba in 2017, debunks the one-size-fits-all mindset of digital training, and instead creates individualized modules for Office 365 and other Software as a service product to foster rewarding, real-time software training. Nulia is the first adoption and change management platform in the world.  

“Our company is made up of a really experienced founding executive team,” says Michele. “But all we do is set the rails, because we want to have a company that’s going to survive our generation.” 

Mentoring at NuliaAustin Rutledge and Keith Hamm team up to problem solve web development for the company.

Original five posing togetherThe 'Original Five' CHC students hired to work for Nulia. From left: Maxwell Tuttle, Cora Pyles, Sam Calvert, Madison Rasmussen, and Jupiter Bruener.

Team working at NuliaMatt Walton, Nulia's Content Team Lead, oversees a group of university students and recent graduates as they convert their office space to a recording studio.

A little more than a year ago, the founders and the digital natives first collided at a dive bar across the street from the CHC campus. Michele, Steve, and Nulia chairman Jim Shephard supplied tots and introduced the students—all from Clark Honors College—to the professional world of problem–solving.  

For Shephard, who is also an instructor at CHC, the opportunity to become involved was quite intriguing, expecially considering the Zimba's concept.

"At that time, Michele and Steve became aware that enterprises that had successfully migrated to the cloud were experiencing difficulties because their employees were unfamiliar with the cloud applications, and in particular with Microsoft’s Office365," Shephard explained. "The typical reaction from enterprises was 'We are now on the cloud, what next?' Nulia was created to address this issue, initially with Office365 but in the future with other cloud applications."

 Impressed with the Zimba's insights into the problem and ability to identify a novel and disruptive solution, Shephard came onboard.

"This is the first time that I have been actively involved in founding a company," he said. "Usually, I invest and participate after the initial creation phase. For an angel investor like me, it is the kind of opportunity that is very compelling."

And today, all five of those students who met at the dive bar can be found clicking away in the Nulia office.  

“They brought the skill sets that we needed,” said Michele. “Problem solving, collaboration, good communication skills and strong writing skills—all things you need in a company.” 

That meeting marked the creation of a bridge between Nulia and CHC, which has been treaded by 12 CHC students thus far.  

“We’ve continued to recruit from the honors college because students really do have the skills we need,” said Michele. “They’re a great resource.” 

In other words, Nulia is the accumulation of seasoned professionals, novice digital natives and a pile of tater tots, and it’s on track to be a one hundred million dollar company in just five years.  

Nulia’s success with university students has encouraged the company to create a fellowship opportunity for CHC attendees, which will launch in the near future. They see those students, who have grown up in a digital world, as a representation and embodiment of the company’s goals.  

“They’re fearless in a way that my generation never will be,” said Michele. “And that’s the fearlessness that we want to impart in the users of our platform.” 

 Words and photos by Lucy Kleiner
— Video by Abigail Winn

We Are: Nulia

    by Abbie Winn

A New Business Model

Nulia, a startup located in downtown Eugene, boasts a rare business model: from its earliest days, it consisted mostly of college students. More specifically, Clark Honors College students.  

Cora Pyles, Maxwell Tuttle, and Jupiter Breuner all began working for Nulia in January 2018, shortly after its founding. Alongside Madison Rasmussen and Sam Calvert, who are currently full-time employees at Nulia, they learned about the company in their honors college colloquium “Big Problems, Bold Solutions” in fall of 2017. Taught by Jim Shephard, chairman of the board for Nulia, the class allowed students to propose solutions to problems they themselves deemed “big problems.”  

Cora PylesCora Pyles is a CHC senior majoring in biology. She works in a neuroscience lab studying auditory cognition in mice.  

She’s also a digital content creator at Nulia, a digital enablement company that teaches people how to use Microsoft Office 365 features to solve real business problems. Pyles facilitated live enablement sessions—webinars with shared screens that teach clients how to use Office. Now she has shifted to creating step-by-step instructions, infographics, and videos for their platform.  

The startup hires college students because they are digital natives who are familiar with the technology and enjoy experimenting with it.  

Pyles enjoys writing scripts for videos, starting with a clean slate  then crafts an entire narrative. As a science major, she doesn’t always get to do that or has many opportunities to practice her writing skills.  

As graduation approaches, she is waiting to hear back from Teach For America, various labs she has applied to, and the National Institutes of Health in D.C. Her passion is the brain. 

“I like it because we know the least about to compared to other systems,” she says. 

However, she believes her experience at Nulia will be valuable regardless of her future plans. “I think it’s applicable to any avenue my life might take,” Pyles says. What she really enjoys about the company is the energy of working with her peers.  

“There are executives, and they’re adults. And then there’s a bunch of college students,” Pyles says. “Camaraderie is a big part of it.” 

Maxwell TuttleMaxwell Tuttle, a senior digital content creator for Nulia, concurs. “We were the first five workers in terms of non-management,” he says. Pyles, Tuttle, and Breuner refer to themselves as “the original five.” And, as Tuttle points out, Nulia has a 100-percent retention rate among those first five employees. 

An international studies major, Tuttle did not necessarily expect to end up in the tech world. Now, he intends to take a full-time position with Nulia after he graduates in spring 2019. As the startup continues to fine-tune its work, the particulars of his position will be fleshed out.  

“I appreciate management responding to people who have been there for a long time and shown dedication to the company, and returning that,” he says. 

Tuttle has watched the company grow from three rooms in the Atrium building downtown to its own office on West Eighth Avenue. The company also opened a European office in Dublin. New cohorts of students came through the office; new positions and whole teams developed. And the content matured.  

Now, he works 25 hours a week in a role focusing on the concepts behind the content, and looks forward to moving into his new position. 

Jupiter BruenerMeanwhile, psychology major and computer science minor Jupiter Breuner works as a digital enablement guide, doing webinar sessions with clients. 

“As with any startup, each day you had a new position,” he says of his beginnings at Nulia, which developed into his role as the team lead.  

Breuner believes that “a willingness to embrace the unknown” sets apart CHC students and makes them desirable candidates for Nulia to hire. He personally values the zest for learning beyond the classroom and for maintaining a professional life in addition to academics that he has seen among his honors college classmates and Nulia coworkers. 

In turn, Nulia is accommodating of college students’ schedules. After all, it mainly consists of college students. And they work hard for the company. 

“To have played an integral part in that is a really cool experience,” Tuttle says. 

story by Sarah Hovet

—photos courtesy of Nulia

AVAILABLE FELLOWSHIPS AT NULIA

Nulia offering two fellowships to CHC students, a Platform Fellowship and a Product Fellowship: 

Fellowship Summary

Nulia’s summer fellowship program offers rising sophomores in the Robert D. Clark Honors College the opportunity to deeply engage with a topic they are passionate about while furthering their intellectual, professional, and personal goals. Each student will work on a 6-week project developing methodologies to best support users on every step of their Digital Enablement journey.

For more information and how to apply:

Product Fellowship:

Project Concept

-  Explore the most effective and innovative ways to teach new concepts to adult learners.

-  Investigate how digital skills can be taught to enhance employee productivity and effectiveness.

-  Research current cutting-edge education methods and determine what virtual education will look like in the

future.

Qualifications and Skills

We are looking for ambitious people who are curious about technology, eager to gain professional experience, and committed to creating an amazing customer and corporate experience.

The ideal fellow will have:

-  Personal, academic, or professional interest and experience in one or more of the following: Adult Learning,

Psychology of Learning, Education, Training in Corporate environments.

-  Enthusiastic about the process of learning and retaining information.

-  Proactive critical thinking skills and the ability to take initiative, anticipate next steps and offer

recommendations and solutions.

-  Excellent written and verbal communication skills in independent work.

-  Excellent written and verbal communication skills in both independent and group settings.

Fellows are paid $15/hour and may choose to work up to 40 hours per week throughout the 6-week summer period. will also have opportunities for continued student employment with Nulia during the school year.

We are a dynamic and growing company with lots of opportunity for people to learn and grow with us! At Nulia we believe there is a place in technology for everyone, and we are committed to resourcing a company filled with people who have diverse interests, passions, and backgrounds. We endeavor to find project work aligned with students’ talentsand encourage an open and collaborative environment.

Nulia is an equal opportunity employer and believes diversity and inclusion strengthen our company and our community.

To apply, please visit nulia.cloud/jobs and click “Apply.” The application deadline for summer 2019 fellows is April 30th. For more information, contact Michele Zimba at michele@nulia.cloud.

 

Platform Fellowship:

Project Concept

-  Collaborate with our Data Analyst to develop theories and identify trends among groups of users.

-  Explore data sets and translate analyses into appealing and understandable visualizations.

-  Evaluate the effectiveness of content across different learning modalities and styles.

Qualifications and Skills

We are looking for ambitious people who are curious about technology, eager to gain professional experience, and committed to creating an amazing customer and corporate experience.

The ideal fellow will have:

-  Personal, academic, or professional interest and experience in one or more of the following: Data Analytics,

Computer Science, Mathematics, Modern Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Data Visualization.

-  Deep appreciation for mathematics and a desire to work in an environment where data is analyzed, discussed,

and enjoyed.

-  General familiarity with SQL and/or Python.

-  Proactive critical thinking skills and the ability to take initiative, anticipate next steps and offer

recommendations and solutions.

-  Excellent written and verbal communication skills in both independent and group settings.

Other

Fellows are paid $15/hour and may choose to work up to 40 hours per week throughout the 6-week summer period. will also have opportunities for continued student employment with Nulia during the school year.

We are a dynamic and growing company with lots of opportunity for people to learn and grow with us! At Nulia we believe there is a place in technology for everyone, and we are committed to resourcing a company filled with people who have diverse interests, passions, and backgrounds. We endeavor to find project work aligned with students’ talentsand encourage an open and collaborative environment.

Nulia is an equal opportunity employer and believes diversity and inclusion strengthen our company and our community.

To apply, please visit nulia.cloud/jobs and click “Apply.” The application deadline for summer 2019 fellows is April 30th. For more information, contact Michele Zimba at michele@nulia.cloud.