Editor's note: This is another in an occasional look at technology businesses operating in San Luis Obispo County.
Jesse Dundon enjoys creating his own business opportunities. As a Cal Poly student, he owned a screen-printing business and a carpet-cleaning company.
“I loved working, learning and trying to improve things,” he said of his various ventures. “When you run your own business, you reap what you sow.”
Technology, however, would ultimately be where Dundon found his niche, and today he’s the chief executive officer of Hathway, which he co-founded in 2009.
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Named after a street in San Luis Obispo where he and his friends once lived, Hathway helps businesses around the world to develop mobile applications and campaigns. Clients include Applied Materials, Transamerica, TransUnion and Behr paint.
Dundon, 29, made the Forbes magazine’s list of the top 30 under 30 in marketing and advertising for 2015.
While in graduate school at Cal Poly, earning a master's degree in industrial and technical studies, he started a few websites. The first, Rugby United, was a social network for rugby players. The second, Wihire, was an online site to help businesses recruit college graduates.
Those endeavors, as well as some additional freelance work building websites in 2008, would be precursors to Hathway, which was started from scratch with only personal funds.
Hathway is focused on building business relationships and creating an atmosphere where employees strive for teamwork and continuous improvement within the agency.
“Everyone is an innovator here,” said Sarah Graybill, Hathway’s media relations and social media coordinator. “People are not only encouraged to have their own ideas, but they can feed off of everyone’s ideas. There’s also transparency and approachability among the team and within management.”
Hathway, a company that could be equally at home in a major metropolitan hub, is committed to being part of the San Luis Obispo community.
Dundon, who lived in San Luis Obispo as a young child before his family moved to the Sacramento area, said he’s proud to be among a growing list of technology powerhouses here providing head-of-household jobs.
“In business, you have to have access to business and access to talent,” he said. “SLO is a great place for that. It’s growing, we have a university here, and we’re getting to a point of critical mass of technology and creative businesses.”
Dundon, whose career has taken an unconventional route, said, “It’s about not being afraid to take risks.”
"Having never worked for a traditional company before, I'm always asking why," said Dundon, who also credits his success to Cal Poly’s “learn by doing philosophy.” "What has allowed us to be successful was a desire to grow and to learn and not lose our touch of thinking and acting like a startup.”