Tucked away on an unassuming street in the heart of North Canton, Ohio, you will find Squirrels LLC, a privately-held software development company. The name inspires head turns and double takes, but so do our products. Our industry leading screen-mirroring apps, Reflector 2 and AirParrot 2, are used worldwide in more than 100,000 classrooms and millions of homes and businesses in more than 180 countries. If you’re wondering where the name Squirrels comes from, don’t worry, you’re not the first. “Squirrel” was simply the nickname that stuck to our company president David Stanfill during his high school days. Cute, right?
Like most successful startups, Squirrels has its own origin story that began way before success arrived. The company was forged out of a series of moments where passion, risk and ingenuity collided to capture lightning in a bottle.
In the beginning, Squirrels as it is today was only a glimmer in the founders’ eyes. Their passion for technology helped motivate them to risk leaving their day jobs in 2007 to start a company called Napkin Studio. The goal was, and still is, to create a fun and innovative company with people who were just as passionate about technology as they were.
Napkin Studio created one of the first 100 apps in the App Store, the award-winning mobile television guide, What’s On?. With that achievement came many more successful “first” apps, including Friended, the first Facebook application for iPad, and ScreenTribe, the first social television check-in platform. The team even entered the mobile medical industry to improve patient care, lower healthcare costs and innovate stale and outdated processes.
With those different ventures came new partners and new contract work. At the time, a small Ohio-based company working to drive partners on both US coasts was unheard of. Those days of Napkin Studio and contract work served as an important growth period for the team that would later become Squirrels.
Collaboration between geographically distant partners and teams posed a challenge because it was impossible to display live phone and tablet applications in cross-continent meetings. It was hard to share work with a client when they couldn’t see it.
The inspiration for AirParrot came while co-founder Andrew Gould was watching soccer on his laptop. He questioned why there wasn’t a way to wirelessly show his computer screen on his TV. We realized others were asking the same question and developed AirParrot shortly before screen mirroring was publicly available in OS X. Subsequent AirParrot updates made it compatible with Mac and PC and enabled mirroring and streaming to both Chromecast and Apple TV.
The Squirrels team then pondered, “What’s stopping us from mirroring phones and tablets to a computer screen as well?” AirParrot already allowed mirroring a computer screen to an Apple TV—the base technology was there.
A new product called Reflector was born. Reflector was meant to be used as an internal tool to solve cross-continent content-sharing problems. The team soon realized that if developers needed this app, there must be other people out there who needed it, too. Subsequent Reflector updates made it possible to mirror iOS devices, Android devices, Chromebooks and Microsoft Surface Pros to Mac and Windows.
Squirrels was formed shortly after the release of AirParrot in February 2012 using the resources of Napkin Studio. This decision was a way to put Reflector and AirParrot under one company to differentiate these “side projects” from the work at Napkin Studio. Working for two companies with two different brands understandably created some confusion among the employees.
Squirrels acquired Napkin Studio in January 2014 to bring all employees under one united front. This was the moment the Squirrels founders started to focus all of their energy on their own projects rather than the ideas and business goals of others. Everyone had one goal with one shared purpose.
Fast forward to 2016. Squirrels now employs more than 30 driven, motivated and hard-working people. We pride ourselves on our employee-centric atmosphere because we believe that everyone should love coming to work.
Each summer, we embark on a company retreat to a new area of the world to replenish our minds and spend some quality time bonding. Every employee has access to unlimited amounts of coffee, Red Bull, fruit and more. All of the lighting at our headquarters is LED to keep away those pesky afternoon headaches. Oh, and we’re developing a solar panel field to power the entire office.
You’ll find us gathered outside at picnic tables and making burgers on those beautiful summer days. And, don’t worry about that suit and tie because we live in jeans and t-shirts. It’s easy for us to provide a comfortable working space for our employees because we love to make working hard, fun.
Find Us Here:
121 Wilbur Drive NE
North Canton, OH 44720
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