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It was as early as age 4 that Donna Auguste developed a passion and curiosity for science. Although she started out taking things apart trying to figure out how they worked-she used a butter knife as a screwdriver to disassemble doorbells and toasters-she eventually learned how to put them back together again. Auguste, who grew up in Berkeley, California, and was raised in a single-parent household by her mother, recalls how, during her preteen years, she would ride the bus across town with her older sister to attend science fairs. Auguste is the second of four girls.
In 1969, she witnessed something on television that would change her life forever. It was the Apollo 11 moon landing. “That’s when I decided a life and career in science and technology would be fun for me,” explains Auguste, who went on to study electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college.
Today, Auguste, 42, is the co-founder, president, and CEO of Freshwater Software Inc. in Boulder, Colorado, which provides solutions for maintaining and monitoring business-critical Web applications. Auguste launched the company four years ago with the help of John Meier, the company’s chief technology officer. The two business partners have transformed Freshwater from a tiny start-up into a rapidly growing and nationally recognized software provider. Among its clients are Alta Vista, Microsoft, Go.com, and Merrill Lynch.
Freshwater was selected as the second fastest growing private company in Denver, based on revenue growth between 1997 and 1999, which was up 1300%. Sales revenues topped $2.8 million in 1999, and are expected to reach $15 million this year. The company has grown from five original staff members to 47 today, and Freshwater plans to have 100 employees on the payroll by year-end. The company’s customer base has grown to 2,300 e-businesses.
Freshwater’s suite of software and services include SiteScope, SiteSeer, and Global Site Reliance. “Clients use our Web-monitoring tools to make sure that their systems are up and running 24 hours, seven days a week,” says Auguste. “They can download SiteScope from our Website and install it on their local server and configure it easily to monitor their systems internally within their own data center. They can also opt to use Global Site Reliance to have our network operations center monitor their sites around the clock.” Global Site Reliance managed services ensures that every aspect of an e-business is working correctly by monitoring it at intervals as frequent as every 60 seconds. This means that the client will be notified within 60 seconds if there is a problem on their site. SiteSeer offers remote monitoring from 12 locations around the world.
“Our main competition is what we refer to as home-grown solutions,” says Auguste. “System administrators often like to write their own tools and monitoring solutions that are customized to their environment. But over time they realize that they need a robust commercial solution for their e-business Websites.” Freshwater also faces competition