This story is part of our Boomerang Series, where we talk to Minnesota natives who left the state and have since returned to the Twin Cities startup scene. Think you know a “Boomerang” with a story to tell? Reach out: email@example.com.
Marketing-tech company Denamico is nestled in a small, trendy corner of the North Loop less than a block from tech heavy-hitters like Amazon and Industrious. But that’s not where the company started.
Nearly a decade ago and an ocean away, Denamico was founded by a Minnesota native and her husband in Mallorca, Spain. Kristin and Brendon Dennewill boomeranged their family and their company back to Minnesota in 2012.
“Since I’ve been all over, everyone always asks ‘Where are you going to retire?'” Kristin Dennewill told Minne Inno. “We love living here. It’s a great place to raise a family. The city is thriving. It’s an awesome time for tech in the Twin Cities.”
Kristin and Brendon are Denamico’s president and CEO respectively. The company’s name is a play on their last name and the Spanish word for dynamic. The SaaS company partners with HubSpot to deliver inbound marketing automation consulting and other sales-related tech services to Twin Cities businesses.
Dennewill always knew that she wanted to get involved in international business. After finishing her MBA, she spent more than a decade traveling, working for companies like AT&T implementing Oracle computer systems. After a year in France, Dennewill spent two years in South America, traveling to countries like Brazil, Columbia and Argentina teaching tech implementation in Spanish. She later returned to Europe after accepting a job implementing Oracle systems in Madrid.
“This was around the time of Y2K and the implementation of the Euro, so it was a really interesting time in tech,” Dennewill said. “Of course, nothing blew up. But for people working in tech, every single system needed to be changed. It was a really exciting and historically important time for technology.”
It was around this time that she met Brendon. The two got married and moved to Namibia, where Brendon is originally from. The Dennewills spent just over five years Namibia, where they had three children and lived, for a short stint, in the same neighborhood as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
After Brendon sold his business, the family moved to Mallorca, Spain just two months before the start of the country’s recession. That’s when Denamico was founded.
“We stuck with it,” Dennewill said. “But around 2011 we said to ourselves ‘This just doesn’t make sense any more.” Within two months, the family relocated to the Twin Cities, arriving in early 2012.
“We basically started over,” Dennewill said. “I didn’t have a network here since I was gone for so long. But we hustled a lot and met a lot of smart people.”
Denamico hired its first employee in 2013, Dennewill said, about one year after re-establishing the business in Minnesota. Today, the company employs 11 people in its North Loop office. When the Dennewills aren’t busy running a growing marketing startup, they try to stay actively involved in the Twin Cities startup community through organizations like Club E and the Minnesota High Tech Association, Kristen said.
“There’s a lot of energy here in the startup community and a lot of smart people building really cool, innovative things,” she said. “I feel like we know a lot of those people, and now we’re trying to apply what we know to have a positive impact.”