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Vantaca’s Balancing Act

By Audrey Elsberry, posted May 17, 2024
Vantaca, a software company for the community association management industry founded in 2017 in Wilmington, is headquartered on Wrightsville Avenue. (Photo by Audrey Elsberry)
Vantaca is stepping back into the public eye after flying under the radar for the past two years, CEO Ben Currin said.

He said the intention to connect the company more publicly to the Wilmington community could attract more local talent as the software company takes on bigger challenges. Currin and his team set aggressive growth targets. He and the company’s founder, Dave Sweyer, are attempting to balance their intentions of organic growth with hopes of dominating their market in the next few years.  

“We want to swing big, and we have a vision of building a really massive company that is the industry standard for software in our space, but (we’re) doing it in a way that builds upon itself,” Currin said. 

Sweyer founded Vantaca, the cloud-based community association management software company now headquartered on Wrightsville Avenue, in 2017. He was frustrated with the lack of software capabilities within his community association management firm, Community Association Management Services (CAMS).  

After solidifying his idea and spinning it off from CAMS, Sweyer quickly handed the reins to Currin, a young former submarine officer and nuclear engineer in the U.S. Navy who has proven a worthy business counterpart over the past seven years.  

“It was going to take a different personality than I had at the time, and it was going to take a different level of energy and commitment,” Sweyer said. “So, Ben came in and became the first and only CEO of Vantaca. And I pretty much faded away and let the team take the business and start running independently.” 

Sweyer stayed out of Vantaca’s day-to-day business for three or four years, he said. During that time, he focused on his other company. But last summer, he rejoined Vantaca’s C-suite as COO, although he said he doesn’t like titles.  

“There were just not enough hands available to properly keep scaling this company at the pace that we want to scale,” he said. “So, I jumped back into the day-to-day role.” 

Sweyer is a maximizer, and Currin makes it happen, Currin said. They make a great team in that sense, he said. But the team doesn’t want to bite off more than they can chew in the scaling journey.  

There are 40 million homes and homeowners associations (HOAs) in the U.S., Currin said. Based on the company’s estimates, Vantaca serves about 5 million of them. Eventually, Currin wants Vantaca to serve most of that 40 million.  

Currin said their methods of organically growing the business are due to Currin’s and Sweyer’s backgrounds in engineering. They are not Silicon Valley guys, he added. However, that growth has been supplemented in part by a multi-million investment from venture capital firm JMI Equity.  

Currin brought on Maryland-based JMI Equity as a minority capital partner for two reasons. He wanted the expertise of people familiar with the industry on a much larger scale – JMI Equity specializes in funding software companies – and he wanted more capital to take advantage of opportunities the company was too capital-constrained to jump on, he said.  

Currin’s growth goal is a 50% market share in the next few years. Vantaca officials plan to accomplish it by setting aggressive goals each quarter and “sprinting our way through it,” he said.  

In 2021, the city of Wilmington and New Hanover County approved $200,000 in incentives over five years for Vantaca and the state approved up to $1.4 million in incentives over 12 years as a part of a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG). The state incentives were approved to facilitate Vantaca adding 104 jobs to its existing 100-person team in Wilmington.

Vantaca officials recently said they did not end up using government incentives.

The company currently employs about 150 employees, Currin said, with 100 living in Wilmington.

“So that’s a ratio that we’ve been pretty intentional about sticking to: two-thirds local, one-third virtual,” Currin said. 

As Vantaca gains more customers, the company builds its team to accommodate them. Now that Currin has a large enough team, he can assign a team of four to tackle a challenge rather than assigning it to one employee, he said. 

“It just increases the rate of change,” he said, “and the pace that we can deliver results and innovation and growth for the industry.”

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the nature of JMI Equity's investment and Dave Sweyer's former company's name, Community Association Management Services. 

Correction: This story has been updated to correct that Vantaca has not used any government incentives. 

 
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