This year, Underknown is thrilled to be a winner of the Technology Fast 500, an award program sponsored by Deloitte that recognizes 500 of the most innovative, fastest-growing companies across the technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, fintech, and energy tech sectors in North America. The award comes on the heels of Underknown also ranking the 33rd of the Fast 50, which showcases 50 of the fastest growing technology companies in Canada. These awards are a testament to the innovation that Underknown has spearheaded in its mission to educate the world about science and humanities.
The Fast 500 award is based on revenue growth from 2018-2021. Underknown’s revenue has been a direct result of the company’s ability to use social media channels to incubate IP and create global brands like ‘What If’ and ‘How to Survive’. The allure of these brands, according to Underknown CEO, Steve Hulford, is that “we’re showing people things they’ve never seen before”. Earlier this year, ‘How to Survive’ won a Webby Award in the Science and Education category, solidifying its place in the zeitgeist.
But the content that Underknown has become known for is only a piece of what makes it a successful technology company worthy of an award like the Fast 500. At the center of the entire operation are technologies that use data to drive what kinds of projects the company will take on. “From the outside world, someone can look at us as a content company, but in our DNA, we’re a technology company,” says Hulford. In fact, the first person he ever hired at Underknown was a data scientist to analyze internet trends and inform future content creation.
One example of the internal technology that Underknown has developed is StorySuite, which will soon be opened up to other publishers. It was built within Underknown to analyze how different web content performs across social media channels and track where the content has traveled in the world. This, according to Executive Vice President of Underknown’s web series division, Cristina Caballero, informs which themes, topics and narratives get produced in Underknown’s web series content. She also highlights the company’s workflow innovations that allow its more than 200 employees around the globe to work together on every aspect of media and publishing – “Our powerful video management solution as well as our workflow development and platforms have provided a transformative scale to our business.”
Underknown’s successful track record of developing technology to drive its content creation makes it emblematic of what the Fast 500 award represents. According to Christie Simmons, partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP and industry leader for technology, media and telecommunications within Deloitte’s audit and assurance practice, “This year’s Technology Fast 500 list is a true reflection of some of today’s most determined and inspiring pioneers who have prospered by anticipating what’s next, understanding what’s needed to succeed and driving creativity forward.”
That anticipation of “what’s next” is driving Underknown’s newest endeavor, Underknown Studios, a division of the company that will focus on long-form content. The original IP that Underknown has already released will be repackaged by the studio’s development team, creating the next iteration of the company’s recognizable brands.
For Hulford, technology and data will always be at the heart of Underknown’s operation and to be recognized as one of North America’s fastest-growing technology companies is a great achievement. He emphasizes that every role at the company played a part in that achievement – “Everybody can feel like they’re part of this rocket ship.”
Check out Technology Fast 500 winners of North America here.
Check out Technology Fast 50 winners of Canada here.