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A Video Conversation with Chris Sachse, CEO Horsetail Technologies and Apogee iQ- Part 3- On Apogee iQ

Click Here for Part 1, Part 2 Providing IT solutions that keep organizations in highly regulated industries secure, compliant, and proactive Chris Sachse is the CEO and co-founder of Horsetail Technologies, and the CEO of Apogee iQ. Horsetail provides collaborative, shared IT services for credit unions as well as members of other highly regulated industries nationwide. Through assessments, managed services, staffing, project consulting, and more, Horsetail allows its customers to navigate a complex technological environment without compromising safety or regulatory standing. Clients include Coastal Federal Credit Union, Marriott Employee Federal Credit Union, TwinStar Credit Union, and thousands of others. Apogee iQ is a comprehensive software solution for credit unions and other members of the financial services industry. The platform encompasses vendor management and education, enterprise and cyber risk management, business continuity, regulatory compliance, and intelligent purchasing. The company is currently offering credit unions a chance to win a Credit Union Makeover valued at $250,000. For more details, click here. Chris Sachse originally spoke with citybizlist in 2015. Watch our previous interview here.   Tell us about your new company, Apogee iQ. CHRIS SACHSE: Apogee has been three years in the making. What we intended when we started Horsetail was that it would create a base of knowledge and relationships that could help us spin off other businesses. The nature of what Horsetail is as a business is probably something that’s never going to be a ginormous business. It’s difficult to scale this level of service. So, how could we scale in other areas and find specific products and services? Knowing that that was the strategy, and that we had our eye out for those things, we spent a lot of time building relationships in other areas. One of the areas and companies that we found most rewarding for Horsetail was an organization called Filene. Filene is a think tank out of Madison, Wisconsin, and the credit union industry relies on Filene to conduct research and walk through innovation projects to help the credit union industry innovate and move forward. We partnered with that group to help them MVP a lot of their products. They have multiple innovation teams each year. We started working with those teams, and they’d have an innovation and we’d actually build that piece of software for them to test, to see if the innovation had any relevance. Om one of the projects that we worked on first, we met a couple of different folks—they were executives of credit unions. We built a great relationship with them and they were really impressed by what we built on the software side, and so they constantly looked to work with us for custom software development opportunities. About two years ago they came to us and said, “We own a QSO that does vendor management and risk assessments. Could you build us a software platform that partners with our services?” We said, “sure,” and we started having that conversation. As we started having that conversation, we realized there’s something bigger here. If we incorporate IT risks and business continuity into this, now it becomes the four pillars of governance, risk, and compliance. This could be a much larger system customized for the credit unions. So then we looked for other partners that had expertise. We found Rochdale and we found Upstream, who bring to us enterprise risk and business continuity, and we all came together and started brainstorming what that would look like. That was a year and a half ago. Over the summer we finally picked our direction. Rochdale and Paragon merged. Horsetail and Upstream partnered with Rochdale and Paragon to form Apogee iQ, and we got seed capital in September and we began building the framework of the engine that will eventually be the Apogee iQ platform that will deliver all of those services. Where did the name come from? We came together in Kansas City as a group and we wanted to pick a name that was more appealing, and no one could agree on it. We sat around three days and argued at the whiteboard all these various different names. We probably had 20 different combinations on the whiteboard. Finally I came in and I said, “look, we’re never going to get to this point. Go home tonight, go to sleep. In the morning, you’re going to come in, you’re going to look at the whiteboard, and every person just has to pick a name, whether you like it or not. And you’ve got to get up, and in 30 seconds, you’ve got to sell the rest of us on the name that you’ve picked off the board.” Everybody went around and did that and Apogee was the winner. Until that I had no idea that Apogee meant what it meant. The two primary meetings are “the furthest point in orbit” or “the highest point,” so the pinnacle of a mountain or a story. We liked that idea, if you think about the risk concept of being able to stand up above and look at all of the risk underneath of one umbrella. So, the name worked and then the marketing folks liked the Double E and the two syllable short name—whatever all those other marketing rules are, it seemed to check a lot of boxes, so we ran with it.

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