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Truefit Celebrates 25 Years in Business

Todd Miller

Featured Stories
TEQ

Truefit recently celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Pittsburgh Botanical Gardens, with more than 50 team members and their significant others in attendance. Ten have been hired since the beginning of the year, and five have been with the Downtown Pittsburgh-based software development firm for more than two decades. 

“It simply felt like us,” says Darrin Grove, Truefit’s CEO. “Having come through the last few years, it was important to remember our beginnings, celebrate our journey, and thank everyone for their significant contributions over the years.”  

Today, Truefit helps businesses create impactful software products. Its first product was a warehouse management system (WMS), created for Lilly Software, a successful enterprise resource planning (ERP) software company whose founders Grove met in Lilly’s startup days about 30 years ago. “Before starting Truefit, I was the IT director for Penn United Technologies,” Grove recalls, “and I built a strong relationship with Lilly’s founders.”  Truefit was born out of his collaboration with Lilly and the company’s early success was a WMS that competed with the top products on the market at that time. 

Building on that early experience in product development, Truefit began an evolution from an engineering-focused company to one that has matured in all areas of product development, including product strategy, user research, user experience/user interface (UX/UI) design, engineering and quality. Cross-functional teams aligned around a mission of “creating great software that helps people thrive” now serve clients in such diverse industries as health, wellness, fitness and sports; cybersecurity; robotics; internet of things (IoT); financial services; energy; and travel.

During the 25th anniversary gathering, Grove reflected on the company’s evolutionary stages, or “seasons,” that have led Truefit to where it is today. Coincidentally, each has lasted for five years. Season One was focused on WMS development for companies nationwide, and most of Truefit’s work was outside the Pittsburgh region. Grove describes Season Two as “our teenage years when we were figuring out who we wanted to be. We experimented, and nothing worked.”

These experiences gave Truefit a clear identity, which kicked off Season Three. “We were passionate about creating new products,” says Grove. “Mobile technology was taking off, and there was growing demand for platforms that were mobile and web-based, so we grew in that direction.” During that time, Truefit joined forces with a local firm, Gist Design, which it acquired in 2013. Gist’s founder, John Beck, now Truefit's director of product design, spearheaded the addition of UX design and research capabilities.

Season Four started with a move to the historic and newly renovated Union Trust Building, where the company focused on integrating its research, design and engineering processes. This transition culminated with the formation of five cross-functional product development teams. Each team is precisely configured to start with a new product idea and work collaboratively to achieve a successful commercial product launch.

Season Five is still in progress. “We’re going deeper into things that are working for us,” says Grove. The company will continue its work with business leaders who see an important problem to solve, who know they need software to solve it, but don’t  have the in-house expertise to create it. 

“Our clients see an opportunity in the market, and we help them create a product that solves real problems for a group of users. We bring all 25 years of experience, creating hundreds of products, to help our clients make the wisest decisions,” says Grove. “Our teams are wired to solve hard problems. We work iteratively to learn, focus on the right strategy, reduce risk, and ultimately design and build a product that achieves product-market fit and helps them grow their business. That’s what inspires us.” 

Currently, Truefit is partnering with a global energy company to increase uptime, improve safety and cut costs for power substations. The new platform, which is being launched, uses automated camera technology, machine learning and advanced robotics to monitor the performance of essential equipment.

Guided by its core values, Truefit believes its work should also benefit the local community and engages with Pittsburgh’s technology ecosystem through its involvement with startup accelerators like Innovation Works, angel and venture investors like BlueTree, universities and colleges, and organizations such as the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

At the end of last year, Truefit added a sixth product development team, and plans are underway to add a seventh team within the next year. In addition, the firm is expanding its sales and marketing team geographically to find more ideas to help bring to life.

“The real magic of Truefit is our teams,” says Grove. “One of the key challenges we see for the future is continuing to strengthen our company culture in the new world of remote work. We don’t have all the answers, but we will continue to experiment because we are committed to the health and vitality of our teams.

“We’ve come a long way in 25 years, and in many ways, we’re just getting started.”