COMPANY
Riser
ROLE

Founder & CEO

YEARS

2002–2015

ACCOLADES
  • Inc. 500/5000
  • Best of State x17
  • FWA
  • Webby
  • Awwwards
HIGHLIGHTS
  • 1,653 Projects Completed
  • 72 People Employed
  • 31% Average Profit Margin
  • Sold to EKR in 2015

Riser: A creative agency founded by Michael Janda in 2002.

Following my stint as a Senior Creative Director at Fox, I founded the creative agency, Riser, in 2002. The next thirteen years proved to be an amazing adventure in my career as my agency grew to complete more than 1,600 projects, employee over 70 people and receive numerous business and industry awards. I bootstrapped the company’s growth, always operated the business debt-free and eventually sold the company to a long-term friendly competitor in 2015. I am grateful every day for the type of work we were privileged to produce, the lessons I learned and the successes I enjoyed while growing my business.

For 13 years, we provided design and development services for an A-list of clients.

Riser provided design and development services that delivered innovative marketing experiences for our customers which included Disney, Google, NBC, ABC, National Geographic, Warner Bros. and a host of others. The company’s primary competency was design as it was built upon my personal core expertise. Throughout Riser’s tenure, I was fortunate to employ a staff of talented programmers that helped Riser expand its service offering. Over the course of more than 1,600 projects, we successfully executed on websites, online games, banner ads, print marketing, experiential design, mobile apps, trade show and expo signage, traditional advertising and video projects.

Awards & Accolades

  • 2015 – Best of State Award (Graphic Design)
  • 2015 – Best of State Award (Interactive Multimedia)
  • 2014 – Best of State Award (Graphic Design)
  • 2014 – Best of State Award (Web Design)
  • 2014 – Best of State Award (Interactive Multimedia)
  • 2013 – Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing #1657
  • 2013 – Best of State Award (Graphic Design)
  • 2013 – Best of State Award (Web Design)
  • 2013 – Best of State Award (Interactive Multimedia)
  • 2013 – AIGA 100 Award of Merit (Nat Geo Genographic Site)
  • 2012 – UV50 14th Fastest Growing Company in Utah Valley
  • 2012 – Best of State Award (Graphic Design)
  • 2012 – Best of State Award (Web Design)
  • 2012 – Best of State Award (Interactive Multimedia)
  • 2012 – Webby Honoree (Tropicana Tropolis Site)
  • 2011 – Michael Janda: BusinessQ Magazine Cover
  • 2011 – Awwwards Site of the Day
  • 2011 – Best of State Statue (BOSS) Science and Technology
  • 2011 – Best of State Award (Graphic Design)
  • 2011 – Best of State Award (Web Design)
  • 2011 – Best of State Award (Interactive Multimedia)
  • 2011 – FWA Award for Tropicana Tropolis
  • 2010 – Michael Janda: BusinessQ Magazine’s “40 Under 40”
  • 2010 – Art-Spire 100 Best Digital Agencies in the World
  • 2010 – BusinessQ Magazine “Best Website” in Utah Valley
  • 2010 – Best of State Award (Graphic Design)
  • 2009 – Best of State Award (Graphic Design)
  • 2009 – Fast 50, 25th Fastest Growing Company in Utah
  • 2009 – MWCN, 36th Fastest Growing Company in Utah
  • 2009 – UV50, 23rd Fastest Growing Company in Utah Valley
  • 2009 – Gold Addy for Warner Bros. Lego Batman Website
  • 2009 – Addy Judge’s Choice, Lego Batman Website
  • 2008 – CSS Hive Top 10 List
  • 2008 – MWCN, 43rd Fastest Growing Company in Utah
  • 2008 – UV50, 17th Fastest Growing Company in Utah Valley
  • 2007 – CSS Mania Top 10 Best Designed Sites of the Year
  • 2007 – viaVerio Outstanding New Partner Award
  • 2006 – Promax/BDA Gold, ABC Family “Beautiful People”

The Studio

Riser’s first studio was in the basement of the cheapest office space I could find about a mile from my home in Utah (I had some financial paranoia). We quickly outgrew that space and I purchased a small office in 2007 that we made work for a few more years of growth. I purchased the shell of our final studio at the end of 2011 and then proceeded to micro-manage the design and build out of the space throughout the early part of 2012 until we moved in. I focused on creating a unique, collaborative, and fun environment where our team can work hard and play hard. The studio became a giant 3D sculpture project for me as I designed the floor plan, colors, textures, desk configurations, kitchen cabinetry, fixtures, front desk, conference table, wall art and signage.

Clients and Brands

Riser’s first client was Sony. Our biggest billing client over the full 13 year run of our business was Disney. Google was our largest client in our final three years. We were fortunate to work with a “who’s who” list of other awesome brands including National Geographic, Warner Bros., ABC, NBC, Fox, Kraft, AOL, FX Networks, YouTube, TV Guide, HBO, ABC Family, Neopets, Bratz, Lego, Nike, Hulu and Pepsi, as well as hundreds of small and medium sized businesses.

From both a personal and professional perspective, Mike Janda is simply one of the best people I've worked with. His pride in his work is unparalleled, as is his flexibility and professionalism. As a vendor contracted by ABC.com, he's guided his team through tight deadlines and shifting specs to produce top-flight work, creatively and technically strong. Mike is a go-to guy.

Sony Pictures Television

Mike Janda and the Riser team are a pleasure to work with. They deliver excellent work with zero complications- there's no agency with a better work ethic and customer service attitude. 100% of their work has been done remotely, and we've never had any issues with communication or delivery. Riser is my go-to agency when I need something done well and done right- highly recommended.

NBC Universal

I think I am going to cry… These are beautiful… $%#@, you guys are good!! I need to let others view them and then we need to discuss how they will actually work for students… You have exceeded my expectations immeasurably!!! If I can find $$ to re-do all my explorer web sites next year, you are my designers!!! No contest!!

National Geographic

I wanted to thank you for the impressive final website that we launched last week! The Broader team is very happy with the final results of the site. I know it took us many iterations to get to this point, but every one was worth it! I especially want to call out the phenomenal collaboration, patience, and creativity from the team.

Google

Inc. 500/5000 Winner

Riser was recognized as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in the nation in 2013. Our incredible growth landed us the #1657 spot on the list that year. In addition to this national recognition, Riser was recognized six times as one of Utah’s fastest growing businesses.

The Brand

I designed most of Riser’s branded and collateral material. From websites to keynote presentations and proposal designs to trade show booths. I actively designed and created a brand that successfully spoke to our target clientele.

Portfolio

Throughout its 13 year run, we completed more than 1,500 projects for our illustrious client list. Riser's portfolio of work is now integrated within EKR's business as a result of the acquisition of the company in 2015. Please visit the EKR website to view some of the work Riser produced over the years.

View the Portfolio