Case Study

Rackspace Startups

We helped automate a manual business process

Rackspace headshot

They took the burden on of creating the document that said ‘Here's what you told us you wanted.’ I was thrilled. I didn't want to do that myself. We just checked off on that document to confirm that it was in fact what we were looking for and they went to work.

— Graham Turney, Senior Marketing Manager, Rackspace
Rackspace Startups makes it easier for early-stage startups to get off the ground by offering them subsidized hosting. Startups have to be members in select incubators/accelerators and apply through their website.


Rackspace was managing applications through an email inbox, which was a full-time job for one person. That made it hard to keep track of applications. There was high potential for an applicant to slip through the cracks, and it was impossible for the team to effectively collaborate on working with applicants. Rackspace approached gunpowderlabs to automate and simplify this process for them and for the applicants.

  • Rackspace summary pair Research Driven
  • Rackspace summary time 1 Month
  • Rackspace summary fast 50% Faster Workflow


Through a series of interviews with the Rackspace team members, we captured what they needed to do and mapped out what a lightweight web-based applicant tracking system would look like.

After Rackspace gave us the go-ahead to build the application, we built it over the course of a month, holding daily calls with Rackspace and showing our progress in a staging environment.

Screenshot shows dummy data


The solution is a responsive web app. Newly submitted applications feed into a queue. From there, the team directly communicates with applicants. Many of the scenarios require the same response, so we built an interface that allows them to send a canned reply which automatically replaces placeholders in the templates with information from the application, which saves significant time.

Applicants sign the Rackspace Startup Program agreement electronically, and the billing department which processes the discounts got an automated data export with the relevant applicant details.

I appreciated that whenever we tell Anton what we want, he responds with ‘Tell me what problem you're actually trying to solve here.’ He then says ‘Have you thought about doing it this way?’, or ‘Here's one way we could do it and here's what it would cost. Here's another way that I think solves the same problem.’ He gets you to the same place but in a different way. He does that all the time, and never just says ‘Okay we'll do it’ and goes off and does something that may not be the best solution in the end.

— Graham Turney, Senior Marketing Manager, Rackspace


Since launching the applicant tracking system, the amount of time Rackspace Startups spends on the applications has been cut in half, and they process them faster because more than one person can work on them.

Since the initial release, the app has been running smoothly without any significant maintenance aside from updated to the hosting environment to make sure that we're using the latest security patches.

Anton picked up on what we wanted to accomplish very quickly. The amount of time to complete the project was less than we had anticipated.

— Graham Turney, Senior Marketing Manager, Rackspace