|Danielle Takata and Daniel Bejmuk (front) head DreamBox Creations, staffed nearly exclusively by Cal Poly Pomona grads.
DreamBox: Alumni Founders Mix School Spirit with Private Venture
In 1999, six Cal Poly Pomona students — each carrying 12-20 units and working part-time jobs — decided to start an Internet consulting firm that combined sophisticated artistic sensibilities with cutting-edge Web-based application development. After attending classes during the day, the team reassembled at a founding member's apartment to work on DreamBox projects until the small hours of the morning.
“The decision to rent an office was a huge one,” says computer information systems graduate Dan Bejmuk '00, vice president of operations and project management, “but we knew we had to take a risk if we were going to do this right.”
Using skills honed in computer information services and graphic design classes at Cal Poly Pomona, the team members began to gather an impressive array of clients. A breakthrough moment was when Benihana Inc., the restaurant franchise, hired DreamBox to design its Web site.
“It was our first major corporate client, a prestigious marquee customer with huge recognition factor and a reputation for having a cutting-edge marketing department,” says Danielle Takata ‘01, environmental design graduate and vice president of creative media and visuals. “Having Benihana as a client opened a lot of doors for DreamBox.”
DreamBox's work for Benihana Inc. resulted in an award for Top Restaurant for a National Chain Web Site in 2003.
DreamBox has several large clients, but it doesn't specialize only in big business.
“We don't prioritize our clients,” says Bejmuk. “Smaller companies love us because we make them look like Fortune 500 companies. Whether our client is a local artist or a mega-corporation, we always try to do great work.”
Bejmuk and Takata were very pleased when DreamBox was selected to revamp the Cal Poly Pomona Web site. It has also handled Internet consulting jobs for various university offices, such as University Advancement, Student Affairs, the Visitor Center, the Career Center , Financial Aid and the University Library, among others.
“We had to present to the selection committee members, and we were trying to find a way to let them know how much this job meant to us,” says Bejmuk. “We told them that it was our university and our names and reputations were on the line. What we do as Cal Poly Pomona grads reflects not only on us personally but also on the education we received here.”
The end products are attractive, functional sites that are artistically designed and easy to use, which bodes well for the company's continued success. In fact, for the past two years DreamBox has purchased reserved tables at Cal Poly Pomona 's major fundraising event, Founders' Celebration. Collectively, they were the youngest table holders in the room, well under the age of 30. It is a matter of pride to Bejmuk and Takata that they are in a position to support the university which has supported them.
“We think it's great the way the school takes care of donors,” says Takata. “It was surreal to see our names in the program next to the years we graduated. It was one of the most fulfilling points in our history.”
DreamBox's client list includes well-known entities such as In-N-Out Burger, Singapore Airlines, NASA, Kaiser Permanente, and more. Both principal partners own their own homes and offer their employees full health and dental coverage and a contribution matching retirement plan. In addition to Bejmuk and Takata, there are several key Cal Poly Pomona graduates on staff, including marketing coordinator Evan Field ‘04, graphic designer Tae Pak ‘04, and Web technologists Chris Peoples ‘02 and Chris Andrada ‘01.
No doubt the DreamBox Team will continue to bring its mix of functionality, technology, and artistic integrity to the field of Internet consulting for some time to come.