CitySoft in the News 

Boston Business Journal - 40 Under 40
Nick Gleason
  Title: Chief Executive Officer
Company: CitySoft, Inc.
Education: Masters in Business Administration, Harvard University; Bachelor of Arts, Stanford University

Nick Gleason, chief executive officer of CitySoft, Inc., bristles that sometimes that what his company does gets lost in the telling of the company's story.

So, in deference to Gleason, CitySoft is a web site development and management company whose customers have included Reebok International Ltd., AOL Time Warner and Polaroid Corp. The Boston company, founded in 1997, has raised $1.8 million in venture backing and Gleason is working on bringing in more experienced managers to help grow the company from a 30-person startup to a more mature long-term operation.

But CitySoft is more than an Internet-related startup. Gleason already had a hand in starting two of those, NewMediary, which is still in business, and now-defunct He also started a nonprofit organization, CitySkills, in which he is still involved.

Part of CitySoft's mission is that it hires many of its employees from lower income urban neighborhoods. About 40 percent of the employees are from those areas. Gleason himself is a product of a working class Providence, R.I., neighborhood and social activist parents.

"There was sort of a silent expectation, or maybe not so silent expectation, that I would at least partially try to make a contribution in a similar way," Gleason said of his upbringing.

At first, he thought that would be through managing a bottlecap manufacturing plant in Indiana. Manufacturing plants tend to be blue-collar backbones of communities and he was drawn to both the idea of manufacturing as a business and the prospect of such strong community and urban development. But then the Internet boom came along, and Gleason had the idea for CitySoft and employing people from urban areas. The company recruits through community colleges and technology training centers.

"Having a job, being in a situation where wealth is being created by folks in those neighborhood, is going to solve a lot of problems services can't solve alone," Gleason said.