7537 Jack Newell Blvd.
Fort Worth 76118
Nearly everyone remembers schooldays where the teacher would call on a student to go up to the whiteboard and write out the answer to an equation in math class, only to find the board streaked with the marker and eraser stains of the students before them.
Teachers grab that bottle of dry-erase board cleaner and the nearest tissue, but the board’s tried-and-true surface has seen better days and is nearing the end.
Clarus Glassboards offers teachers — and others — another writing-surface option with its array of products such as Glassboard Float and Depth, Adapt, go! Mobile, Healthboard and Furniture Glass.
Clarus works to convert former whiteboard users to Glassboard believers, but Clarus CEO Andrew Philipp says, “The thing is, it’s not hard to make believers … we let the product speak for itself.”
Formed in a Fort Worth garage in 2009 by three guys with an idea, a vision, their own belief and not much else, Clarus has grown from a company of four in a 3,000-square-foot warehouse to a team of 120 that continues to grow in a 150,000-square-foot facility, the largest glass casual display manufacturing facility in the United States
Clarus acknowledges that while the average cost of a whiteboard is about $500 — compared to a $417 example cost of a Clarus Glassboard — there are a lot of unseen costs for whiteboards since they tend to become discolored and need to be repaired and replaced.
In an infographic on the Clarus website, the company uses an iceberg in the water to illustrate the seen versus inseen costs of a whiteboard, compared to the seen cost of a Glassboard. In the end, according to the graphic, the average cost for a whiteboard is $ 2065.24, compared to an average Glassboard costs of $ 902.43.
Glassboards are made from Vitro’s Starphire glass and silk-screened to make them anti-glare. Clarus says they are easy to clean — like any bathroom mirror, glass tabletop or picture frame — never need to be replaced and can be customized to any size and color. The Glassboards also go through multiple tests to make sure they won’t/don’t break.
“We’ve really taken an old product [in the whiteboard] and really incorporated a lot of design,” Philipp said. “The only thing we can give customers is to take care of them and … not just meet but exceed expectations.”
DealerSocket, a software company based in San Clemente, Califorinia, began using the glassboards in 2014.
“I feel the Clarus glassboards really add to the look in our building,” said Mary Lou Haster, product marketing manager for the company.
Philipp, 34, has been with the company since 2009, when he joined as a business partner, and has been president and CEO for the past four years.
Philipp was a friend of Clarus’s founders Robby Whites and Jeremy Rincon. So, when, in the beginning, the numbers were down, money was running out for this self-funded company and it was looking like their dream was coming to an end, he jumped over to invest become their business partner.
“I went from a good-paying job … to jump over to a company” that offered no promises, he said. “But I believed in the partnership and that we could build something. It’s the same reason I’m here today and … it’s not just about taking a paycheck.”
Now, Philipp says he has two families – his wife, Beka, and three children, Nixon, 7, Watson, 5, and Monroe, 1; and his family at Clarus.
Philipp says his personal goal is to be part of building a company that’s made to last, that’s part of the renaissance of American manufacturing and that exemplifies the American dream.
Philipp says the team works to be creative and innovative in its product design, making all products fully customizable to let clients design around the markerboard and not because of it.
He says the most innovative companies in the world lead with customization. All Clarus Glassboards are customizable by color and size, placements within a room and the addition of logos.
Under his leadership, the company has moved five times — most recently to its North Fort Worth space at 7537 Jack Newell Blvd. — and has doubled its business growth the past two years to have revenues of more than $40 million and a company value of more than $100 million.
It is currently on a path of hiring 2-3 people per week. Philipp said the most challenging thing about the growth is having the team to keep up with it. Of its 120-plus employees, half have been hired in the past year.
Philipp says the company does its best to make sure everyone it hires comes in with that entrepreneurial spirit because five, 10, 15 years from now Clarus’ story is “going to be a great American success story.” He says that for him and the Clarus team, it’s their dream to be a part of that.
“Our company is full of people with an entrepreneurial spirit,” Philipp said, adding that they have a significant opportunity ahead of them to “convert the world from whiteboards to Glassboards.”
Some recognizable companies Clarus has worked with include Apple, Tesla, Twitter, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, CISCO, Coca-Cola, Macy’s, ABC Studios and NASA.
The company also has clients in Australia, Dubai, England and more. One client is Amazon, and when it was opening an office in Romania it asked Clarus for hundreds of Glassboards in a matter of days. “No one else in the world could have done that for them,” Philipp said.
While it has received international attention, Clarus’s core business is domestic and it does both manufacturing and production in Fort Worth.
He added that it’s not hard to keep the operations stateside because of how necessary that is to the business. Outsourcing the manufacturing means relying on someone else for aspects of operations, he said, and that wouldn’t allow for orders like the one from Amazon to be completed.
“When you don’t own the manufacturing, you can’t serve the customer the way you need to,” Philipp said.