Michael Balling

Co-Founder,
Chief Product Officer

Mike’s life can be summarized by his never-ending need to answer one question: “Why the hell does that work that way?” 

This curiosity for the “why” that started in childhood led him to a unique college experience riddled with multiple majors, multiple colleges that ultimately netted him one English literature degree from St. Bonaventure University, but not a damn clue what to do with it.

When he started his career after college he didn’t know how to utilize this incessant curiosity. But as luck had it he found a gig at a payroll company which had any number of overly complicated “why’s” to solve. It was around this time that Mike learned and fell in love with the responsibilities of a product team and quickly found that you can make a career out of defining and resolving the “why”.

Mike’s nearly 20 year career has spanned companies of various sizes, from 5 employees to enormous Fortune 500 companies. His background includes solving product for applications specializing in payroll, benefits and expense management software to niche interior design software with stints as a consultant mixed in for flavor. Each position and company had a “why” to solve and provided another piece of experience needed to answer the most challenging question of his profession:

“Why not start our own company?”

Vertical has become the answer to that question and nothing in his career makes him more proud and excited than working with respected and talented close friends to help create what is today Vertical.

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