Founded by Jeff Butterworth and George Browning in 1993, Alien Skin Software is Raleigh, North Carolina-based company that makes Photoshop plug-ins for graphic design and photography. The two friends dropped out of computer science graduate school to start the company, which Butterworth admits they partly did to get rich quickly. While success and money didn’t come overnight, Alien Skin Software has been profitable every year since 1994. Butterworth, who continued running the business after Browning left, says that they have remained well above the $1 million revenue mark after passing it in 1996.

Though Butterworth still considers money important, he now measures the company’s success by the competence and satisfaction of employees, the quality of products, and the happiness of customers. After being in business for nearly two decades, Alien Skin Software has built a reputation for creating bug-free software backed by image processing research as well as providing fast and friendly tech support.