MYRTLE BEACH,Sixteen years after being founded by a physician who dabbled in computers, Unitrends Software has finally become more than just a side business, taking in its first round of venture capital and bringing on experienced executives and directors to manage an expansion.
Unitrends, which develops software and a plug-in appliance that allow companies to recover and restore data lost following a computer or server crash, has obtained $1 million from Trelys Venture Partners of Columbia, S.C.
The company also has brought in Jacques McCormack as chief executive, Greg Poole as senior vice president of sales and added punch to its board by enlisting outside directors Jim Clark, former chief technology officer at NCR, Dick Rosen, chairman of electronic components maker AVX, and Steve Morrison, a senior partner with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, South Carolina’s largest law firm.
“We think this is a unique space (in the market), and they are pioneers in developing rapid restoration systems,” says Larry Wilson of Trelys, who also joins Unitrends’ board.
Trelys began discussing an investment with the company late last year and then helped bring in the new management before closing the deal, Wilson says.
McCormack previously was senior vice president and controller of Policy Management Systems, a Columbia-based developer of software for the insurance industry. Wilson served as chairman and CEO of Policy Management before it was sold three years ago to Computer Sciences and he moved on to the venture capital arena. As Trelys was reviewing its deal with Unitrends, Wilson asked McCormack to consider taking the reins of the company, and a match was made.
“This is a whole different ball of wax,” McCormack says of moving from a publicly traded company with $640 million in annual revenue to a 13-employee firm with little sales exposure. “But it’s exciting, and I’m loving it.”
From doctor to code jockey
Unitrends was founded in 1987 by Steve Schwartz, a physician who liked to experiment with computers and programming on the side. He developed the company’s data recovery concept to address a recurring problem at his Myrtle Beach medical office.
Last year, Schwartz, who is Unitrends’ chairman and chief technology officer, decided to give up medicine and devote his attention to building the company. The capital infusion and new management are the first steps in that process.
The company specializes in “bare metal” recovery, which uses a disk-to-disk transfer instead of a computer back-up tape to recover data after a system failure, McCormack says. The company’s system not only restores data, it also reboots the entire operating system, saving company’s time and money, he says.
“The need to protect data is uniform throughout business. It’s not important only in the financial or insurance sector,” he says, noting Unitrends has government agencies, manufacturers and service companies as customers.
The new financing will help the company continue to build its infrastructure and expand its product development and sales and marketing capabilities, according to McCormack. About 10 employees will be added to the payroll by early next year.
Unitrends Software: www.unitrends.com