An idea for a company seeded when Van Murray, an experienced IT and engineering professional in Raleigh, wanted to channel his background in technology into his own venture.
But what started in 2010 as an IT solutions business quickly spiraled into an emerging startup in the nascent cloud services market, a global industry Gartner projects will grow 18 percent in 2017 alone.
In the time since founding, Murray sold his company, bought it back, rebranded, made an acquisition and grew to servicing 1,500 customers. With a team of 15, doubled in size over the last year, the company now called NeoCloud is positioning itself as an expert in migrating data into the cloud, managing and integrating cloud services, training customers and ensuring compliance with company policy.
Relationships with more than 200 cloud service providers and more than a petabyte of data migrated on behalf of customers help validate that.
If the growth trajectory continues, Murray believes his company could be a leading global cloud service provider to companies of all sizes and disciplines.
Original venture restructured over the years
Murray’s story begins with Accent Plus, the startup he originally launched in 2010. His mission was to help connect businesses to IT solutions through software, a passion built through his previous work in IT and engineering leadership roles at Cherokee Investment Partners, Mi-Corporation and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
But just as Accent Plus started a hunt for capital in 2012, Murray got an offer he couldn’t refuse.
A fellow Raleigh startup called NeoNova wanted to buy the business to manage its internal technical operations as it focused on scaling network management and help desk assistance for rural broadband service providers. The size of NeoNova’s business was a reason Murray was drawn to the deal.
After the acquisition, Murray stayed on at NeoNova as director of cloud services and eventually vice president. And over time, his department began to see growth as customers moved data and other operations into the cloud. It started to make sense to spin the business services side out of the company. And the best person to lead the effort was the man who started it all.
Along with the spin off, Murray decided to rebrand to NeoCloud to better reflect its focus on cloud services. The company retained partnerships with more than 100 cloud providers, notably Google and Microsoft.
Then-NeoNova CEO Ray Carey wrote in a blog post that the reorganization was to accommodate for the growth of the company’s business outside rural markets, where cloud services are in more demand. The spin off would help meet the new need.
Since then, NeoCloud has doubled the team headcount to 15 and spent the last year growing the customer base to 1,500 businesses and organizations, representing 150,000 total users.
The fast revenue growth gave the company leverage to acquire Business Intelligence 101, or Bi101, earlier this month. (Pictured in the top photo, Murray and Bi101 CEO Kevin Lalor shake hands after the deal.)
The California-based cloud consultancy has a national presence, with its 350 customers increasing the NeoCloud customer base by 30 percent.
They’ll have access to NeoCloud’s software suite, which includes servers, security offerings, voice solutions, data migration services, as well as email and website hosting. They also bring 50 additional IT and cloud providers into NeoCloud’s partner network.
“Our goal is to live through this cloud journey with these customers, and provide better services as well as product,” says Murray.
Partnering with nonprofits
The company’s growth has also inspired Murray to give back. This week, he’s unveiling a new partnership with Raleigh volunteer network Activate Good to provide free cloud services to local nonprofits.
NeoCloud has tailored its cloud services suite to nonprofits, offering a bundle that includes hosted email services, anti-virus programs, support and management for Google’s G products, Microsoft Office 365 Nonprofit, as well as cloud data backup and security training to ensure organizations protect their data. It typically costs $15/month per user.
In a statement, Activate Good Executive Director Amber Smith notes that nonprofits often spend time making sure the money they receive is going directly to serving their cause, but “the reality is that many of these organizations can benefit tremendously from cloud services, but they can’t even afford to think about it.”
The partnership is fueled by a larger effort by NeoCloud to not only work with the nonprofit community as a service provider, but to support its growth as well. NeoCloud’s presence is grounded in the Triangle with 180 local businesses and nonprofits as clients, including Band Together and the Wake County Habitat for Humanity.
Murray, a winner of Triangle Business Journal’s 2017 40 Under 40 awards, is excited about the future of NeoCloud, citing the “opportunities in this market to help customers and businesses better take advantage of the cloud.”
The long game for his company is planning for multiple year-over-year growth. And to do that, NeoCloud will continue to grow the team—so far, that means job postings for engineers, sales managers and a marketing specialist.