That's what happened at
After years of struggle, the company has solid revenue -- an estimated
"Oftentimes the overnight successes are 10 years in the making when you look under the covers," said
The company was nearly comatose in late 2006 when investors called in Medford as a consultant. Its operations were split between
Medford, now 52, is a tech industry veteran who worked at
The predecessor to RF Code made asset-tracking technology for retailers without much success. Medford took one look and decided that much of its future lay in data center monitoring.
"The investors wanted a recommendation from me on whether to fund the company or to sell it," Medford recalled. "When I saw the company, the dots connected in my head" about how to apply its basic technology to fix pressing data center monitoring challenges.
"I had goosebumps about it," he recalled recently. "I said lets bring them on and get this thing going."
His basic recommendation was to shut down the existing business, write off the
The reformed company raised
It developed smart, battery-powered "tags" that can identify assets such as computer equipment or couple with environmental sensors that can monitor temperature, humidity and air pressure. The tags transmit wireless signals to nearby reader devices that, in turn, report back to a central monitoring dashboard. A big data center can have thousands of tags that are sending reports every 10 seconds or so. That resulting stream of data can be analyzed to find potential problem spots in the data center or to fine-tune the data center operations to reduce power consumption.
It's a big deal because big data centers are enormous power users. With the right monitoring system, power costs can be cut without sacrificing performance, the company says.
Medford recruited the key players from his Netbotz team to solve the hardware and software challenges of building a monitoring system with a continuous flow of data. Its software and data systems inter-operate with a wide range of data-center management software applications.
Technology development took time and so did developing trusted relationships with important players in the data center industry, including
Now the challenge, Medford said, is to keep building on the company's good start by using retained profits and not a new round of investment. That might be a more gradual path to growth, but it is also a more lucrative one for existing investors and management. A new investment round now would dilute their present equity stake in the company.
Medford's stated goal is to build relationships with 100 customers that are projected to buy at least
"That gives you a really good customer base," Medford said. "We call it the 101 plan. We are nowhere near 100 of those customers, but we are going to get there."
That kind of customer base would make the company far more valuable when the "exit" comes. That exit might be a public stock offering, but it is more likely to be the sale of the company to a larger player in information technology.
"We all have our minds set on this being an exit that would make big news," Medford said. " We are looking for something substantial."
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