LONGMONT — For some former software engineers at the former Rebit Inc., it has been an interesting journey in an entrepreneurial sense.
Once one of Boulder County’s hottest startups, the remaining assets of Longmont-based Rebit, one of the first automated computer backup companies, were acquired by Broomfield’s Betsol LLC in March. Carbonite sold the Rebit assets to Betsol about 17 months after acquiring them in September 2015.
“This acquisition allows BETSOL to provide exceptional data protection services to enterprises and hundreds of thousands of consumers in an OEM model,” said Ashok Reddy, vice president of business development, at the time of the March 13 acquisition. “Whether protecting personal files such as pictures, operating system configurations, or complex distributed data, BETSOL now has a simple and highly effective solution.”
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Justin Gesso, Betsol’s director of product marketing and strategy, said he believes as many as six former Rebit staffers are now with his company, the same number as Carbonite brought on board for the 17-month stint. Betsol is primarily a software service provider in the enterprise market, so the many consumer accounts and OEM partnerships that Rebit accrued since the idea was first developed in 2005 may come in handy.
Gesso said some of the Rebit technology has already been meshed with Carbonite’s backup services, though Betsol now owns the patents. At the time of the sale to Carbonite, that company expressed interest in Rebit’s mirrored imaging technology for disaster relief, which was a fairly sophisticated technology when Rebit was a startup but is now a staple of disaster recovery.
But Rebit was not begun as a software technology company, said one of its original six founders, Dennis Batchelor. Instead the founder envisioned a Windows automated backup product that was somewhat akin to a removable hard drive that attached via a USB port.
“The idea was that we packed our own software on the disc. The main selling point of the device is that it was about as simple as possible, said Batchelor, who now owns a Longmont company specializing in investment properties, Nesting Rock Properties. “We really wanted to make it possible for the user to plug and play.”
Early on, one of Rebit’s main OEM partners was Seagate, as the disc giant used parts of the software to backup Windows servers. But Rebit was a fairly robust system compared with many of its competitors, backing up fields and files on the fly, and incorporating the snapshots of the underlying file system for a total backup solution.
The company attracted at least a couple rounds of investment — one for $1.5 million and second for $5.7 million, according to BizWest archives. Around 2009, the company had about 30 employees, but was already having trouble reaching its production goals, as more heavily financed competitors got to market first, Batchelor said.
But Rebit was a hit with some fairly heavy-hitting companies, such as Dell Inc. Dell Tech Concierge service also had an OEM partnership with Rebit for the service.
A major change to the company came about in 2009, when former Jabber Inc. CEO Paul Guerin replaced Rebit founder Lew Frauenfelder as chief executive, signally a definitive change from a hardware-focused company to a software company largely based on OEM partnerships.
“We produced the unit until the end, but it was never a significant part of our revenue stream,” Batchelor recalled. “In the end, software has no margin costs.”
By the time Carbonite bought the firm in 2015, only a handful of software engineers were still employed, and many of the initial employees had left, including Batchelor.
However, the Rebit software looks to be a better fit for Betsol, than perhaps it was for Carbonite, and employees of the former Longmont firm are a lot closer to Betsol’s headquarters in Broomfield than Carbonite’s in Boston. Gesso said Betsol will be making good use of Rebit’s mailing list of consumers and business clients, as well as the remaining OEM partnerships.
“We do infrastructure support and disaster recovery as a service, so this is a really great fit for us,” Gesso said.