Objective Data: Who Are These Guys?

Forms itself by rolling up two small firms, aiming at storage management software space

June 6, 2003

4 Min Read
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After months of evaluating which players might have what it takes to work together and give the best performance, the investors who were pulling the group together finally chose two candidates for the project.

No, this isn't a scene from American Idol or a tryout for yet another boy band, but rather the genesis of a brand-new storage software company. In mid May, Objective Data Storage stepped onto the scene as if from thin air to announce its acquisition of storage hardware and software vendor USDesign Corp. (see Objective Data Buys USDesign).

Then, two weeks later, it announced that it had bought the assets of yet another storage software company, FileLink Corp., which specialized in the medical storage sector (see Objective Data Buys FileLink). The company didnt reveal the financial details of either deal.

But what is Objective Data Storage, and where did it come from? Apart from a few details on the technology it had acquired from the two storage vendors, the Columbia, Md.-based company merely describes itself in the press releases as a "newly formed data storage software development company and value added reseller."

The company’s Website is equally vague, listing only products gained through the two acquisitions last month, and mentioning a long roster of board members, but only two members of the management team: president and CEO Boyce "Mac" McCorkle, and controller and general manager Richard J. Vacek.McCorkle, though, tells Byte and Switch the company has been a long time in the making. "This didn’t just happen overnight," he says. He says he’s personally been on the lookout for companies and assets that would fit into the storage software venture he had in mind for more than two years. Previously, he was CEO of DISC International, a digital imaging systems provider that merged with a Singapore-based company, and also headed up the Asian operations of Rimage Corp., which sells CD-R and DVD-R systems.

In August 2002, McCorkle says he entered an agreement with the principal owner of 25-year-old USDesign, James Vitale, and a few months later brought FileLink onboard. Then he, Vitale, and FileLink’s Richard Berglund founded Objective Data Storage early this year. "Objective Data Storage is the result of putting the assets of USDesign and FileLink together," he says. "Together, they constituted a new entity."

And that entity is about to get bigger, McCorkle says. "We have several other assets that we’re looking at acquiring," he says, although he wouldn't name them.

The three founders pumped their own money into the venture, and currently own more than 95 percent of the company. "We are actively now going out for outside funding," McCorkle says. The company, which has 20 employees, is also in the process of rounding out its management team, with the imminent hiring of an executive to head software development. McCorkle says he’s already identified who he wants for CFO and head of sales and marketing.

With the optical data storage software acquired from USDesign and FileLink, the new company is focused on the enterprise data storage market, and is developing automated storage management software products that use disk, tape, or optical to manage the information storage lifecycle. McCorkle says the company has already started targeting the healthcare sector with two shipping products acquired from FileLink. Further down the line, Objective Data Storage will go after other vertical markets such as insurance, financial services, broadcast, and security, he says.The FileLink USS 3.0 is software that provides access to storage devices through an Internet connection, while the FileLink OSS 6.2 offers solutions for integration of optical WORM, rewritable, multifunction, CD, and DVD technology for Open VMS Platform, the company says. These software products cost between $100 and $15,000, depending on the number of slots in the jukebox, according to a company spokeswoman.

In addition, McCorkle says, the company has two new products in the pipeline. One of the products, the Image Archive Appliance, is expected to go into beta-testing this month, and should start shipping within the next 90 days, he says.

The company has several strategic partners, according to McCorkle. For its products aimed at the healthcare space, Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) is its main partner. The company also has a partnership with Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA), and is looking into other partnerships. McCorkle says the company expects to sign a contract with a major international company within a week.

With shipping products and about 3,000 customers, McCorkle insists that the spanking-new company has little in common with your typical startup, claiming that the company will bring in between $3 million and $4 million in revenues this year.

While it helps to hit the ground running, with partners, customers and revenues already in its pocket, Objective Data Storage still lacks the name recognition of big optical storage players such as KOM Networks Inc. and Legato Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: LGTO).McCorkle, however, says there's plenty of room for his venture. "We’re going to leverage the core technology we put together here," he says. "If you can solve real problems, people will pay for it... I’m confident we’ll be able to compete."

— Eugénie Larson, Reporter, Light Reading

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