Spokane Journal of Business

Acquisition accelerates rise in revenue at Rentsys Recovery Services

Old IT-Lifeline operations bolster recovery services

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-—Linn Parish
Rentsys Recovery Services senior manager Brandon Tanner stands in one of the company business-continuity suites at its Liberty Lake operations.

Rentsys Recovery Services’ revenue-growth pace has accelerated in the past 2 1/2 years, and the company’s managing director, Walt Thomasson, attributes that growth largely to its acquisition of Liberty Lake-based IT-Lifeline Inc. 

Based in College Station, Texas, Rentsys offers business-continuity and disaster-recovery services throughout the U.S. and Europe. With its January 2014 acquisition of IT-Lifeline, the company added data vaulting and data recovery to its services mix. 

“At the time of the acquisition, we were growing at a relatively slow pace, less than 5 percent,” Thomasson says. “Post-acquisition, once we really got everything on the ground, we’ve been pushing more toward 10 percent annually. Almost all of that is related to what IT-Lifeline brought to the table.”

He declines to disclose revenue figures.

Rentsys has a total of about 200 employees at seven locations. In addition to Liberty Lake and College Station, the company has operations in London; Birmingham, U.K.; Boston; Dayton, Ohio; and Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

Brandon Tanner, Rentsys’ Liberty Lake-based senior manager, says the office here has nine employees and a total of 9,000 square feet of floor space on the first floor of the Tierpoint building, at 23403 E. Mission. That includes the company’s data-storage center and its business-continuity suites, in which a company can move its employees and operate in the event of disruptions, such as natural disasters or facility issues, such as a fire or flooding. Those suites include 100-seat capacity in all. 

In addition to being used for emergencies or unforeseen events, many Rentsys customers schedule time to use the suites during construction projects and emergency drills. 

In late August, the company plans to roll out a mobile recovery center at Liberty Lake. The mobile unit has work stations inside of it that a customer’s employees can use to work on-site during a disaster or other disruptive events. 

While the Liberty Lake operation now has the business-continuity services that Rentsys was known for prior to the acquisition, it’s primary role remains in data storage.

“Today, it’s the hub internationally for us for all of our vaulting,” Thomasson says.

Tanner says the company is currently storing close to a petabyte of data in all, which is 10 to the 15th power—or 10 with 15 zeros after it—bytes, or 1 million gigabytes. That number continues to grow, but he notes that the company doesn’t need more space for data-storage technology currently, because that equipment continues to be built more compactly. In other words, the company can store more on smaller pieces of equipment. 

Companywide, one of the largest vehicles for growth has been the launch of its Black Vault product shortly after Rentsys acquired IT-Lifeline. Tanner says Black Vault is similar in function to a conventional computer server, but includes some features geared toward data recovery. The Black Vault units are placed in clients’ physical locations for the purpose of providing on-site data recovery. He says some clients want to back up data both on-site and off-site, and Black Vault enables those options. 

“A lot of the recovery time objectives have been shrinking, as everything does with technology, and that product was added and was huge for us,” Tanner says. 

Thomasson says the Liberty Lake operation designed the Black Vault product, and Rentsys is manufacturing the devices in College Station. 

Rentsys, which is owned by Dayton-based conglomerate Reynolds & Reynolds, specializes in serving clients who typically work with sensitive data. 

 “Our customers are in a heavily compliant market where there is heavy regulatory oversight,” he says.

The company’s target customers include community banks, credit unions, and regional health care providers. In addition to companies in those industries, Rentsys often works with companies in the “supply chain” of heavily regulated companies.

The customer base is similar to the one IT-Lifeline served before the acquisition, just national instead of regional. 

Thomasson says that with its Texas operations, the company also serves a lot of companies in the oil-and-gas industry. 

Thomasson says Rentsys, which was founded in 1995, typically has grown through acquisition, and he characterizes the acquisition as average in size for Rentsys. The company had been a vendor to IT-Lifeline at times in the past. When the acquisition opportunity came about, it was interested immediately, he says.

“We moved aggressively because it worked well in this product portfolio that we wanted to expand into,” Thomasson says. “It’s solved a really big problem for us.”

On the IT-Lifeline side, Tanner says it looked at making itself available for acquisition, rather than raising capital to go national itself. 

“We needed additional resources. Do we raise more money or do we partner?” Tanner says. “The acquisition made perfect sense.”

He adds, “It put us on a different level and scale pretty quickly.”

Linn  Parish
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Editor Linn Parish has worked for newspapers and magazines since 1996, with the bulk of that time being at the Journal. A Montana boy who has called Spokane home for some time now, Linn likes Northwest trails, Deep South foods, and lead changes in the ninth inning.

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