Will lightning strike again for Qumulex’s serial entrepreneur founders?
Lightning never strikes the same place twice. Except, sometimes it does.
It’s a saying because it’s rare, but there’s a place in Venezuela where the Catatumbo River meets Lake Maracaibo that experiences thousands of lightning strikes every hour during the rainy season. The point is, it does happen. The leadership team of entrepreneurs at a Fishers, Ind.-based startup called Qumulex is working to make sure lightning strikes again with their third, and for some of them their fourth venture together in the physical security industry.
Qumulex is a cloud-based, Internet of Things technology and software company that specializes in commercial video surveillance and access control. The company is helping to bridge the commercial market gap between the older, often separate on-premise security and access systems, by providing a single solution that is more in line with popular residential video surveillance apps, or smart doorbells, like Ring, Google, dbell and August Home.
“We’re on our third or fourth startup together as a leadership team, and having a good story like that is an asset for attracting both capital and new employees,” said Dan Rittman, president of Qumulex. “At the most recent two companies, [Exacq Technologies and Integral Technologies] we grew to nearly 150 people and a $50 million annual run rate organically through our networks, but finding 150 highly qualified engineers and other technical employees fast is not going to be easy in today’s competitive talent market.”
Striking during technology transformation
Qumulex has quickly grown to employ 21 and expects to hire at least 10 more people this year, with the ultimate goal of employing (and hopefully surpassing) the success of previous entrepreneurial ventures. Currently operating out of the Indiana IoT Lab in Fishers, Ind., the company has benefited from the innovative environment and serendipitous relationships built in proximity to other trailblazers and entrepreneurs.
The team at Qumulex has made it a habit to enter markets right as they are undergoing a technology transformation. They launched one of the first hard drive-based digital recorders when the physical security industry standard was still predominantly using time-lapse VCRs and half-inch tapes. They also developed a control box with a modern user interface for high-resolution IP cameras, just as the industry was shifting to the new cameras from the older analog versions.
Today, in their latest venture at Qumulex, they are operating at an intersection of the industry’s shift from on-premise servers and access control systems to the cloud.
“While the physical security industry is one of the slower industries to adopt new technology—which is understandable because lives are at stake—the dealers and customers we talk to know that they need to move to the cloud,” said Tom Buckley, vice president of sales and marketing at Qumulex. “It’s not just the positive pressure from consumer innovations like Ring and other home-security products. Dealers and installers recognize that their customers are avoiding or eliminating capital expenditures, so they have to transition from being a transactional only business to a recurring revenue model, and the cloud is their ticket to future growth and profitability.”
Meeting both immediate and future needs
There are about 10,000 dealers who distribute products in the physical security space, and Qumulex has existing or past business relationships with more than half of the market. One of the company’s greatest advantages is that it’s advanced, open-platform software allows for all on-premise, all cloud, or both in a hybrid approach. This allows dealers and installers to meet both the immediate and future needs of customers without forcing them into buying all new equipment like closed, proprietary systems do.
“Instead of having easy-to-use new tech at home and then going into the office and using 20- or 30-year-old, antiquated systems, our Qumulex solutions let dealers bring their customers into the 21st century without the pain and frustrations they expect,” Tom said. “There’s no thick-client, no native apps to update, and no breakdowns when one proprietary thing updates that requires changes in other parts of the system. Qumulex has a unified, progressive web app interface that is platform agnostic, so it accepts both access control and video in a very user-friendly, real world operations way that isn’t what people are used to seeing in our industry.”
The Qumulex solution will begin shipping its 1.0 product later this year following a very successful showing at a number of industry trade shows. While the founding team and key engineering pros are in place to continue advanced development, Qumulex expects to scale up quickly over the next two to three years, including doubling in size over the next 12-18 months to approximately 45 employees. Most of that growth will be hiring for sales and marketing as well as technical support and customer success roles. With no immediate plans to leave the Indiana IoT Lab, the company’s rapid growth might make that decision for them if their market share capture and talent attraction efforts go as planned.