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Tabacek’s vision helped make IT-Lifeline an ideal target for a merger

Congratulations are in order for the folks who've built IT-Lifeline into a top-drawer tech services company, making it an attractive target for an acquisition.

Especially worth a call-out is Steve Tabacek, who started the Liberty Lake private company in 2002, taking it beyond simple backup to the integrated providing of business continuity services and disaster risk assessment.

Here's one of our first articles about IT-Lifeline, from our former tech section SR TXT, dated September 2003.

Tabacek was the founding guy and the person who pushed the company forward during its earliest leaner years.   Though he left IT-Lifeline two years ago to start CXOWare, another Spokane firm, his role was pivotal in keeping the company growing.

A Texas firm, Rentsys Recovery Services, acquired IT-Lifeline and plans to keep the operation going in Liberty Lake, according to today's SR story from our business pages.

The 2003 story wasn't that brilliantly written, either. I'm just enjoying thinking back to 2003 when the Spokane economy wasn't especially strong and the idea of a new company tackling the disaster-recovery area seemed very promising, to me anyway.

Risk-management tech firm CXOWARE lands $1.25 million in funding

Spokane tech startup CXOWARE has landed its first round of outside funding — a total of $1.25 million from an overseas investor and three regional venture funds.

CXOWARE provides software tools used by large and mid-sized companies to analyze financial risk and other risks that could disrupt their businesses.

Company CEO Steve Tabacek said the funding includes roughly $1 million from Belgian entrepreneur and mathematician Henry Beker. Beker was a founder of U.K.-based information security company Baltimore Technologies.

Beker now has a seat on the CXOWARE board, said Tabacek.

An additional $250,000 came from Spokane Angel Alliance, Spokane’s Inland TechStart Fund and one member of the Seattle Alliance of Angels.

Tabacek started and helped grow Liberty Lake-based IT-Lifeline, a business continuity and recovery services provider. Tabacek still owns 30 percent of that company, but left three years ago when the board wanted a new CEO.

In early 2011 Tabacek and colleague Jack Jones teamed up to start the new company. Jones, a former chief information security officer with Nationwide Insurance, developed a prototype of an analytic tool that would identify the critical areas of business vulnerability.

Those concerns include theft, cyber fraud, external issues like hostile takeover, disruption of the supply chain and other factors. Jones’s breakthrough was coming up with a detailed tool that could estimate a company’s risk, in monetary terms, Tabacek said.

Companies, many of them in the financial services sector, now need to identify risk potential and find ways to prioritize risk mitigation budgets and manage that exposure, Tabacek said.

The company has a staff of five with offices in the McKinstry Innovation Center east of downtown Spokane. Tabacek said the headcount will grow to eight in the next 30 days as the investment is applied to stronger marketing and business development.

The first year and half, CXOWARE relied primarily on his own and Jones’s funding, Tabacek said.

The partners used a Pullman tech company, Integrated Engineering Solutions, to develop the software-as-a-service used by customers. By 2013 Tabacek said they had a dozen paying customers, most of them in financial services and the energy sector.

That success set the stage for seeking outside investment, Tabacek added.

 “Risk management and risk reduction are huge right now for public companies in health care, energy and even the non-public sector,” Tabacek

IT-Lifeline releases cloud-based recovery service for Amazon Web Services

Liberty Lake's IT-Lifeline has announced it's become the first company to offer a cloud-based disaster recovery option over Amazon Web Services (AWS).  AWS is Amazon's rentable online cloud service that gives companies computing capacity on an as-needed basis.

IT-Lifeline will license software from CommVault that is designed for quick and reliable data restoration. CommVault's chief recovery product is the Simpana suite of services.

A company press release noted that cloud-based disaster recovery offers customers the ability to pay for disaster recovery capacity only when required, instead of having a fixed ongoing cost for a service that may be used occasionally or even not at all.

The new IT-Lifeline service is called BlackCloud Edge. It will be targeted toward midsized businesses, said company spokesman Brandon Tanner.

Pricing is based on data capacity. BlackCloud Edge is priced at approximately 75 cents per gigabyte per month.

A company release included a quote from Terry Wise, director of business development for Amazon Web Services:

“Amazon Web Services is pleased to see the innovative approach from IT-Lifeline with itsr disaster recovery solution.  With the secure, on-demand, pay as you go services of AWS, BlackCloud Edge customers are able to scale up infrastructure on an as-needed basis providing them the agility to optimize their resources during a disaster recovery scenario."

IT-Lifeline signs partnership deal to develop West side business contracts

Liberty Lake-based IT-Lifeline has announced it signed a deal with Business Continuity Center of Seattle, a company that provides similar business recovery services, critical data management and protection.

The goal of the deal is to increase West Side business for IT-Lifeline, which has offices and operations in the TierPoint building in Liberty Lake.

Most of IT-Lifeline’s customers are from Eastern Washington. With the new deal, the privately held company plans to build more business relationships in the Puget Sound area. Its largest customers are financial institutions.

Business Continuity Center of Seattle is an ideal partner for that role, said Brandon Tanner, vice president of sales and marketing of IT-Lifeline.

The selling point for IT-Lifeline:  the stable, environmentally mild Eastern Washington environment. Few earthquakes, no floods or hurricanes. Volcanos?  Ain't got any over here.

Matt Gerber becomes CEO at Liberty Lake’s IT-Lifeline

Matt Gerber, who’s held key jobs at area firms Itronix and SprayCool, has become CEO of Liberty Lake-based IT-Lifeline.

Gerber, who’s 46, takes the reins of the company started by Steven Tabacek, the firm’s only other CEO. Tabacek told board members he felt it was time for another person to direct IT-Lifeline, said Gerber.

IT-Lifeline provides backup and recovery-of-data services for companies across the region. It’s based in the TierPoint building in Liberty Lake. Most of its customers are health care providers and financial service companies.IT-Lifeline is focusing on gaining new customers in the Seattle area, Gerber said. At present about 30 percent of IT-Lifeline’s customers are from that area. “We want to make that 50 percent in the next two years,” Gerber said.

Gerber held a number of positions, including senior vice president for marketing at Itronix, which was acquired by General Dynamics.  He moved to SprayCool where he became CEO in 2007 and then left after the company was acquired earlier this year.

He said Tabacek remains an owner of IT-Lifeline but is pursuing other entrepreneurial interests.

IT-Lifeline secures Oregon bank endorsement

Liberty Lake based IT-Lifeline announced it’s become certified as a recovery and continuity solution provider for the Oregon Bankers Association.

It’s the first group to get that OBA certification, said IT-Lifeline’s COO  Jim Sandford. IT-Lifeline will work with OBA subsidiary BancSource to offer banks recovery and continuity solutions if a catastrophe affects service to their customers.

By earning the OBA endorsement, IT-LIfeline is able to meet with OBA members and discuss options for institutions needing to address data security and business continuity.

For more information about IT-Lifeline, go to www.itlifeline.net.