Startup Trek10 on IT Trend

Published Wednesday, August 12, 2015

As a technology startup, Trek10 has just begun its journey.As a technology startup, Trek10 has just begun its journey.

It’s off to a quick start, though.

Andy Warzon founded the company with Jim Abercrombie and Shane Fimbel about a year and half ago. The firm — which specializes in cloud-based IT infrastructure such as Amazon Web Services — set up an office in April at Union Station Technology Center and completed a round of seed funding earlier this summer from an investor group that included Elevate Ventures and The Judd Leighton Foundation.

Trek10 has six full-time employees right now, but 25 to 30 people could be working there by the end of 2016.

The company’s big upside lies in its specialty — infrastructure as a service — which is a new but growing field in technology.

Most people who use the Internet are familiar with the concept of software as a service. The term means that, instead of downloading software onto a computer’s hard drive, the program is accessible on any device with an Internet connection. Web-based email is one common example of software as a service. Other examples include everything from Netflix to online banking.

Infrastructure as a service refers to the practice of taking the low-level components of IT infrastructure — hardware, servers — and delivering it as a service over the Internet, or “the cloud” as it’s been nicknamed.

Amazon Web Services, which is owned by the online retailer Amazon.com, is the largest player in the infrastructure-as-a-service market. Multinational corporations, government agencies and other large institutions are using it.

“This is a really powerful set of tools, but a lot of companies don’t know how to use it,” Warzon said. “We help companies get on Amazon Web Services and support them 24/7 once they’re on there.”

One of the key advantages of cloud-based IT infrastructure is it allows companies to use only what they need, when they need it. They can scale up without buying additional equipment, and they aren’t wasting money on unused equipment when traffic is below peak levels.

“If you’re buying physical infrastructure, you have to manage to your peak,” Abercrombie said. “The less frequently those peaks happen throughout the year, the more money you’re spending on unused capacity. The cloud completely takes care of that.”

Trek10 also focuses on DevOps — a merging of software development and IT operations.

“It’s taking an IT operation and automating it with code — actually defining a whole data center with code,” Warzon said. “And then on the flip side, this is using IT operations to make software development better.”

Warzon was Better World Books’ vice president of technology and analytics from 2006 to 2013, and he later worked as an independent consultant. His idea for Trek10 came out of opportunities he saw while doing consulting work.

Innovation Park at Notre Dame was Trek10’s base before the company moved to Union Station — the old rail depot that’s now a technology hub on downtown’s south end.

Trek10 already had customers and revenue when it went to Innovation Park, but Warzon said the business incubator helped speed up the company’s development. The firm now has more than 30 customers in the Midwest, on both coasts and even abroad.

Innovation Park’s leaders presented Trek10 with an Acceleration Award last month.

Warzon noted at the ceremony that a tech company like Trek10 doesn’t have a lot of tangible assets. It relies on the technical talent of its employees, and he has been able to assemble a great team here.

“We have laptops and a Foosball table and a lot of brains,” he said. “This business is all about people. That’s the thing that will drive our success forward.”

Source: South Bend Tribune