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By Joseph F. Kovar
Take a solution provider on its last legs, throw in an exclusive relationship with the vendor that analysts and the press love to bash as most likely to implode, add in a faltering economy and what do you get? The fastest-growing solution provider on CRN's Fast Growth 100 list.
Campbell, Calif.-based Groupware Technology, which saw its sales soar more than 3,900 percent to just shy of $31 million in 2005 from a paltry $767,426 in 2003, almost didn't make anyone's list of solvent companies but for a reprieve courtesy of a group of investors who saw gold in its customer database and in its relationship with Sun Microsystems.
The company, now led by President, CEO, and Sun fanatic Mike Thompson, has staged the kind of comeback only Hollywood filmmakers could imagine.
It was quite a challenge to come to a company with low revenue that was nearly forgotten by the marketplace, Thompson says. "We needed to rebrand Groupware in the market to let customers know we are here," he says. "We needed to let our vendor partners know we are serious. And we needed to do that before we could get the credit we needed to run the business."
The first step in the recovery of Groupware, which was founded in 1992, was to mine its customer list for opportunities, Thompson says. The next step was to rebrand the company and focus on marketing activities.
The results were staggering. Groupware had revenue of about $1.5 million during the first quarter of 2005, but it brought in about $29.5 million in the next three quarters. And, Thompson says, that was done with net new Sun business, not by poaching existing business from Helio or other Sun solution providers.
Going forward, Groupware is looking to expand by opening an office in the Pacific Northwest.
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