Government VAR Red River Expands Commercial Business With Acquisition

Government-focused solution provider Red River is expanding its commercial business and geographic reach with the acquisition of Accunet Solutions.

Red River, formed 21 years ago as an integrator with a focus on federal government business, entered the commercial IT market about 10 years ago at customer request, but commercial sales account for only about 5 percent of total revenue, said Rick Bolduc, executive chairman and CEO of the Claremont, N.H.-based solution provider.

The privately held company has seen yearly growth of about 30 percent over the past 10 years, and has several large government contracts including helping the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Navy move to the cloud, Bolduc told CRN.

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Red River made its first small acquisition about 10 years as a way to meet the requirements of a particular government contract, but has recently seen the need to step up its inorganic growth, Bolduc said.

"Three years ago, we noticed the IT industry, both the federal and the commercial markets, rapidly moving from a focus on products to the cloud," he said. "We put plans in place to shift our geographic coverage and skills to meet the change, and saw the need for inorganic growth."

For Boston-based Accunet, the acquisition by Red River was a way to continue its growth, said Alan Dumas, founder and CEO of Accunet.

"The only option was to take outside money, or to opt for slow growth with a few small acquisitions," Dumas told CRN.

Accunet is no stranger to making acquisitions of its own. The company in December acquired Distributed Technologies Group, an upstate New York-based solution provider.

Accunet has also been an acquisition target for some time, Dumas said.

"Every year, we get a couple calls from companies looking to acquire Accunet," he said. "But there was nothing that excited me. But we've recently been getting a lot more calls, one of which was from Rick Bolduc".

Red River and Accunet first got together early this year thanks to a meeting facilitated by an OEM partner, Red River's Bolduc said. "We informed our partner of our intention to expand our commercial business, and they suggested Accunet," he said. "So I sent a message to Alan via an adviser, and that led to our first meeting."

Accunet brings to Red River a very strong Dell EMC technology partnership, as well as a strong commercial business, Bolduc said. About 20 percent of Accunet's business is with government entities, Dumas said.

The company also gets Accunet's entire team, including Dumas, who will serve as president of Red River's commercial division, and Mark Matheson, Accunet vice president, who will serve as Red River's new vice president of commercial sales.

"Alan brings us a lot of experience," Bolduc said. "He grew Accunet well, and is very well respected in the industry."

Accunet also gives Red River an expanded geographic presence throughout much of New England, as well as a couple of other smaller offices across the country, Bolduc said.