Ottawa’s Fastest Growing Companies: Cloud paves way to sunny future for BriteSky

BriteSky
BriteSky’s Joey Harrison and Mike Smith. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

Each year, OBJ recognizes the region’s rapidly growing firms with its Fastest Growing Companies awards. The aim is to honour the city’s top performers for substantial, sustainable and profitable growth. Recipients are ranked by their three-year revenue growth. They must have had revenues of at least $100,000 in the first of those three years under consideration. Revenues must have risen to at least $500,000 in their most recent fiscal year. The companies will be profiled online in the coming days and recognized at a cocktail reception on May 24 at You.i TV headquarters in Kanata. Click here for more information on the event.

When you break it down, BriteSky owes its success to being something of a Goldilocks-esque solution to data storage: It’s not a dedicated, on-premise data service company, nor does it subscribe to the belief, seemingly common in the data world, that the best way to do anything is to do it in the cloud.

Instead, its approach is to play it down the middle – making it part cloud company, part on-premise data company.

“Whereas cloud-only vendors can only talk about cloud, on-premise guys can only talk about on-premise, we’re in this little sweet spot right in the middle,” says BriteSky CEO Joey Harrison.

The premise behind BriteSky is fairly simple: When it comes to data, most companies want services that are geared towards the unique aspects of their business – not to make their business model fit either a cloud or on-premise model. To that end, BriteSky offers a wide range of customizable enterprise data solutions.

“We started listening to our clients,” Mike Smith, BriteSky’s vice-president of sales, told OBJ last year. “Our customers were asking for cloud solutions, hybrid cloud solutions, on-premises, private clouds.”

Harrison says it’s highly unusual for a provider to be able to offer clients that kind of customization.

“The other resellers, nobody has their own. They have to sell Amazon (Web Services), they have to sell (Microsoft) Azure.”

So far, there appears to be a serious appetite for this kind of solution. Over the past year, BriteSky has grown by more than 700 per cent, landing it third on this year’s list of fastest-growing companies.

Ottawa's Fastest Growing Companies: BriteSky

Year founded: 2013
Local headcount:40, most shared with Decisive (10 are exclusive to BriteSky)
Product or service: Enterprise cloud services
Three-year revenue growth:713.7%
2018 ranking:#3

BriteSky grew out of its sister company Decisive, which bills itself as “a specialist in large-scale platform and mission-critical architecture,” in 2013.

Originally, BriteSky was born as a solution for Decisive customers. The two companies are still tightly intertwined, but the younger firm has more recently begun to branch out.

“It’s only in the last year and a half that we’re getting BriteSky customers that weren’t Decisive customers,” says Harrison. “Because of our new Toronto data centre, we’re starting to see a lot more activity there. We’ve had some pretty interesting meetings down in Toronto.”

Offering a middle-ground solution might sound complicated. Harrison sympathizes with anyone who gets a bit bogged down in the technicalities, adding he’s not a technical guy himself, but he says it’s more about the way you think about the big picture.

“We came up with something unique, but it looks fairly simplistic at the same time,” he says. “It’s not the gear that’s the difficult part, it’s how you orchestrate it.”

The real advantage of BriteSky’s services, says Harrison, is not necessarily in cost savings, but in simplicity.

“Even in the centre of the universe – Toronto – nobody is doing what we’re doing.”

“I think early on, everyone thought cloud was going to save (users money),” he says. “I don’t know that it necessarily saves on dollars; what it does save on is time. If you come on to a BriteSky-type infrastructure, you’re up and running in hours or days. The savings are in automation.”

Another of BriteSky’s main selling points is data security, and the ability to keep all of a company’s data within Canada’s borders.

“Customers are now starting to realize that it’s not such a good idea for us to be on the Amazons of the world. There’s no guarantee that their data stays in Canada,” says Harrison. “The policies and procedures we follow are the best security practices. We’ve hit all the checkboxes on that.”

The company is now looking at growing beyond its base in Ottawa. Currently, BriteSky has data centres in Calgary and Toronto as well as Ottawa, and it’s looking at expanding into Montreal.

The firm is also hoping that increasing interest for its services in Toronto could spark more growth. Once a big firm in the city moves to its system, others will follow suit, its founders say.

“Even in the centre of the universe – Toronto – nobody is doing what we’re doing,” says Harrison.