Longtime Ottawa tech leader Beer takes reins of U.K. software firm StorMagic

Dan Beer
Dan Beer

Veteran Ottawa tech executive Dan Beer has just started a new gig as CEO of U.K.-based software firm StorMagic, but the task in front of him feels very familiar.

The 51-year-old University of Ottawa engineering graduate has spent decades driving growth at global companies. That will be his mission at StorMagic, which makes software that helps store and manage the constant flow of data to and from virtual servers and devices at the “edge” of cloud-based networks such as surveillance cameras and retail point-of-sale systems.

With double-digital annual revenue growth and a customer base that includes Hitachi, Goodyear, Xerox and several major U.S. and European banks, StorMagic is hardly a slouch. 

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But Beer believes the company is only just beginning to tap its potential. 

Pointing to studies from market research firm Gartner that project the edge computing market to reach US$450-billion by 2025, Beer says there’s no reason StorMagic can’t achieve 50 per cent annual revenue growth and then some.

“It’s got all the ingredients for success.”

“It’s got all the ingredients for success,” he says of the Bristol-based software firm, which employs about 70 people. “The opportunity is ours to execute on.”

Beer seems well-equipped for the job.

His background includes six years at IBM, where he oversaw Big Blue’s mergers and acquisitions team from 2010-13. Before that, he spent eight years at Cognos, helping chart the business intelligence software maker’s global sales support strategy before the Ottawa-based firm was acquired by IBM for US$4.9-billion in 2008.

Beer followed his stay at IBM with a 21-month stint at Kanata’s You.i TV, serving as the user experience software maker’s first chief operating officer as it expanded its relationships with key customers in the U.S. and more than doubled its annual revenues. 

He most recently spent three years as CEO of Texas-based network security firm GFI Software, which has more than 170,000 global customers.

M&A opportunities

Beer, who will continue to work from his home base in the National Capital Region, says his experience scaling up multinational enterprises should stand him in good stead in his new role. 

He says StorMagic, which acquired video and digital asset management software company SoleraTec earlier this year, will look to keep growing both organically and through M&A transactions.

“Like all software companies, if the right (deal) pops up, then we want to be ready to execute,” Beer says.

With the global economy still cloaked in uncertainty, he says the key to staying ahead of the pack in a rapidly emerging field will be finding the right talent to execute his vision.

“Your global ambitions and expansion (plans) are only as good as the (people) you can get in seats,” Beer says. “You want to get the right person in the right seat on the bus, and that’s a challenge in today’s market, frankly.”

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