The Founding of a Company: Martello, Mitel & RIT
It can be hard sometimes to pinpoint that exact moment when an idea becomes a company. That time when casual conversations over coffee and ideas sketched onto a whiteboard solidify into a tangible thing. For Martello, our inception had several key players and the Rochester Institute of Technology(RIT) and its proximity to telecom titan Terry Matthews played a significant part.
It was back in early 2009 that Terry Matthews introduced Niall Gallagher to Emilio DiLorenzo who was working at RIT as the Associate Chief Information Officer. At the time Niall was looking into business ideas for a new WesleyClover company. He and Emilio developed the business concept that would eventually become Martello Technologies.
So how does RIT factor into Martello’s inception? Founded in 1829, the Rochester Institute of Technology is a privately funded university that focuses heavily on career education and experiential learning. When Niall and Emilio first met, Emilio was a graduate of RIT and was working for the university. After Martello was founded, Emilio chose to stay on at RIT and rented a small office space in RIT’s technology business incubator. It was there that Emilio met fellow RIT graduate, Bill Kuker. At the time, Bill was employed by RIT as a systems programmer creating telecommunication, computer, and data network monitoring and management software for the university. Bill was also an active member of RIT’s Computer Science House (CSH), which is one of the oldest and most active special interest houses at the university. Since 1976, CSH has created a unique space where the focus is on immersing students in technology, giving them the resources and facilities they need to develop exceptional software solutions. Of CSH, Bill said
“No matter what kind of phone you use, websites you visit, car you drive, method you use to pay for coffee, you’ve used a dozen pieces of software developed by the people at CSH or from companies they’ve founded, before breakfast.”
While at RIT, Emilio and Bill were working on several product ideas that they were looking to develop into a company. After meeting Niall, with his Mitel and telecom expertise, the idea for Martello clicked. As Martello grew, so did the relationship with RIT and the company eventually hired on additional graduates of the program. The very first release of any software is bound to make its developers wince a bit when looked at years later, but the first release of MarWatch clearly planted the seeds for what would become the product we sell today.
It allowed you to keep tabs on customer networks and access sites remotely. As the company evolved, our early Martellians soon realized that telecom service providers using the software would have a real differentiator in a competitive market if they had greater visibility into voice quality and the performance of their telephone systems. Today, that software has evolved into a network performance management and monitoring solution that speeds problem to resolution time and provides tools to proactively detect faults and pinpoint issues on the network.
Now a lead software developer at Martello, when Bill Kuker first heard about our Employee-Directed Gift Program, he knew that he wanted to make his first donation to RIT’s Computer Science House (CSH) to support the work that they were doing. CSH has multi-purpose rooms with ample resources for its members to use including email, newsgroups, databases, web space services, private wired networks, in addition to servers and workstations. Bill honed his skills while using the CSH resources and wanted to give back to the group that had helped him advance his professional and academic career.
Martello’s relationship with the Rochester Institute of Technology was pivotal in the founding of our company and its alumni have made significant contributions to product development and towards the shaping of our company. Through Bill’s involvement with RIT and the donation that he made to the Computer Science House we hope to be a small part of the legacy of great work from this university.