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Software maker has same leaders it had in '90s, a rarity for tech firm

August 18, 2017

Few built-in-Indianapolis software products that were around 20 years ago exist today. And for those that are still around, it's highly unlikely their early technicians remain involved.

Rob Beeler mugRob Beeler

Both descriptions are true for a local Carbonite Inc. business unit formerly known as Double-Take Inc., which deals in data backup and recovery for businesses. The 22-year-old operation—which Carbonite acquired in January for $62.5 million—has at least six employees occupying positions today who were there in the 1990s, including co-founder Rob Beeler.

Double-Take veterans said they either stayed with Double-Take, or left and returned, for a few reasons. One relates to the interesting challenges they continue to encounter with respect to data backup—a business need that has become more relevant since the 1990s.

Brian_OwensBrian Owens

The other reason deals with the culture that Beeler, who's a Carbonite vice president today, cultivated there.

"We have a very trusting culture here, and this is something I'd attribute to Rob," said Brian Owens, an engineering director who worked with Double-Take from 1997 to 2013 and returned this spring.

"He's created an environment that allows you to test your wings, work on your strengths and weaknesses, and if you make a mistake, it's not the end of the world."

Double-Take was never based in Indianapolis, which may explain way there's been little local press coverage of it. But its engineering team has been anchored here from the start. Today, the business unit is called Carbonite Availability, and Carbonite plans to boost its engineering team, which is spread between Indianapolis and Oakville, Canada.

Boston-based Carbonite, which has 1,000 employees worldwide, employs about 75 people at the local office, including a tech team of about 60. It plans to add 25 tech workers by the end of the year.

Some Double-Take veterans, including Owens, re-joined the outfit after the acquisition. The others who've done so are Jerry Kelly, a principal software engineer who was first hired by Double-Take in 1998, and Robert Fuller, a senior software engineer whose ties date back to 1996.

Others never left. Beeler co-created the software in a spare home bedroom in 1995. His brother David Beeler, senior product manager, joined him soon after. Advisory architect James Wilkinson started in 1996.

"What we do is challenging—technical people like that," Rob Beeler said in a phone interview. "They like to work on things that stretch them technically. We have also grown and extended the technology quite a bit over the years, so there are always new challenges."

Massachusetts-based Double-Take went public in 2007 and was acquired by California-based Vision Solutions for $242 million in 2010. Vision Solutions spent about 10 years under the under the ownership of California-based Thoma Bravo, which in May 2016 decided to sell it to California-based Clearlake Capital Group.

Eight months later, Clearlake reached a deal to offload Double-Take to Carbonite. Carbonite had mostly been a consumer-focused company, but in recent years it's been making acquisitions that help it serve small and mid-sized businesses. Specifically, Double-Take gave it solutions for disaster recovery, availability and data migration.

Rob Beeler said that before the sale to Carbonite he played a role in pitching the company to suitors. And even after more than two decades at Double-Take—including about 17 years in its multistory office building near 82nd Street and Allisonville Road—he knew he wanted to stay involved after the deal.

"This is something that I considered in many ways my baby," Beeler said, "and knew I wanted to continue on with this and make it successful."

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