New product, partnership set ClearObject on path to growth

ClearObject, a Fishers-based tech firm, this week rolled out its latest product and announced a new partnership with computing giant IBM that company officials said will significantly grow their business.

The company this week launched ClearObject Engineering Cloud, which will let customers entrust migration, deployment, and cloud management to ClearObject.

Additionally, ClearObject announced it is now the sole provider of managed services in the internet of things or—IoT—space for IBM SaaS.

The announcement was made in Orlando, Florida, at the 29th annual The International Council on Systems Engineering Symposium, which is billed as the largest worldwide annual gathering of people in systems engineering.

“This will very dramatically widen ClearObject’s number of customers,” ClearObject CEO John McDonald told IBJ. “Up until recently, we’ve been fairly narrowly focused. Now we can go in many new directions.”

McDonald expects ClearObject to pursue customers in such sectors as aerospace defense, agriculture, transportation and medical devices. “This allows us to get into very complicated, highly regulated areas,” McDonald said.

ClearObject describes itself as an integrator of “internet of things” systems, referring to technology that connects everyday appliances and other objects to the internet, enabling them to send and receive data.

ClearObject essentially has two revenue streams. The first comes from data analytics, an area that is seeing rapid growth, McDonald said. The second is engineering, in which ClearObject embeds software into devices. McDonald said he expects engineering to grow dramatically.

This week’s announcement means that ClearObject customers “can offload time-consuming cloud maintenance and management to ClearObject using Google Cloud Services and IBM SaaS,” McDonald said.

ClearObject has about 70 employees, and McDonald said the company will likely have 140 within three years.

“We’re hiring a whole bunch of people right now, and this will accelerate that for sure,” he said.

McDonald added: “To have a company of our size being able to perform this task for [IBM and its customers] is very unusual,” McDonald said. “But this isn’t about our size. It’s about our capabilities.”

ClearObject—founded in 2010 as CloudOne—has had multiple appearances on IBJ’s annual list of fastest-growing Indianapolis-area private companies.

According to information provided to IBJ, ClearObject’s revenue grew 216 percent from 2014 through 2016, ranking it third on the 2017 fastest-growing list. At the time, it had $15.4 million in revenue. The company also appeared on the list in 2016 (ranking ninth with 171 percent revenue growth over three years) and in 2015 (fourth, 170 percent).

McDonald declined to reveal the company’s annual revenue but said it’s expected to at least double in the next three years.

In January, two out-of-state private equity firms—New Jersey-based Egis Capital Partners and Maryland-based ABS Capital Partners—took a majority stake in ClearObject. McDonald said that ClearObject’s board decided to sell because the firm needed more capital to grow and keep up in the fast-moving IoT segment.

ClearObject’s executive ranks, including McDonald as CEO, remained unchanged.

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