Plano start-up spreads its wings, plans hiringApril 28, 2014
A. Lee Graham
Tragedy and disaster inspired its creation, and now a Plano company developing emergency management software is expanding.
In the next 18 months, Countercepts Inc. aims to add as many as 200 employees as the start-up spreads its wings.
“The product has been tested and in use for three years and continues to draw interest,” said Craig Thompson, president of the fledgling firm but no newcomer to technology.
Since 1988, Thompson has helped businesses solve technology challenges while employed at Morgan Stanley, Citi, Saguaro Creative Technologies Inc. and Raymond James Consulting, among other firms.
Until striking out on his own with Countercepts in March, Thompson was a partner and vice president of Mirrored Storage Inc., a Plano-based cloud backup and data storage firm. He continues filling that role while launching a company specializing in secure data backup, flexible cloud solutions and mobile device computing integration, but his latest venture raises the stakes.
Thompson reached into his own pocket and sank about $350,000 into funding Countercepts. In a modest office along the Dallas North Tollway in Plano, he develops software and already has a few clients using it, including The Claremont Colleges in California and other schools. The clients use the emergency management software to control door locks, conduct camera surveillance and motion sensing, and notify students and faculty in the event of a natural disaster or campus violence.
It’s an increasingly competitive industry as companies race to fill the rising demand for emergency management solutions.
“Go back to Oklahoma City or Columbine, and since that time, there’s been an increase or uptick in these incidents,” said Thompson, referring to the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building and the Colorado high school shooting, respectively.
Eager to promote the product and gain more clients, Thompson finds himself hopping flights to California and other locations to explain his business and court new customers. But the firm’s inaugural software product isn’t the only ace up its sleeve.
“There are other products we are working on – not security-related, but more back office,” Thompson said.
Still, security software takes precedence as the firm pursues version 2 of the inaugural product.
“We’re looking at integrating GIS mapping with on-site camera feeds and door lock systems that allow [clients] to manage it,” Thompson said.
In a year of development preceding its official launch, Countercepts generated about $60,000 in revenue, Thompson said.
“It’s not very much, but it [the software] is a beta product and we’re using customers to help us test the product.”
So far, Thompson said, his biggest customers are The Claremont Colleges and Pilgrim Health Care, both in California.
“We have, in the pipeline, a number of universities that are looking at this,” said Thompson, pointing to Loyola, among others.
Based on those potential clients, Thompson anticipates an additional $200,000 in revenue in the coming year.
He also plans to hire 60 software developers in the next few months, some of whom would serve as software architects focused on automation technology while others would specialize in writing computer code.
Meanwhile, the firm plans to seek venture capital funding as it eyes new office space in the North Dallas area.
“We’re busy, and the next year looks to be really active,” Thompson said.