GTGI Grows Through Partnerships
GTGI Grows Through Partnerships<@VM>George Allen
By Marianne Dunn, Staff Writer
Global Technologies Group Inc., a small computer security and systems integration company in Arlington, Va., is relying on partnerships to create products that government buyers demand.
George Allen, president and founder of Global Technologies, said that while many small information technology companies are using General Services Administration schedules to drive their businesses, he is looking at relationship-driven strategies to fortify the company's offerings and business base.
"We are not a box mover," said Allen, who started the company in 1991.
The company, which initially focused on exporting microcomputers to subsidiaries of U.S.-based companies in the Middle East and Russia, sells about 30 information security, mass storage and document imaging products to the government.
The value-added integrator and manufacturer had revenue of about $2 million in 1997 and 1998. Allen expects that figure to more than double, and possibly triple, in 1999.
About 60 percent of the company's business is government related, much of it coming from the Defense Department and intelligence agencies. Civilian customers include the Census Bureau, Federal Communications Commission and NASA.
Allen said encryption and security will be two growth markets, and that his primary strategy will be to determine what products his customers will need and then find partners to help him develop them.
In June, the company inked such a partnership with RedCreek Communications Inc., a Newark, Calif.-based supplier of virtual private networking hardware and software.
Allen knew that the Office of Personnel Management needed a mobile computer security system. His company's security and encryption card could secure the data in a computer notebook. It could not, however, provide secure communications among the background investigators' notebooks and OPM's main frame.
"We did not have the ability to develop that technology, but I knew someone out there was working on this," he said. "We talked to a variety of them, and RedCreek was one of the ones I liked best."
GTGI's CryptCard, which encrypts the notebook's hard drive and disables the computer when removed, was bundled with RedCreek's Ravlin 10, a dedicated wire speed, virtual private network appliance, and RavlinSoft, remote access software.
The OPM contract was worth $90,000 to GTGI.
The company's other partners include Eastman Kodak Co. of Rochester, N.Y.; Network Associates Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.; Rimage Corp. of Minneapolis; RedCreek; Shiva Co. of Bedford Mass., which was purchased recently by Intel; and V-One Corp. of Germantown, Md.
Small integrators such as GTGI, which has about 20 employees, obviously cannot do everything, said Allen. Larger integrators can go out and "buy the extra pieces or hire someone. But it makes much more sense for us to partner and share the profit with someone than to develop the expertise and bring people on board," he said.
Axent Technologies is a primary competitor for notebook security software. But Allen said his company is the only one offering a product like CryptCard, which provides high-speed hard disk encryption with password security for notebook PCs. He said other companies may have similar products, but none that will work with virtual private networks.
Jerry Grossman, a director with the investment backing firm Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin of McLean, Va., said GTGI just may be in the right place at the right time. Right now, he said, companies that develop products for encryption and security are in a very good market position.
"They are touching some hot markets," Grossman said. "With the rapid emergence of information security, and data encryption a major concern in the government and private commercial markets, they are in a good position to grow."
GTGI has products for encryption and security, two very robust areas in terms of growth. "If these products work, it may be a company to keep an eye on," Grossman said.
Now Allen is focusing his attention on e-commerce.
"E-commerce is going to grow over the next three years," and that will take the company into Web design and all the other ancillary activities that go along with it, he said.
"If you area going to help someone do a secure transaction, that gets into the whole issue of how they are designing the Web site and what they intend to do with it," he said. "So, again, it all becomes a relationship sell." Age: 42
Marital Status: Married; three children: ages 9, 5 and 8 months
Drives: "I drive a car that (AST Research Inc. of Irvine, Calif.) gave me some years ago. I won it through a sales contest. It's a 6-year old Ford Bronco."
License plate: Encrypt
Education: George Mason, B.S. in urban planning
First Job: Metropolitan Washington Council of Government cog, transportation planning.
"I accept no responsibility for the transportation situation around here! They didn't listen to me, that was the problem."
Bookmarks: www.cnn.com, www.ceoexpress.com
Favorite Flick: "Glory"
Most recent read: "I do a lot of reading for my kids' school. I read 'Oh, The Places You'll Go!' (Dr. Seuss) and 'Sherlock Holmes: The Speckled Band' (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)"
Ideal lunchtime escape: Carlyle Grand Cafe
Normal lunch routine: "More often than not: the Bangkok Siam on Glebe Road."
Average work week: 60 hours
Pets: "15-year-old dog, Scarlett, the harlot."