Past Winners 2015

Green Cloud Technologies

Shay Houser believes Green Cloud Technologies is a fun place to work. The firm is owned by its more than 40 employees, and each has a stake in creating an enticing workplace, he believes. “Everyone is a shareholder and that makes a big difference,” says Houser, founder and CEO of the Greenville-headquartered, cloud-based four-year-old data storage firm. “We are focused on the long term and creating a fun environment. We hire the best employees we can get. At the end of the day, it’s about them.” Green Cloud’s growing staff, which Houser says will reach at least 48 by year’s end, is comprised of young, yet experienced, aggressive tech-savvy people. He describes them as driven and willing to put in the hours it takes to grow an early-stage tech company. Also key to Green Cloud’s ascension has been access to capital and the ability to assemble a strong group of “channel partners,” who are IT companies across the country that sell Green Cloud’s services under their own brands. The 250 or so channel partners help the company expand its product offering and increase the number of end users. About five to 10 channel partners are added each month. End users of Green Cloud’s services include companies from a wide variety of industries, but healthcare-related companies have the largest share, with about 30 percent. Houser believes South Carolina has an exceptional business climate, but there is one major component missing that would help start-up firms: there are no venture capital firms based in the state. “There has to be more venture capital available for small and medium enterprise growth,” Houser says. “The state has done phenomenal with large companies, but better access to capital is needed to accelerate growth of emerging companies. There is not a single South Carolina-based venture capital firm. Charlotte and Raleigh and Atlanta have scores of VC companies. The fact that there are not any here is a detriment to startup companies.” Houser is a veteran of the telecom industry and is an experience entrepreneur. He founded and sold several companies prior to launching Green Cloud. With this background, he is well-qualified to offer advice to those interested in starting a company. “I love to see entrepreneurs at work,” he says. “Greenville has a great environment for new companies and the state does as well. Starting a company is high risk and it takes a lot of energy. You have to have a great plan in place, great advisors and be ready to work hard for the next 10 years. The rule of thumb is it takes twice as long and requires twice as much capital as you might think.” Green Cloud was founded in the fall of 2011 by Houser, his dad Charlie, brother Charles, and several others from their previous company, NuVox. Green Cloud is headquartered at the NEXT Innovation center and recently leased additional space there. Shay Houser says that space should be sufficient, but he says Green Cloud needs to add two more data centers in the coming years. It currently operates such facilities in Greenville and Nashville, Tenn. Houser believes cloud computing is propelling a sea change in technology. “It’s rapidly changing the whole business environment. When you look at the Fortune 500 companies that migrated to the cloud years ago and have proved it’s more efficient, to me that should be an indication that that’s the way to go for small and medium enterprise companies. Cloud providers offer a more secure and more efficient solution compared to a company buying computer equipment and sitting it in an office. To me, that makes absolutely no sense any more.” What’s in a name? For Green Cloud, the “Green” can take on several meanings, Houser says. “We’re in Greenville, right? We like to play off the environmental piece. Our servers and infrastructure and infrastructure run a lot more efficiently than a premise-based server. And, jokingly, our channel partners make a lot of money. So, we put a little bit of thought into the name, but not a lot.” Adding to the company’s environmental cache, Green Cloud plants a tree for each of its customers every quarter of the year. That’s a growing number and Houser hopes it reaches 10,000 a year in a few years.

  1. Green Cloud Technologies
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  3. Facility Solutions
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