Ilesfay in Soapbox Cincinnati
What do the Scottish bagpipes and cloud computing for multinational corporations have in common?
Chris McLennan of Ilesfay Technologies, for one.
McLennan is the founder of the Blue Ash-based company that allows workers of a company access and edit large amounts of data from different locations – with that data stored in a central location in the Internet “cloud.”
But if it weren’t for a previous entrepreneurial foray into internet commerce based on another of his passions, the firm may never have come about.
“Yes, I play the Highland bagpipes and I have since I was 11 years old,” says McLennan, 39 of Sycamore Township. “A few years ago, I wanted to tune up my instrument for a competition, the bagpipes aren’t something that you can use an inexpensive tuner based on air pressure to tune.
“So one crazy nights when my ears were all messed up and tired, I came up with the idea of creating a software program to do this.”
That led to selling the product online at www.pitchpipetuner.com and McClennan’s foray into owning and operating his own business.
“I always had profit and loss responsibility for the engineering group that I had, but doing that project gave me a great exposure into the whole life cycle of a business, from marketing to distribution to the product itself,” McLennan says.
Fast forward a few years, and McLennan had another light bulb go off. In his previous position as a software engineer for a specialty engineering firm, he realized that advances in cloud computing were making it possible for multi-site companies to deal with just one set of data.
“After doing data analytics myself, it really all hit me that this is a major problem to have your data off in one spot being consumed by distributed work groups other spots,” McLennan says. “This issue has plagued data intensive operations forever.
“Now, each site only needs to be connected to one central location, instead of all having servers connected with each other,” McLennan says. “This is not just about servers talking to the cloud, but simplifying the entire IT environment for a company.”
Ilesfay (which is Pig Latin for Files), officially started in 2009 with the help of two of McLennan’s former co-workers. They landed Procter & Gamble as a launch customer a year later, and have been growing ever since. This summer, the company received the first half of a $500,000 round of funding from CincyTech, the downtown based public/private tech investment firm.
And McLennan says he is working on closing the rest of the round, hopefully by early 2012.
“I found that my previous experience really helped encourage my other entrepreneurial bents and really prepared me for this,” McLennan says.
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Cincinnati | November 8, 2011 | James Pilcher