Startups

How SevOne grew from Wilmington garage to global monitoring platform

In 2005, a husband-and-wife team cofounded SevOne. Now the performance monitoring platform employs more than 400 people across the globe, making sure your iPhone activates, for example.

SevOne is headquartered in Wilmington. Its satellite office in Center City Philadelphia (pictured here in 2014) will soon close.

(Courtesy photo)

Tanya and Vess Bakalov’s story began when they met as undergrads at the University of Delaware.
Tanya Bakalov, who has a degree in accounting and management information systems, worked as an auditor and consultant, helping to audit financial systems. She landed a job at Bank One. So did he.
At Bank One, Vess Bakalov worked with systems and was tasked with managing the infrastructure, finding bottlenecks and fixing them. But he found that the systems were outdated and needed a revamp, Tanya Bakalov said.
“The systems he was using were built on legacy technology. They were not web based and they’re a myriad of problems he encountered,” she said.
Tanya Bakalov said Vess started writing a new product that would make the process more efficient. And it worked.
Then, the pair got married in 2005.

"We collect performance-based information. We coordinate it in a way and show it to the right groups that are using the information to firefight or prevent problems down the line."
SevOne cofounder Tanya Bakalov

“The day we came back from our honeymoon, he decided to resign from his full-time job and start the company,” Tanya said. “We had UD interns, who are still with us. He hired them as juniors in college and now they’re running the organization. We had an office [in Wilmington] — a garage office. They started working on the product and several months later had the prototype. Then, Vess convinced me I should leave my job and I should join him in the garage as a sales person.”
That year, the Bakalovs cofounded SevOne — which has grown, in its nine-year lifespan, into a 400-employee organization — which created a scalable performance monitoring platform.

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The product SevOne markets collects data, which provides the consumer with up-to-the-minute metrics which can help prevent issues and problems.
“We collect millions and billions of data from any IT-connected device — a router, switch, film, telecom, firewall or server — any kind of device that communicates inside a network,” Bakalov said. “We collect performance-based information. We coordinate it in a way and show it to the right groups that are using the information to firefight or prevent problems down the line.”
For example, SevOne works with Comcast to assure the company that when users hit the “on” button on their TV or check their high-speed Internet service, it’s functioning properly. If not, Bakalov said, the company alerts the Comcast group that manages the services to investigate and troubleshoot.
SevOne, Bakalov said, also serves a leading national cell phone service — one of the top two was all she could say.
“When launching the iPhone, people went to the store and we made sure when they got their phone and authenticated it on the network, it worked,” she said.

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Inside SevOne's Philly office.

Inside SevOne’s Philly office. (Photo courtesy of SevOne)


SevOne’s customers purchase the product from the Wilmington-based locations and deploy it in their own data centers and facilities, Bakalov said.
"We have grown very fast, but that’s a testament to the people that we hire who help us build the market and product."
SevOne cofounder Tanya Bakalov

Last month, the company reported that its global customers collectively surpassed 100 million objects being monitored on the platform. Some of the organization’s biggest clients are Telstra, Vodafone, NASDAQ, Sberbank, NTT, KDDI, Amadeus and Lockheed Martin.
About half of the company’s employees work from the Wilmington office, Bakalov said. About 25 percent work in SevOne offices in Philadelphia, Boston and Bulgaria. Another 25 percent work abroad remotely in places like Australia, Hong Kong and Amsterdam.
“The main factor is the demand for the product,” said Tanya. “We have grown very fast, but that’s a testament to the people that we hire who help us build the market and product. It’s the idea and the building of the initial product, listening to the customers and creating a better product every year.”
SevOne often hires interns from Delaware colleges who continue to stay with the company after the internship in a full-time capacity. But Bakalov said it’s harder to find talent in Delaware since the culture has traditionally focused on banking and engineering.
SevOne is working with government officials in Delaware and is also exploring opportunities at the University of Delaware’s STAR campus.
“We continue to expand at a very rapid pace. It’s what you would expect from a tech company on the national technology scene. We’re constantly growing and expanding, but we’re a stable and mature company,” Bakalov said. “We’re continuing innovation and to satisfy the customers, so the growth of the company is basically certain.”

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