Many an IT company has been born from the living room, kitchen or even garage of a family member and the birth of Netshield some 20 years ago was no different.
Started by a fearless young techie with his signature ponytail and his trusty 1400 Datsun bakkie the company was little more than a workbench littered with electronic components, a soldering iron and some CAD boards, in a shared office in Midrand. The engineer and brainchild behind the operation was today’s CEO, Inus Dreckmeyr, and the company was Otex Concepts.
But a person with an idea isn’t a company until it has a customer and fuelled with endless enthusiasm and a can do attitude, Inus sold his first “solution” to Reuters. The product was a modem port-sharing device for the media giant and was run throughout its server rooms. The solution can perhaps best be described as the engine behind the “Reuters Reports” that often appeared in the bottom right hand corner of televised news reports.
But while this kept him out of mischief and ensured there was food on the table, a young Inus was restless. Ever the innovator, he then began assisting on the hardware #development of a product called ScudNet, used in the network of the South African Police Services (SAPS). It wasn’t long after that the Y2K bug bit and Millennium fever rippled through an industry that was in fear of “shutting down”. Ever the opportunist, Inus began assisting companies in gearing themselves to handle the big data reset that Y2K threatened.
After the dust settled on Y2K, he further branched out the capabilities of the company, and now with a small team of like-minded technical individuals began manufacturing media converters, laser links and telecommunications products in early 2000. It was this move that saw the birth of the Netshield brand.
The company continued to grow, its products diversified and its customer net expanded, until in 2006 it was courted by value-added distributor Comztek, now Westcon Southern Africa, who bought a significant stake in the business and then made its ICT specific products available to its resellers. It was this move that saw the company’s name change from Otex Concepts to Netshield.
Today Netshield is very different from the small company it once was, but its principles and Inus’ ponytail still remain the same! The company is broadly known not only for its Netshield environmental management products and other ICT solutions, but also for its research and development arm that specialises in the delivery of products and services tailored around niche customer requirements. Its biggest assets? Its people.
Today Netshield’s business areas include:
• Environmental, element and data centre management
• Power management, surge and lightning protection and planning
• Server room cabinets
• Fibre optical transmission
• Conversion equipment
• Legacy telecommunications and protocol conversion equipment.
• Renewable energy and energy management
• Product and instrument research and development
• Product and instrument manufacturing and servicing
• Instrument servicing and calibration services management
But while much has changed, a lot has stayed the same and the company continues to base its principles on innovation. It places its faith in its people and it strives to create solutions and products that challenge the status quo.
So join us as we raise a glass and make a toast to 20 years and 20 more!