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Craig Kelly, co-founder of Vizualiiz

Craig Kelly and Bob Cartwright have worked in the data center business for years, with Kelly spending more than a decade at and Cartwright holding industrial and systems engineering positions at Boeing. Now, the entrepreneurs are taking the wraps off their new company, Vizualiiz, which promises to make data center management faster, easier and more affordable.

Today, the 2-year-old company announced the availability of a new 3D visualization technology known as LightsOn. T-Mobile is already using the data center asset tracking service, and other customers are in the pipeline. We caught up with Chief Technology Officer Kelly, who most recently worked at Seattle startup Lockerz, for our latest installment of Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We give data center managers instant answers to their most feared asset questions from CEOs, CFOs and facilities.”

Inspiration hit us when: “We saw the tech breakthrough of the iPhone and how it changed the user experience. In our world we saw all the angst and inefficiency that data center managers were dealing with and asked one simple question: What if a data center manager could give their CIO, CFO and facilities all the asset answers they needed instantly and simultaneously without ever leaving their desk?

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrapping the company was a strategic decision. It enables us to be more nimble and efficient and to build a superior product because we have the freedom to be creative and independent.”

Craig Kelly

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “The depth of the capability of the application; LightsOn goes far beyond what anyone else is doing—more asset information is collected so that asset-related decisions are more strategic. Our knowledge of the data center and advanced technologies helped us architect what we believe is the most all-encompassing solution on the market today.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Bootstrapping, so we could remain independent. It also has taught us a lot about being frugal”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “We’re pretty cautious but the dynamics of changing technology are always a factor for us because we want to take advantage of the latest/best technology…so our original concepts were built on technology that couldn’t get us where we needed to be so we had to make changes.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner:  “Like them all but Bezos is definitely our pick because of his extreme obsession for the customer experience.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “For us personally it started—yesterday. For the company it starts once we sign a few more deals and the buzz starts. Seeing is believing with this product.

Rivals should fear us because: “We are so agile, nimble and creative. We’re significantly further along than others in our space. We’re really delivering a paradigm shift to the market relative to how assets are managed. Our R&D focus guides this because we can ferret out the ideas that provide the best advantage at the best price point.”

We are truly unique because: “So many facets of our solution bring new and more advanced capabilities to the table. Our 3D data center visualization; the fact that every stakeholder from the CEO, CFO to facilities can take advantage of the information we now make available; the inventory management process is transformed by embracing and integrating RFID technologies into our feature set. It’s a game-changer enabling a complete equipment inventory in days versus what used to take weeks.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Hiring great engineers. Our approach is unique. We’ve found that by providing a great work-life balance our team is better able to help us figure out how to do things creatively because we give them time to ponder how to solve the hard problems.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Think big and hire the right players.”

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