When Mission-Critical Solutions Matter - Janesville Innovation Center

When Mission-Critical Solutions Matter

David Farrell knows a thing or two about Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS). Designed to provide backup power in the event of an outage, they’re an essential piece of hardware that protects both electronic equipment and data. Devices that rely on a UPS include computers, wireless routers and modems, televisions, security systems, mobile devices, and more. 

“Anything that is critical runs on a UPS,” David says. “Today’s electronics cannot withstand gaps in power.”

While most people might associate UPS with a certain global courier, David knows better. He’s a sales manager for N1 Critical Technologies, experts in the design, installation, and maintenance of mission-critical UPS systems. 

Switching Focus in Order to Compete

When N1 Critical Technologies was formed in 2015, they started out as resellers, offering UPS systems from brands like Eaton, General Electric, and Xtreme Power. Two years later they had their sights set on government and school district bids but realized they were unable to compete with suppliers, who secured contracts through lower pricing. Success demanded they develop, and sell, their own systems. 

That’s when a lightbulb went off. Or more accurately, a battery: a lithium ion (LI) battery. Nobody in the single-phase market had used one before, but N1 Critical Technologies felt it was an idea worth exploring. 

This turned out to be a shrewd business move. Pairing a UPS system with an LI battery allowed the company to offer a 10-year warranty and 15-year design life, far superior to anything else available at the time.

“As you can imagine, if you have 200 of these units in your school district or across your company, you’re not changing the battery every three to five years,” David explains. “You’re saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.” 

From that point forward, N1 Critical Technologies was able to compete for contracts alongside the brands they had once sold.

Janesville Innovation Center Offers Space & Mentorship

When David and his partner were first setting up shop, they decided a space in the Janesville Innovation Center would perfectly suit their needs. After all, it was just the two of them. 

“It made sense because we needed an office, a phone, and internet, and we had no money,” he recalls. “We did our startup with nothing down, and JIC was very affordable. It was a great leg up in order to get started.” 

In addition to the amenities provided by JIC, other intangibles came into play. The innovation center introduced them to community leaders, banks, and other business people who served as mentors to help them get the company up and running.

Eventually, N1 Critical Technologies grew to the point where they needed more space, so they purchased an office building on Parker Drive in Janesville. And then COVID happened.

“Our whole workforce went remote,” David says. “And we had the best two years we’ve ever had!”

When they finally returned to work, they were there for about three days before deciding they preferred the flexibility of remote work. They sold the building and moved back to the Janesville Innovation Center full-time, taking an additional space that included a lab for testing and holding video conferences with clients. No matter what happens next, David says N1 Critical Technologies won’t ever make the mistake of buying their own building again. Why should they when they’ve already got the perfect setup? 

“We’ll stay in JIC as long as they’ll have us or until we outgrow it,” he promises. “As long as they’ll keep us, we’d love to stay!”

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