Today we’d like to introduce you to Ron & Carolyn Yokubaitis.
Ron & Carolyn, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
We both grew up in Houston and attended U of H. After college, we served in the Peace Corps together in Brazil. There, we worked on community development in the favelas of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro. We’ve always liked adventure, and an adventurous spirit is what led us to starting our own business. In 1994, we launched Texas.Net, one of the first 50 Internet service providers (ISPs) in the United States. We started Texas.Net in San Antonio, because at that time, no one in San Antonio had Internet service. Where many people saw risk, we saw an opportunity. We had a down payment saved for a house at the time. Rather than go through with buying the house, we decided to forfeit the earnest money and use our down payment to buy equipment and launch Texas.Net. Soon after launching in San Antonio, we branched out to Houston, Austin and Dallas.
Later, in the early 2000s, large telephone companies started to dominate the Internet market and made it harder and harder for small ISPs to compete. It was during this time we decided to innovate and create Data Foundry – a data center company. We already had data center space in order to run a reliable Internet company, and so we knew how to run data centers. We also knew all about networking and how to provide the best customer service. We started leasing data center space as Data Foundry in Austin in 1999, and in 2002, we acquired the space next to ours in the Marathon Oil Tower. This became Houston 1, our first data center in Houston. In 2011, we built Texas 1 in Austin. This was a major milestone because we starting designing and building our own data centers from the infrastructure underground to the wind-rated roof overhead.
In 2015, we built Houston 2, a beautiful 350,000 square foot facility on an 18-acre landscaped campus in Greenspoint. It’s not your typical data center building in an industrial park. Houston 2 not only provides colocation space, but also thousands of square feet of office space, a technology briefing room, a kitchen and other amenities.
Today, we’re building our third data center in Austin, Texas 2. That facility will be complete by the end of this year.
We are serial entrepreneurs and have also founded the following companies:
Giganews is a leading Usenet provider with the largest number of users worldwide. Usenet is a worldwide distributed discussion network that predates the Internet.
Golden Frog is an Internet security solutions company that develops products to protect online privacy. Their most widely used product is VyprVpn, a Virtual Private Network that utilizes our global server presence to provide secure, uncensored Internet access around the world.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s never a smooth road for an entrepreneur. Our biggest challenge has been the threat giant telecom companies pose to small Internet companies and innovation in general.
That fight against big telephone and cable companies is still going on today, as you might have noticed if you follow the news on net neutrality. Many small ISPs haven’t survived due to their unwillingness to share broadband infrastructure, leaving people with local duopolies and limited choices. We are able to provide access to multiple fiber carriers in our data centers because we were willing to invest in the infrastructure.
However, the average person can’t do that. That’s why we continue the political fight for an open Internet. We believe having more choices will result in better Internet service and more innovation.
Please tell us about Data Foundry.
We provide colocation in premier carrier-neutral data centers, offering access to up to 17 different Internet providers. A lot of people don’t know what colocation means.
Colocation in the data center world is when companies share a data center to house their critical IT infrastructure (servers, networking gear, data storage). By sharing a data center, companies are able to take advantage of economies of scale by sharing the power and cooling equipment, hurricane and tornado-resistant building structure and the strict 24×7 security Data Foundry provides. Most companies can’t afford this level of protection and reliability on their own, and it wouldn’t be lucrative for them to do so. They also leave less of an energy footprint than they would if they had their own data center.
What sets Data Foundry apart from the competition is our people. Our core team has been with us since the beginning. We are craftsmen, meaning we strive for excellence in all we do. It’s not just about getting a job done. It’s about being the best. If our core team hadn’t stayed with us, it would have been much more difficult to enforce our standards for excellence. What also sets us apart from many data center companies is that we are privately owned. We don’t have to answer to a board like publicly traded companies. We can focus on quality and customer service and on building the best data centers without worrying about doing things as quickly and cheaply as possible just to show we had a positive quarter, and we plan on keeping it that way.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
We were lucky to meet each other in high school. We wouldn’t have accomplished all that we have without each other. We were both adventurous and willing to take risks.
You might say we got lucky with our investment in 1994, but the harder you work, the luckier you get!
- Address: Houston 2
660 Greens Parkway
Houston, TX 77067
- Website: https://www.datafoundry.com
- Phone: (713) 328-8000
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com