ENTREPRENEUR // Tony Sheets
LOCATION // Overland Park
FOUNDED // 2008
EMPLOYEES // 4
On the day Tony Sheets quit his job as IT director at a large, local firm, his wife was pregnant with the couple’s third child, they were remodeling their house and the country was mired in recession.
No matter. Sheets was confident about his startup, Umzuzu, which helps customers transition to cloud services.
“It was a scary time,” he said, “but it was time to do it. People still needed email even though there was a recession.”
In 2006, Google announced it would support employers’ email in its datacenters, aka the cloud. Sheets said the offering changed email systems from a capital expense to an operating expense, making the business necessity cheaper and easier to deal with. Umzuzu provides licensing and support for organizations making the change.
Ten years after Umzuzu launched, Google remains its largest partner, but Sheets’ company also helps clients using platforms like Microsoft Office 365, RingCentral, Clio (management software for law offices) and Copper (customer relations management).
Sheets likened Umzuzu to a manufacturer’s representative, offering 24-hour support for the platforms it works with. He said Umzuzu has an “easy, Midwestern way of ‘talking Google,'” he said.
Business is good. Sheets said the company has steady growth of 20 percent per year.