There’s a new cybersecurity and information technology company in town, backed by none other than Bob East, who sold his interest in East Harding Construction and Advanced Cabling Systems in 2019 and then invested in Delta Solar last summer.
Biologist Michael Sullivan and cybersecurity expert Chris Wright founded Sullivan Wright Technologies of Little Rock in 2018. Both owned similar firms before, and Wright had done cybersecurity work for the U.S. Air Force as well as global financial tech company FIS.
East told Arkansas Business he was impressed by the pair’s background and how their personalities meshed with his own. In addition, he described Sullivan as being good at customer service and knowledgeable in network management.
Like solar, cybersecurity is an up-and-coming industry East wanted to embrace. “I looked at several [cybersecurity firms] that would cost a million dollars or half a million dollars and, you know, I bought several businesses and sold several businesses and, I guess you’d say my preference is to buy a business that’s building … And really the key is the people,” he said.
He declined to disclose the details of his investment but said it did not involve “a lot of money.” The influx, however, gives the founders the cash flow they need to continue growing. Sullivan and Wright said East had been a great mentor, helping them with operations, urging them to do more and connecting them with people who can help them do more.
“They can’t ask me questions about network management or cybersecurity, but I can help them run the business,” East said. “And that’s what I’ve done for 40 years or so.”
Wright said that East “helped us really expand our horizons with our business. And we’ve been able to grow a lot more than if we didn’t have him as a partner.”
“They’ve probably grown 300% or 400% in a year, which is huge,” East said. “I won’t tell you the [sales] volume. It’s a small company, but they’re really learning how to build a business and what they need to do, and I’ve been really pleased with them, and we get along well together. They’re hardworking, knowledgeable people.”
Sullivan and Wright met each other and East through mutual acquaintances.
About starting the firm with Sullivan, Wright said, “It was kind of a peanut butter and chocolate kind of thing, where he worked a lot with health care clients and had some financial clients, which are really good clients for somebody who does security because those are the folks that have a compliance requirement, or they have a real drive to secure very sensitive client financial information.”
Half to 60% of the firm’s clients are in the health care industry, the founders said. It also has finance industry clients and a few who are defense contractors.
Sullivan Wright Technologies’ business model hinges on contracts. The most popular contract it sells has clients pay a monthly service fee for unlimited technical support and unlimited consulting plus security services that include security monitoring. Annual staff training is included, too.
Along with security and compliance assessments, Wright Sullivan Technologies offers clients standard IT support, such as upgrading, migration to a new system and new system installation. It also has a “very robust biomedical practice,” Wright said. That practice involves working with third-party providers of large biomedical devices to provide technical support for CT scanners, X-ray machines, ultrasound machines and more.
“We also work with just anything that’s weird and out of the ordinary that the clients might need help with. There are a lot of times where clients will just come to us with a problem,” Sullivan said. “And we work on the final solutions for it. We try to find unique and cost-effective solutions that kind of fit their needs and their cash flow.”
Before launching Sullivan Wright Technologies, what the two were doing was more like freelance work. Now, their work is “more of a viable business, where it’s not just us and it’s not just personality-driven, but it is process-driven, repeatable, and there are decision factors that aren’t just what we feel like on any given day,” Wright said.
The company has two full-time employees, in addition to the founders, who also work there full time.
Their plan is to become a bigger company but have controlled growth. “We don’t want to be in a position where we outgrow our ability to provide good service, so we’re really focusing on customer service and the clients we do have,” Sullivan said.