Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Two veterans of the San Antonio tech scene, Michael Girdley and Paul Salisbury, have formed a new holding company for software firms, Dura Holdings, and announced its first acquisition.
The company, with Girdley as chairman and Salisbury as CEO, acquires business-to-business software firms with the intention of holding and building them rather than selling them.
After becoming operational in November, Dura Holdings made its first acquisition – a firm based in Salt Lake City making administrative software – on June 1. Founded in 2012, Moki Mobility Inc. is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that is designed to make mobile devices easier to manage, secure, and maintain for businesses.
For example, a retail company that uses point-0f-sale systems – the virtual cash registers that many retailers now use tablet devices to administer – could use Moki to update its software without needing to have on-site personnel to administer the updates.
"San Antonio is well-suited for what we're trying to accomplish," Salisbury said. "The intent will be in all cases to see how much of the organization we can bring to San Antonio."
The bulk of Moki's staff will eventually be in San Antonio at Dura Holdings' office at the Vogue Building, 600 Navarro St., Salisbury said. The office, which currently houses the three members of the Dura team, is in the downtown Tech corridor – home to such high-tech heavy hitters as co-working space Geekdom, venture equity firm Scaleworks, and coding academy Codeup, which Girdley helped found.
Of the six employees in Moki's Salt Lake City office, four will remain with the company, Dura Holdings officials said. Three of those four are moving to San Antonio. The company said it will hire two more employees – one in a sales and one in a customer success role. Moki will bring in technical reinforcements with its next round of hires.
Salisbury, who was a senior vice president of customer success at Rackspace before being tapped to lead Dura Holdings, said the company analyzed nearly 1,000 companies before making an offer to buy Moki.
He said the attributes they look for before buying a company include: high-growth profit margins, which is common among SaaS firms that are at the top of their class; an annual recurring revenue between $1.5 million and $5 million; and software that is invaluable in its market.
In addition to owning the companies, Dura also operates them. Salisbury is not only the CEO of Dura Holdings but Moki's top executive.
The company expects to acquire anywhere from two to three companies a year to maintain a healthy growth rate, Salisbury said.
Dura Holdings is the latest San Antonio tech venture for Girdley, who helped found the Geekdom Fund and business accelerator RealCo.
Dura Holdings aims to contribute to the growth of San Antonio's burgeoning tech sector.
"We are incredibly excited about being down here and being part of the tech community," Salisbury said. "We are very excited about Moki Mobility being our first acquisition, and we've got strong expectations not only for Moki but for Dura Holdings in general."