IPO’s come at the end of a lot of preparation. Carbonite was launched in 2005 after co-founder and CEO David Friend’s daughter lost her term paper documents in a computer crash. Those up close and personal experiences are often the mother of invention. Carbonite became an online backup company for PC’s and Mac’s.

Six years later, the company had grown to 163 employees in Boston Massachusetts and was looking at an IPO. It started a little shaky – initially hoping for $17 per share, it came out of the gate at only $10. Although the company raised only $62.5 million of the $122 million it original envisioned, they bravely ventured into the stock market while several other planned IPO’s held back. Renaissance Capital reported that 21 US companies let the opening bell ring without them present.

It’s been a rocky ride so far. Carbonite has recorded an historical low of $10.80, a high of $21.10 and a closing today of only $12.43. CARB on Nasdaq isn’t showing much stability. So why did Carbonite jump into its IPO? CNet reported Friend as saying: "I’m not so concerned about the stock price today. I’m more concerned about what the stock price will be a year or two years from now."

Having filed their intentions in May, the company proceeded in spite of current economic conditions and the stock market volatility. Friend explains: "We want to do a lot of strategic acquisitions over the next five years and it’s a lot easier if you have a public currency." This CEO is no stranger to the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial arena. He cofounded Sonexis, FaxNet, Computer Pictures and GEAC Computer Corp, and sold four of them over the last 30 years.

Friend also has a marketing strategy for Carbonite. It is said he spends $55 to gain a $59 customer. However, he shows that once a customer, most people remain a customer. So $59 a year forever, well for at least five years, means a $240 profit. Multiple that times how many customer and you get $38.6 million in revenue according to the company’s current stats.

Some of that revenue will go to pay Oussama El-Hilali who was recently hired as Senior Vice President of Engineering. El-Hilali comes from a similar position at a Carbonite competitor, Symantec, where he was Vice President for NetBackup Engineering, overseeing data protection and storage engineering.

Carbonite gives users friendly information during back up procedure
Carbonite gives users friendly information during back up procedure

Carbonite emphasizes that individuals and small businesses should be concerned about data protection. The company offers them peace of mind for only $59 a year, period. No space limitations, access 24/7. Small price for alleviating worry and frustration regarding the care and feeding of a computer.

Where do your saved files go? To what the company calls your Personal Carbonite Cloud. Actually, they go to data centers which Carbonite claims are state-of-the-art and secure. Your data is transmitted using secure socket layer (SSL) technology, and stored on highly reliable disk arrays. Back in early 2009 there was a brouhaha about Carbonite losing the data of 7,500 customers, which was downgraded to only 54 affected customers, and remedied. You can see Friend’s explanation here.

As for Carbonite today, users need to be aware that backing up your data means just that ? data, not software programs, temporary files or system files. Want to get to your backed data? Any internet connected computer will suffice, or even your iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry smartphone will facilitate access.

Most folks have good things to say about Carbonite. As one of Kim Komando’s advertisers, they have her stamp of approval. It made the first half of Inc’s 500 list this year. For the skeptics, unsure of what it can do or how it works, Carbonite offers a free trial.