I guess you could say that the seeds of ByWater Solutions started all the way back in 1982, when Nathan Curulla and Brendan Gallagher first met at the age of 3. Growing up on the same street in the remote town of Woodbury, Connecticut, the two friends had ample time and space for their imaginations and mischief to flourish. Most of their time was spent in the acres of woods behind their homes, and when it came time for them to name their favorite places in those woods, all of the names came from the books that they were both brought up with: JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The dark pine grove of the woods came to be known as Gollum Forest and the reservoir used by the town was named ByWater Pool.
After completing high school, the two separated and went to college before returning back to Connecticut where Brendan went to work in the library world as an IT Specialist and Nathan began a career of retail and small business management. In early 2004 the two started their first business, BnN Enterprises, while maintaining their day jobs. This company dealt with the purchase and re-selling of homes after they had been fixed up and would eventually provide the seed money to start ByWater Solutions.
Starting a Company
In September of 2008, Brendan moved out to Santa Barbara California to live with his soon to be wife. Having spent four years in the library world he learned about and had become part of the Koha community. Once in California, Brendan decided to form a Koha support and implementation company and offered his lifelong friend a partnership in the enterprise. Nate started with the company part time, juggling both careers by hosting many of the sales calls, telephone meetings and new staff interview calls in the supply closet of his day job, until coming on full time 3 months later.
Once the partnership was formed they were faced with the task of naming the company. Naturally, the name needed to be literary, but what reference to use… Going back to their childhood naming methods, they turned to The Lord of the Rings and ByWater Solutions was formed. Bywater is a village which is situated in close proximity to the Shire, the home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, who are the two main characters in the story. Bywater was known primarily for the Inn of the Green Dragon, a central meeting place for travelers and adventurers in the story. The Inn was a hub for the collaboration and exchange of news and ideas in the world of Middle Earth, and thus resembles the environment found in Koha and Open Source Software in general. Also, the situation of the East and West coast offices are both “By” the “Water” giving further meaning to the name.
In June of 2009 our first client, Goodwin College, was signed, and since then ByWater Solutions has grown to a staff of over 20, and a partner base of over 1,000 libraries, making them one of the largest Koha service providers in the world!