By Jim Stafford
STILLWATER – Don’t look for a sign in downtown Stillwater advertising the presence of HostBridge Technology, which has maintained its headquarters just off Main Street for two decades.
There isn’t one.
Founded by Russell Teubner in 2000, HostBridge Technology occupies a historic building along E. 7th Street, just off Main Street. The company employs about a dozen people in Stillwater, along with contract workers worldwide.
“Stillwater is where we live and work,” Teubner told me and a colleague from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) when we visited the HostBridge HQ in early January. “Our customers are national and international, so we have none that are located here in Stillwater. I don’t need to have a magnificent sign sitting on the front of the building.”
HostBridge Technology was created around patented intellectual property developed by Teubner that solves the communications challenges between newer mobile devices and large IBM mainframe computers.
Today, HostBridge markets a suite of patented software products that facilitate interactions between different computer systems for customers across a diverse range of industries, from manufacturing to financial services to health care.
“All of our software products fit into the same theme, helping organizations integrate something existing and something emerging, but all focus on different problems that large enterprises have,” he said. “The world’s largest credit union would not be able to process transactions without our software, and one of the largest medical insurance administrators in the country wouldn’t be able to process claims without our software.”
A Tulsa native, Teubner majored in business at Oklahoma State University, graduating in 1978, and remained in Stillwater as he built his businesses. He has maintained close ties with the university throughout the years, and is a member of the OSU Alumni Association and Spears School of Business Halls of Fame.
Teubner was working fulltime for OSU when he graduated, then created his first software development business called Teubner & Associates. That company flourished and was eventually sold to an international software company called Esker.
HostBridge Technology still maintains a close working relationship with IBM, which began when Teubner was an OSU student and the university needed a way to integrate an IBM mainframe with another computer system on campus.
“It was in that soil that I sort of cut my teeth figuring out how to write software that would resolve incompatibilities between large mainframes and other systems of different types of computers,” he said. “The way we solved that problem ultimately became a product and that product became my first company.”
Teubner attributes the OCAST Technology Business Finance Program managed by Oklahoma Innovation Model partner i2E, Inc., for funding that helped HostBridge scale its early sales and marketing efforts. He recently joined the Oklahoma Science and Technology Research and Development (OSTRaD) Board, which is the governing board that provides oversight for OCAST.
“OCAST really was a participant in HostBridge Technology’s original first steps to go from proof of concept to commercialization,” he said. “It has really focused on getting all of these various Oklahoma initiatives and organizations to work together. I think the Oklahoma Innovation Model is both simple and brilliant.”
As Teubner escorted us through a virtual art gallery that dominates the first floor of HostBridge’s headquarters, he confessed that he’s rethinking his strategy of not branding his building with a sign. Turns out that potential customers often use online map and streetscape technology to locate the business as they research his company.
“One of them recently called and said ‘you don’t have a sign; why is that?’ Teubner said. “So, we’re going to fix that.”
Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).