Beetoobi IT Solutions is one of the premier firms for health care IT services in Southside Virginia, RTP and the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina.
Beetoobi founder Jason Kirkhart’s journey from aspiring spy to IT expert has been an intriguing one. Jason grew up in suburban Washington, DC, in the waning days of the Cold War. The whole of Northern Virginia was teeming with government bureaucrats, spies and spooks looking to keep the Soviets in check and to prevent a nuclear World War III. As a child, Jason wanted to be a part of that intrigue.
“I thought I was going to go be a spy,” Jason says. “But then the Soviet Union fell apart, and I realized that being a spy wasn’t going to pan out, and I was kind of planless.” But if battling the Soviets was no longer on the agenda, other forces were gathering around him that would help shape his future career.
As the Soviet Union was unraveling, another pillar of Jason’s life would also begin a slow-motion implosion: newspapers. But not before his father got to the top.
In 1982, USA Today was launched, a national newspaper with colorful graphics that transformed the industry. Jason’s father, Ken, worked his way up through USA Today, eventually becoming a company VP. Few paid attention to a fledgling creation that would soon cause the newspaper industry’s undoing: the Internet.
Jason attended the College of William and Mary in Virginia, focusing on friends, frats and volleyball, but while socially busy, he also found the time to finish two degrees.
As Ken Kirkhart was overseeing USA Today’s printing, his son, Jason, met many of the employees and administrators who made the nation’s paper hum and started his professional career working at the USAToday.com website.
These were the gold rush and Wild West days combined in the early days of the Internet. At that point, the dot-com bubble was rising fast. Big players like YouTube, Facebook and eBay had yet to emerge.
AOL and Yahoo dominated the market. But opportunities were proliferating.
One of them was Zuniversity.com, a website that provided content and community customized to the wealthiest demographic, which, at the time, was college grads.
What began as a 60-person start-up ballooned into a 200-person corps of stringers and staffers.
Then the first shudders of the tech bubble’s bursting began to reverberate. The axe began to fall on some departments, and Jason watched as employees headed for the exits. But Jason and his smaller core team continued to plow ahead. Until one day, it all came crashing down.
“The CEO and his son, the CFO, cashed out, and we were all left jobless,” Jason remembers. The young tech talent scattered. Some landed at marquee names. Others, like Jason, took a while to find their footing.
Jason took a temporary gig as a bouncer at a bar. He had impressed people at zUniversity and USA Today with his IT prowess, and through his contacts, he was invited to join a start-up called CreateHope, a company focused on delivering the premier online workplace-philanthropy platform for Fortune 500 companies. While at CreateHope, he formed an LLC on the side to explore his own tech opportunities. “I thought at CreateHope we were good at using technology to speed up business processes, and I wanted to see if I could eventually do that on my own,” Jason says.
After eight years of working there, another company bought it, and Jason was let go. But not before he had a chance to rise through the ranks. Jason Kirkhart began as the lone IT person, but eventually ran a 12-person team of developers, DBAs, sysadmins and help-desk techs. In this job, Jason learned what worked and what didn’t from an IT perspective. The lessons learned at CreateHope created a road map for his future.
Jason found himself jobless – again. This time, he had a wife and two young children to care for. He was no longer a college student able to bounce at bars and survive on ramen. He started eyeing entrepreneurship with more urgency as the expenses of a young family began to mount.
Meanwhile, his wife’s nurse practitioner skills were always in demand, and an opportunity opened up for her in her hometown of South Boston, Virginia.
The land was cheaper in Southside Virginia, and it was a chance for his family to spread out. Jason would take his LLC and his IT skills with him to the new locale. He christened his business Beetoobi IT Solutions, a play on the abbreviation B2B.
Jason quickly discovered his skills were in demand in this region, and Beetoobi began to find its footing.
Still, starting an IT firm in the wake of the Great Recession wasn’t the best timing, and building the business from scratch came with bumps and bruises.
“The first four years were tough. We were hemorrhaging cash, my credit cards were maxed out and I wasn’t paying myself consistently,” Jason remembers not so fondly. His wife carried the family’s finances during that time.
“We got through by buckling down and started micromanaging all of our spending,” Jason says.
Fast-forward to today, and Beetoobi has planted firm roots in Southside Virginia with eyes focused on the future.
“I feel like I am an optimist; I believe there is greatness ahead… I have finally assembled a group of super-hardworking, capable people, and this is the best position we have been in,” Jason says, describing almost 100% growth over the past year.
Customers praise Beetoobi for their clear, crisp explanations and reasonable prices. While their client base includes an eclectic mix of businesses – from local government offices to an exotic car manufacturer – their niche is medical.
A series of serendipitous contacts and contracts led Jason and his team into the health care IT niche, a niche that Grand View Research predicts will grow globally from $74.2 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate of 10.7% through 2028. Beetoobi has embraced that niche, and is well-positioned to help today’s health care organizations adapt to rapidly changing challenges and opportunities they are facing, from pandemics and telehealth to cutting-edge medical technologies and even growing threats from hackers, criminal enterprises and nation-states.
Beetoobi continues to grow, offering a full suite of IT options, including managed services, data backup and recovery, co-managed IT, VoIP and more. And a recent merger with a local tech firm has allowed Beetoobi to increase their depth and help serve the community’s IT needs. While Beetoobi’s IT knowledge can be valuable to any enterprise, from schools to factories, their expertise is in med-related IT. “We have been focusing our marketing exclusively on medical customers,” Jason says, whether that’s an ear doctor, a dermatology practice or a medical research campus. Health care, perhaps more than any other niche, is governed by a cumbersome patchwork of privacy and data regulations. Not knowing the regulations can be costly. Jason and his team navigate those burdensome requirements so doctors can focus on their patients.
“We take HIPAA compliance seriously; if we didn’t want to fail them, we had to become even better,” Jason says. And better is what Beetoobi keeps becoming.
Just like the patients that their clients treat.