Cybertron International is seeing explosive growth in its personal computer building and servicing business.
Sales at the 16-year-old Wichita computer maker grew 22 percent in 2011 and 74 percent last year.
At the start of 2012, it had 33 employees. Today, it has 70. About half of those workers assemble, test and ship about 2,500 computers a month. Others are in sales, customer support or administration.
The growth spurt came from adding several large computer resellers – including Kmart and Sears, which sell them online – and a general rebound in the computer market, said company president Shadi Marcos.
Although it has a retail shop at its headquarters at 4747 S. Emporia, Cybertron sells most of its customizable models through its own website or through online resellers such as Amazon.com and TigerDirect.com.
They sell general use desktop computers, but they also search for niches where their products have an edge. They build specially configured computers for gaming, media centers and high-end work stations for graphic designers, multi-media production and financial analysis. Personal computers configured as servers are a big market for them, as well, said Marcos.
It also has robust sales to schools and governments, mostly in Midwest.
One of the company’s big selling points in competition with similar products is the low defect rate and strong customer support, said Bill Ramsey, chief technology officer.
In addition, the company resells products such as tablets that it does not assemble itself.
Last year it also took its first foray into what it expects will be a big growth area, computer services, when it acquired the Bill Guy. Ramsey, owner of the Bill Guy, came on with Cybertron to run the service side. The Bill Guy competed for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business award in the past.
“It allows us to touch customers on more levels,” Ramsey said of the Bill Guy part of the business.
Company founders Marcos, Ahmed Aziz and Emad Mekhai met at Wichita State University in the 1990s where they launched a discount Internet service provider. As they would visit clients with service problems, they would discover that often it was hardware related.
“Before you know it, you’ve got boxes of modems in your trunk,” Marcos said.
From there, they slid into the custom computer building business.
It’s clear that the demand for desktop computers has matured as the American public rapidly adopts tablets, Marcos said. While some of its niche business likely won’t affected by the transition in technologies, they are working on a mobile strategy, Marcos said.
“We build PCs, but we’re trying not to be attached to any one kind,” Marcos said.