A SMALL ORANGE GROWING BIGGER
By Laura Oleniacz of the Durham Herald Sun
Douglas Hanna expects to get his undergraduate degree from Duke University in December, and if he does go to any job fairs or recruiting events, he said it will be to try to make hires, not to get hired.The 21-year-old is the CEO of a Durham-based Web hosting company A Small Orange that's anticipated to bring in $8 million in revenue this year. Hanna said he hopes to see the company's revenues grow by three times in the next two years through marketing or acquisitions."We want to grow it; we want to make it one of the best Web hosting companies we can," Hanna said.A Small Orange is in the business of owning and leasing servers, and reselling portions of that server space to customers so that they can upload their websites, allowing those sites to be accessed over the Internet. The company has about 30,000 customers around the world, Hanna said.Their customers typically are website designers or developers who know how to build websites, Hanna said, but he said they're also looking at buying a site building tool that would allow a non-professional to create a website on his or her own as well."We think that's going to be pretty popular," Hanna said.Hanna is running the company after he and an investor acquired an existing Atlanta-based company in March of 2010.Hanna said the investor was his former boss Brent Oxley, who founded the Web hosting company HostGator in 2002 in his dorm room at Florida Atlantic University, according to the company's website, http://www.hostgator.com/press.HostGator now has more than 750 employees, and hosts more than 5 million websites, according to the website, and Oxley is the company’s chairman.Hanna moved A Small Orange's headquarters to Durham last year, and it's now operating on Orange Street downtown. A Small Orange employs about 35 people, Hanna said, but only about 10 of its employees are in the Durham area – the rest are spread around the globe, with the majority in the United States.Most of the company's employees work from home, he said. About two-thirds of the company's staff do technical support for customers, Hanna said, while the remaining one-third are in sales or marketing, and they also have supervisors or managers.Hanna said he's worked with computers from a young age, and started doing technical support for free when he was 13. He said he was working at HostGator when he graduated from high school.Hanna said he now has a 50 percent ownership stake in the company. Since the acquisition, he said A Small Orange hasn’t needed to raise additional capital.He said his life is a balancing act studying to get his undergraduate degree in sociology and political science, and running the company."It's not easy, and it's definitely very time-consuming, but it's something I've gotten used to; I wouldn't want it any other way right now," he said.