GSBDC Provides Financing for Expansion of Critical Link

Posted 04.12.10

Loan: Quasi-Equity Fund

Critical Link, LLC was established in 1997 by a team of engineers who specialized in embedded technology for the defense industry.  The four owners:  John Fayos, president, and vice presidents David Rice, Tom Catalino and Omar Rahim, each have over 20 years of experience in their fields and a long history of working together.  Their clients come from the fields of scientific and biomedical instrumentation, broadcast audio equipment, communications for mass transit, embedded software development and industrial automation.

As the company grew and continued to diversify its customer base, they began to develop a strategy to eventually transform the business model from a service based to a product based company.  As they collaborated with their clients they began to notice similarities in the solutions they provided.

This led to the development of their first product, the MityDSP, a customizable CPU engine which provides real-time data processing and analysis.  MityDSP was further engineered to provide an “off the shelf solution” for many technical product applications.  This success encouraged them to identify other potentially lucrative products.

In 2004, a niche was identified in the scientific camera market, which has applications in spectroscopy, pharmaceutical development, etc.  A scientific camera is typically used to determine the chemical makeup of the substance being tested.  Through further investment the company overcame numerous technical barriers, and after a detailed market analysis, was ready to enter the scientific camera market with their own product.

They currently have several different camera models which can be further customized to meet specifications, providing additional service opportunities for the company.  The lower cost solutions presented by their product will allow this technology to be used where it was previously not cost effective.  Critical Link sees this as an enormous opportunity for growth.

To assist with the additional costs of engineering refinements, production, inventory and marketing, the Greater Syracuse Business Development Corporation (GSBDC) in partnership with the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA) and Central New York Enterprise Development Fund (CNYEDF) provided $300,000 in working capital from their Quasi-Equity Loan Fund.  According to John Fayos, “Obtaining the funding from GSBDC and their equity fund partners is critical in helping us move our camera effort to a full production footing.  That in turn will enable us to aggressively pursue the expanding scientific camera market, which we expect will fuel significant future growth for CL Concepts.” CL Concepts, LLC is the owner of their intellectual property.

The subordinate financing was in addition to the traditional financing support provided by Beacon Federal.  Jodi DeAugustine, senior commercial loan officer at Beacon Federal, said “We are proud to partner with Critical Link and the GSBDC to fund this opportunity for growth in Central New York.  Our combined efforts to assist this company came together seamlessly with the goal of growth and successful implementation of their business plan.”

Critical Link, LLC, located at 6712 Brooklawn Parkway just off Carrier Circle, has 30 employees, primarily senior electrical, software and computer engineers.  Within five years, they hope to employ 50, with new positions being created for technicians and less experienced engineers.