A couple of the oldest names in the internet business in Manitoba completed a transaction recently with 100 Percent Helpdesk Ltd. acquiring Modern Earth Inc.
Founded by Brent and Scott Toderash in 2012, 100 Percent boasts one of the only local web hosting operations with full Manitoba data residency using the Exchange Global Server Centre.
Modern Earth has been around since 1999, but since 2017 founder and CEO Dan Belhassen said it had stopped taking on new business. That’s when the company started focusing most of its resources on its online training business, Neovation.
Brent Toderash said the acquisition makes his company one of the largest independent web host operations in the province.
"Many of our clients do appreciate the face-to-face encounter and appreciate that their website data remains in Manitoba," he said.
The Toderash brothers have been in the business since the 1990s when they founded the internet service provider, Rainy Day Internet at first providing dial-up then broadband connections covering about 10,000 square kilometres in the province.
It merged with Netset Communications in 2009 and that was sold to Xplornet in 2017.
After the acquisition 100 Percent Holdings, which does business as 100 Percent Hosting, now hosts and manages close to 1,000 websites almost all of them for Manitoba-based customers.
Belhassen said he had been looking for a while for the right partner to take over its web hosting and design business.
"The Toderashes have deep knowledge and expertise,’ Belhassen said. "They have been in the industry since the early days of the internet. They have the technical chops to be able to take over the management of the complex applications we have built over time. Also they have a fantastic creative director to handle all the front-end web design and online marketing contracts Modern Earth has."
Including website hosting, 100 Percent provides search engine optimization and online marketing and advertising services for its clients.
Toderash said that with the end of the pandemic in sight, businesses are looking for ways to get their clients to come back.
"It is becoming more important for companies to lift their online presence," he said. "Still one of the most effective online marketing tactics there is, is content marketing. People need to talk to their audience, to tell them things that don’t necessarily end in a sale pitch. When they are ready to buy they will think of you."
All of Modern Earth’s staff will stay with Belhassen and Neovation, which now has a total staff size of about 70. 100 Percent has about a half dozen staff and Toderash said they will be bringing on more through the summer and into the fall.
The Modem Earth name will continue to be used.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.