Gorton Studios, the Eagan firm that has designed websites for dozens of Twin Cities businesses, sold its backup technology to Pantheon Inc., the companies said Monday.
The technology, and a related service for small and midsize businesses, was known as NodeSquirrel. It has been used on more than 300,000 websites that are built in either Drupal or WordPress, two of the most popular platforms for website construction.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
As part of the deal, Gorton founder Drew Gorton and engineer Ronan Dowling will step away from the Web design firm and start an office in the Twin Cities for Pantheon, which would be the first outside of San Francisco for the nation's largest manager of websites.
"I've known Drew and Ronan through the Drupal ecosystem for years," said Zack Rosen, chief executive of Pantheon. "It's no small feat that they have built and bootstrapped an impressive Web backup service."
Rosen said most websites don't back up their data.
"We think we can solve that," he said.
Dowling, in 2007, created two programs to help Gorton Studio's customers — which are chiefly small and midsize businesses in Minnesota — back up their websites or move databases between sites. A short time later, Gorton and Dowling branded the products as NodeSquirrel and ran it as a side business to Gorton Studios.
The NodeSquirrel technology is a block of software, or module, that is plugged into the program that powers a website. With the module, the sites can be easily backed up by the people who run them.
NodeSquirrel also offered a cloud-based data backup service for customers. That service will continue under Pantheon, which said it will lower pricing in an effort to attract more customers.
Gorton Studios designed websites for the Guthrie Theater, Northrop auditorium at the University of Minnesota, MinnPost, Bush Foundation, Hopkins school district, the University of Northern Iowa and the Christian Century.
"Gorton Studios will continue to exist. We're working on all details of transition," Gorton said. "It will be a successful, vibrant firm."