Fast-growing computer memory company turns e-waste into e-space.

Fast-growing computer memory company turns e-waste into e-space.

King Memory USA is based in an unassuming warehouse, but don't be fooled. Inside that warehouse is one of Columbus' fastest growing companies.

King Memory USA has evolved from entrepreneurial brainstorming in a campus-area home, to a company that had $4.7 million in revenue in 2014 from selling computer random access memory.

Its 2015 revenue projection is more than double that. The company boasts of 905 percent revenue growth over the past three years.

"I think we can be the first billion-dollar startup amongst the ones being talked about in Columbus right now," says Darryl Tanner, King's cofounder.

It's been quite a journey for King Memory, which began as an idea Tanner and his then-roommate, Chad Crnkovich had in 2009. Tanner had a degree in computer science and was working at an e-commerce company; Crnkovich was working on a degree in business finance at Ohio State. "We've always been entrepreneurially inclined," Crnkovich says.

"In the early days there was a lot of research, a lot of testing the markets, a lot of dabbling with a few things. We formalized our partnership in 2012, and that's when things really started blowing up and just taking off," Tanner says.

The company pivoted and became extremely focused on RAM sticks. Not just new ones, but also used memory sticks and open-box returns that other vendors don't want.

"Fifteen percent of people order incorrectly because of compatibility issues. And it's perfectly fine memory. So these major manufacturers, they just liquidate their open box returns, and they don't even deal with it," Tanner says.

Inside their headquarters just east of Port Columbus, rows of shelves are lined with memory sticks. Stations of computers for testing the RAM sticks are strewn throughout. High-definition cameras record everything, so the company knows the whats and wheres of every memory stick, down to the serial numbers of the parts.

The company has developed its own in-house systems for everything from shipping to inventory control. It has compiled such an extensive database of RAM compatibility that "there are ones that even manufacturers aren't aware of," Crnkovich says.

King Memory just leased more space in their warehouse headquarters, nearly doubling their area to 18,000 square feet. They are hiring developers and programmers to fill that space. Those hires will expand existing business to new global channels and support new product and service lines as the company grows.

Columbus has proven to be fertile ground for the tech startup, and it has some great advantages over competitors based in Silicon Valley.

"I want to highlight a key difference: We have more competitors inside California than outside California. They're paying triple for office space, triple for labor, they're paying triple for everything," Tanner says. "And we're competing in the exact same markets globally."

For client Mission Essential Personnel, which upgraded its servers this year, what stood out about King Memory was its customer service, says Facilities Specialist Dwaine Thames.

A technician at the company's Columbus offices ordered the wrong type of RAM for the servers on Amazon, which is where King sells most of its memory. They didn't even realize they were ordering from King, Thames says.

"They volunteered to come out and take a look at what we needed, and they personally delivered it to us. It's the customer service. They were very responsive," Thames says.

Selling RAM is what pays the bills now. But Tanner and Crnkovich have much loftier plans.

In the mid-term future, they hope to go public with an IPO. They're expanding employee ownership via stock option programs.

But Tanner and Crnkovich's long-term plan is quite a bit more ambitious. "(Our) long-term goal is having a presence in every major city in the world to where we are shipping technology or collecting e-waste or servicing technology, as in computer repair, cell phone repair," Tanner says.

The end goal, says Tanner, is building King Memory's global distribution network and a global system infrastructure that also "acts as a collection network for leftover technology."

Kevin Kidder is a freelance writer.