Not all software entrepreneurs retire; many go on to new ventures. Now, Lori and one of her former partners are trying again. In May 1996, they launched Imaging Institute, a document-imaging company whose chief product is an on-demand digital archiving system that works much like a copy machine but dispenses CD-ROMs instead of paper. When it comes time to sell her new company, Lori says, she'll remember what she learned the first time around.
When she and her four partners sold DCR Technologies to Network Imaging Corporation in 1994, they had hopes of realizing the wealth that had been their impetus for forming the company in the first place. While the founders received some cash they also received stock. But as luck would have it, Network Imaging's financial troubles drove its stock down significantly.
"We stayed for two years and did everything we could to help the company," Lori says. But it wasn't enough. In a rash of acquisitions, Network Imaging had picked up 18 companies in as many months. Of those, Frank's former company is the only one that hasn't gone under. Lori is remarkably philosophical about the experience. "It wasn't always a good thing, but I look at what I learned from it. I did things I'd never done before, and got some valuable lessons," she says.
One of the things that really gave me a lot of confidence, as Corum took us through the process, was that ultimately, a deal is about the people. It’s about chemistry, the fit, the synergy between the people involved.