When software entrepreneur, Ray King sold Semaphore, Inc. in August 2000, his original plan was to enjoy a year long break from his responsibilities as CEO of the Manhattan-based firm he had founded 16 years earlier. That plan for a year's hiatus soon was amended to read six months...and then three months. Ray's actual time off turned out to be one weekend before he was packing his life into a truck and heading from Manhattan to Portland, Oregon and his next business venture. Probably not surprising for a "lifelong entrepreneur." Ray launched his first business enterprise, a computer training company called "The Workshop", in the 1980's while he was still in high school. It drew national attention and was featured on "Eyewitness News cover of New York Times."
Ray attended MIT as a Computer Science major, where he began writing software for his father's architecture firm. His father gave copies of the software to colleagues and small firms in the industry, who were happy to have the software, but each wanted unique program functionality to reflect individual needs or preferences. Responding to the opportunity to fulfill their requests and also capitalize on the growth potential of this fledgling but burgeoning market, Ray made the transition from attending university classes to running the business that eventually became Semaphore.
Over the next 16 years, Ray guided the start-up into a leading developer of financial and project management software for the Architecture/ Engineering/Design industry, with 110 employees in four cities and over 2,000 clients worldwide. Evaluators with "ARCHITECTURE Magazine" voted Semaphore the number one financial management product in the architecture/engineering industry, and in 1997 the company was recognized as one of the nation's 500 fastest growing technology companies.
After 16 years at the helm of Semaphore, Ray was ready to move on to new challenges, and eager to begin applying emerging technologies to solutions that would benefit a worldwide audience. He turned to Corum to facilitate the sale of Semaphore: "I knew I needed some experts who could really add value to the process; I selected Corum based on their knowledge of my industry and track record with similar firms. I wasn't disappointed." Ray began the process with Corum in January 2000, and was celebrating the sale of Semaphore to Deltek Systems, Inc. in August.
These days Ray is enjoying his newest role as co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of SnapNames.com, the provider of an exclusive online service to acquire, monitor and protect domain names. The concept for the company came from Ray's difficulty in acquiring the specific domain name he wanted for personal use. As he conveyed his experience and frustration to a longtime friend (another "serial entrepreneur"), the idea for SnapNames was spawned. The pair discovered that while there were many companies that process domain name registrations, there was no comprehensive back ordering and monitoring system for those names. With its site launch in January 2001, SnapNames is now providing such a system. The company¹s service already has been instrumental in securing thousands of newly expired domain names for its customers, Ray notes with satisfaction.
Obviously, selling your business is one of the most important events in your life, and the worry of doing the right or wrong thing at the right or wrong time is very tough on your own. The Corum advisers were on call to keep us on track, on message, and advising us when to say yes and when to say no so that we could get the best win/win deal possible.
Summit Software, Inc.