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Colin Christopher Campbell

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Profile

A serial internet entrepreneur, Colin Campbell and partners have built several internet companies including: Internet Direct Canada Inc (TMX: IDX), Tucows Ltd. (TC), and Hostopia.com (TMX: H) which sold to Deluxe Corporation in 2008.

Colin's companies have won several awards including Profit magazine's 7th fastest growing company in Canada (1997), 2nd fastest growing company in Canada (1998), #1 fastest growing company (2005) and Inc magazine's top 500 fastest growing companies (2005).

He has also been an active member of the internet community in the past serving as director for the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP), and the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), and has been a guest speaker at a number of Universities speaking on Entrepreneurship.

Most recently Colin and partners continue to launch new companies including GeeksForLess.com , .Club Domains, LLC, Brisk Mobile, and SharkFinNetworks.

In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors he co-owner in Little Flower Montessori in Fort Lauderdale and recently launched EntrepreneurWiki.

Colin, a Canadian citizen, is a graduate from the University of Toronto a major in commerce. He is married with two kids and resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Companies and Investments

Companies Founded

Internet Direct Canada Inc. (TMX: IDX)(co-founder) Tucows Inc. (TC) (co-founder) Hostopia.com Inc. (TMX: H) (co-founder) GeeksForLess.com Inc. (co-founder) Sharkfin Networks (c0-founder) Brisk Mobile Inc. (c0-founder) .Club Domains, LLC (founder) Entrepreneur.wiki (co-founder)

Notable Investments

Anomolous Networks (sold to Tangoe)

DBA Cases

Moimstone


Lessons Learned

Learning the art of the Exit (Published in Octane 2009):

Sometimes it takes a major loss to really learn a lesson. In my case, that loss was my business; which had taken me seven years to build. Over the course of a year, I lost more than US$100 million! How did this happen?

At 23, I launched an Internet service provider with my brother— this was before “the Web” even existed. Five years later, with two businesses in tow, we were the kings of the Internet in Canada. When we sold both of our companies, we had more money than we could ever imagine. Expensive wine, cigars, houses— we lived the good life!

Everything changed in a heartbeat. Some judge decided Microsoft didn’t have the right to rule the world, and the NASDAQ collapsed to below 4,000. The company that bought ours had to pull its offering and wait for the market to rebound. The stock, of which I had a little too much, went from being worth US$20 a share to just six cents a share, thanks in part to the dot-com bubble bursting. I couldn’t believe it! I had worked so hard, only to have it all fall apart. I lost everything. And it didn’t just affect me— most of my management team had become millionaires over night before losing it all. Though I was miserable, I had to find a way to let go. I began to put all my energy back into what I truly enjoyed: The Internet. I created a new company, Hostopia.com, and found success once more.

What did I learn from my meteoric loss? That when faced with a monumental crisis, all you can really do is accept it and put yourself back in the game. I can’t change the past, but I can certainly apply what I learned from it. As a corollary, in August 2008, one month before the financial crisis hit, we sold Hostopia.com for US$120 million. And yes, this time the shareholders got all cash.


Funding my very First Venture Excerpt from the book Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat (to be released in 2015):

Rule #4: In the beginning there is really only one major source of funding you should pursue: raising money from yourself and partners.

Warning: playing with the money of those closest to you is dangerous. Especially if you have not proven your concept.

When I started my first company, I had little to no money but I was young and had a lot of drive. Fortunately, I was able to borrow $12,000 from my mother at a 10% interest. I couldn’t fathom losing her money and not repaying it so I created a back up plan to get a job should things not work out.

Yes I rolled the dice.

There are other methods to raise early funds today like government back loans, and crowdfunding. Most of these options were not available to me in the early nineties.

At this stage I don’t recommend bringing in outside equity investors, especially those closest to you unless you have a way to pay them back if everything fails. 95% of all ventures fail and you are not doing them a favor taking them on a roller coaster ride. In addition, the more you can fund at the earliest stage, the more you will keep when things start to take off. My first business was funded by several sources including: credit cards, student loans, and a hard summer spent farming, and my mothers loan. Ultimately my business had to be shut down but I was able to keep it open long enough to start a new business. As a corollary, the government, the credit card company and my mother all were repaid with interest. And my mother got another pay day after we had proved the next concept. She invested $100,000 a couple years later earning her an almost 20 fold return. There is a time to bring friends and family in a big way once the model has been proven.

Rule #5: When success is almost certain than consider friends, family and other investors. Until then find a way to prove the model with your own resources.


Inspiring Quotes

Colin Christopher Campbell's Quotes

Only the obsessed change the world

Colin Christopher Campbell

Liquidity or Control!

Colin Christopher Campbell

Influential Books

Patrick Thean - Execution Without The Drama

Jim Collins - Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

Thomas L. Friedman - The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

Geoffrey A. Moore - Inside the Tornado: Strategies for Developing, Leveraging, and Surviving Hypergrowth Markets (Collins Business Essentials)

Mentors

Jeff Sass, Micheal Cytrynbaum, Lance Tracey, Steve Jobs, Ronald Regan

References


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