Many Kiwis struggle to appreciate the size of the global internet market, and how to tap into it says John-Daniel Trask.
As an aside, the messages/language on Mindscape’s web pages are a model of simplicity and appealing description. Check out the company’s ‘About’ page to get a flavour of how others should do it.
Business, and more particularly digitally-oriented business has been in John-Daniel’s blood since high school in Palmerston North, including selling a program on a disk that masked other schoolboy’s internet search history on their family’s computer!
Torn between doing a business degree or computer science degree at Massey University, J-D opted for a relatively open-ended computer course – and shoved in as business papers as he could.
He (easily) got a job at IT solutions company Intergen, and from day one was quizzing its bosses about revenues, sales, margins and the nuts and bolts of how it operated.
Not surprisingly he quickly rose through the company; and while he was doing it bought as many shares off other employees as he could.
Soon he was one of the largest non-founding shareholders, and the option of buying the fourth largest shareholder’s portion came up. This would’ve made him the largest non-founding shareholder of Intergen by a long margin. The deal fell through however.
J-D then quietly, and completing the deals all at once, sold his shares back to other employees within Intergen, pocketing a tidy return at the same time.
In 2007, along with Jeremy Boyd, Mindscape was brought into life, creating software development tools as its products, concentrating on Microsoft’s .NET environment.
Mindscape’s main product these days is ‘Raygun’, error reporting software which was launched in 2013.
This software has had exceptional growth – so much so that Mindscape received a number of inquiries whether it was up for purchase.
Instead, and boasting real growth and revenue, Mindscape recently went to the market and raised capital.
J-D and Jeremy Boyd still own 87% of the company – but given that Mindscape’s doubled revenues since April, investors are probably pretty happy.
He says that lessons learned along the way is not to become too scattergunned in its projects or offers.
“Put your energy into one thing,” he says.
He sees a new wave of potential in virtual reality, arguing that the present fixation on the visual component ignores the touch, sound and audio.
In the meantime Mindscape’s focused on its revenues, as this keeps its future options wide open.
“We could carry out an IPO, we could be attractive as an acquistion, or we could continue to make a lot of money,” he says.
This Entrepreneur Club talk was a great example of a well-executed business, firing on all cylinders.
Without doubt, the winner of the Hi-Tech Young Achiever Award in 2009 will do something else clever again – probably sooner rather than later.
Watch this space.