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From $3 a Day to Successful Entrepreneur: Tomas Gorny, CEO of Nextiva (Part 4)

Posted on Wednesday, Jul 2nd 2014

Tomas Gorny: We never went bankrupt. We paid off all the creditors. We filed what is called ABC – assignment for the benefit of creditors. After we filed that, we dissolved the company. In 2001, I was left with no money and was in pretty much the same situation when I came to America.

Sramana Mitra: But you still had the house and the car?

Tomas Gorny: Yes, the car was just getting me from A to B really. There wasn’t much value in that anymore. I had to pay mortgage for the house. After I made my first lot of money, I realized how much more I could earn. I started measuring myself mentally on financial results. That became the core to my decision making. I believe that it’s created a big part on my decisions at different points in time. After September 11, I sat down and re-evaluated my situation. I had a mortgage that I didn’t know how to pay for. I have a brother in the US to support in school. I had maybe $6,000 in stocks left. I was waking up every morning at 6:30 upset and hoping that the stocks will go up a little bit more. Miracles don’t happen that often especially in those kinds of situations. I sold off all the stocks and got $6,000 for them.

When I sold the web hosting business, I had anticipated that the workforce in the industry is going to advance significantly. But what really happened during that time is that all the good companies were unfortunately acquired by worthless companies. Those companies ended up destroying the companies. I said to myself in October in 2001, “I’m going to go back to hosting. I’m going to work with good people. I’m not going to have an exit strategy. That doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to sell, buy a business, or go public. It just means that I’m going back to my core values, which is building the business for the customer – not for my personal gain – and then good things will happen.”

The good thing is that I still had an American Express card. I took my credit card and processed $6,000 and started the company which became the second largest web hosting company in the country after GoDaddy within six years. Then I merged that with a company called Endurance. It was half the size of ours. We pulled these companies together and led the company into growth and ended up doing much more acquisitions. We sold that company in 2011 for a billion dollars in multiple transactions to Goldman-Sachs. This company went public in 2013 and the market value of the business is around $2.5 billion.

This segment is part 4 in the series : From $3 a Day to Successful Entrepreneur: Tomas Gorny, CEO of Nextiva
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