Long ago, in an economic landscape far, far away, Joe Colopy was enjoying scoops of ice cream at Red Hat, an up and coming software company. Some years later, Joe scooped out his own special serving and founded Bronto, a software company and NC success story that was acquired by NetSuite in 2015 for $200mm and later acquired by Oracle. Joe now leads Colopy Ventures, a seed stage Raleigh-Durham software startup investor.
Every journey does not end with the destination, rather it begins. After teaching himself code and without taking any outside capital, Joe launched a new company and had an idea of where he wanted to go. While Joe wasn’t looking forward to a paycheck anytime soon, he was looking at the road ahead. Colopy met Chaz Felix, and after a few beers and $10,000 later, Joe found his co-pilot for Bronto. The two took back roads, perhaps not knowing exactly where they were headed but what they wanted. Bronto gravitated from emailing software to a cloud-based platform that helped retailers expand their reach. As their salaries expanded, the two never strayed to the highway, a faster road that most were taking by accepting outside capital. Colopy and Felix made the important relationships with their customers the focal point and at just the right time, put the car in park.
Beginning at $10,000 and ending thirteen years later at $200mm, Colopy stayed focused on the road and reached his destination. Joe’s story expresses that sometimes taking the beautiful, back roads is crucial in appreciating your journey and loving your destination.