Once $1.4B Sale Closes, ‘Startup Guy’ Going Back to Building
The Chief Executive Officer of Indianapolis-based Interactive Intelligence (Nasdaq: ININ) says the proposed $1.4 billion sale of the global technology company he helped found 22 years ago will allow him to return to his roots as an entrepreneur. "Naturally, I’ll miss a number of the relationships that I’ve forged over the years here at Interactive, but I’m a startup guy at heart," Don Brown said in an interview with Inside INdiana Business. He says, despite growing the business into a global force with some 2,000 employees, he feels more comfortable in a startup environment. Brown expects California-based Genesys, which faces around two or three months of regulatory hurdles, to invest in Interactive Intelligence and even grow its presence Indy and in its other markets like Raleigh over time.
Indianapolis, which has about a 1,000 Interactive Intelligence workers, would be the largest Genesys-owned site.
He says the pieces fell into place for a deal. "We’ve had conversations in the past. The timing wasn’t right for a variety of reasons." Brown says the company has come far enough along with its cloud-based products and can justify the move to its shareholders. He calls the two companies’ portfolios complimentary, but says Genesys deals primarily in the "extreme high-end" of the market, while Interactive Intelligence has focused on mid-range clients and cloud software.
As for Brown, he says his precise path after the sale is unclear. He plans to focus more on the startup community in the places where he’s built strong ties like Indianapolis and Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. "I’m going to be certainly exploring Indy first. That would be my preference. If things work out, I would love to grow a number of additional ventures here."
He says the plan right now is to focus on "continuing to execute" as Interactive Intelligence moves through a rigorous approval process, which will include a vote by shareholders.
Brown says the pieces fell into place for a deal.