paul lum

 

HEEDING MR. LODGE: Paul Lum and William Jo borrowed $350,000 in 1995 to found Internet Gateway Corp. It was valued at $550 million five years later, when the dotcom bubble burst "and the stock market crash brought us back to earth," Lum said. Not for long, though. Start-up-and-sell specialist Lum's Eternity Modern furniture firm sits very comfortably today. And the undisclosed sum Ontario-based ESP Canada paid for his local Promobilia firm last month likely wasn't pin money. "Paul read Forbes and Fortune while we were still reading Archie and Jug-head," longtime friend and former commercial realtor Andrea Eng said.   --   MALCOLM PARRY, Vancouver Sun     2013 May 9

START UP #3 SOLD

Young tycoons sell out for $15 million
14-month-old Vancouver dot-com company is bought by a Seattle giant

Paul Lum, president of Registrars.com,  a new dot-com millionaire.

Two 30-year-old Vancouver entrepreneurs received a $15-million present on Tuesday -- a day late for Christmas, but a lot earlier than they expected.

Just 14 months after founding Internet Domain Registrars Corporation, a.k.a. Registrars.com, Paul Lum and William Jo sold it to Seattle-based Network Commerce Inc. for $15 million in cash and stock, proving there's life yet in the dot-com sector.

"We weren't shopping around for buyers at all. We thought we were too young and too small to be bought out by someone else. We were focused on building critical mass. We had to get to a million customers before anyone would even consider funding us," Lum said.

Then, in early November, he got a call from Network Commerce CEO Dwayne Walker. The Seattle company wanted to buy a domain name registrar, at least in part to access its huge customer base, and Registrars.com fit the bill.

"We believe this is an important addition to our technology infrastructure business. We also believe this will be another avenue for expanding our database of registered customers," Walker said.

The new management expects Registrars.com to generate revenue of $30 million Cdn in 2001 and to turn an operating profit by the second quarter of the year.

The deal provides Lum and Jo, as owners of Registrars.com, $750,000 US in cash and 8.25 million shares in Network Commerce, giving them approximately one-fifth ownership in the American company.

Network Commerce shares, which hit a 52-week high of $25.94 US last January, were down a few cents on the day, to 75 cents US. Some analysts maintain a price target for the stock as high as $10 US.

"If the stock market were not coming down to a low, I would probably not be as interested," Lum said. "I thought that we could benefit from a turnaround in the stock market as opposed to merging with a company when it's at its high and then watching the stock go down."

Lum and Jo had already launched a successful Internet services provider, Internet Gateway, by the time they got the idea for Registrars.com last year.

At that time Network Solutions, a New Jersey company, had the exclusive right to issue Web site names ending in .com. But in October 1999, the industry body that governs domain names lifted that monopoly, and Registrars.com was among the first dozen companies to rush in.

Since then, it has become the sixth-largest registrar of domain names worldwide, having registered more than 600,000 names, 95 per cent of them outside Canada. The company not only registers .com names, but also .net and .org, as well as country-specific domain names. It was one of the first to register the new Multilingual Top Level Domains, for languages such as Korean, Chinese and Japanese.

The basic fee to register a name for a year with Registrars.com is $35 US, but Lum says the company either already does or soon will offer subscribers other services, including Web hosting, site promotion, programming/Web design, e-commerce and advertising services.

That's where Network Commerce comes in, Lum said.

"We feel that they provide a lot of valuable services which would take years to develop ourselves."

Registrars.com has 95 employees in its new headquarters in the Bentall Centre and four in a branch office in San Francisco. Network Commerce has four locations, in the U.S. and U.K.

Under the new owners, Registrars.com will become an autonomous unit, with Lum serving as vice president of network commerce. He expects to hire more customer service and programming staff, as well as roll Network Commerce's own small domain name service in with the Vancouver operations.

"We can supply programming services below cost for them because the average programmer in Vancouver makes $45,000 a year and the average programmer in Seattle makes $60,000. That's in U.S. dollars so it's basically double," Lum said.

Do Lum and Jo, who is currently on vacation in Singapore, have any more business plans up their sleeves?

"I won't rule out anything in the future. I think for the short term, [I'll be] completely dedicated to helping mature this company even more," the young Internet tycoon said.  - Stuart Davis, Michael McCCullough       Vancouver Sun   December 2000  

Registrars.com sold for up to $14M by Vancouver men
Started 14 months ago

VANCOUVER - A $500,000-cash investment has resulted in a potential $14-million payday for two Vancouver entrepreneurs in the domain name business.

Paul Lum and William Jo, both 30, started Internet Domain Registrars, better known Registrars.com, about 14 months ago. Yesterday, Mr. Lum announced the sale of Registrars.com to Seattle-based Network Commerce Inc. for US$750,000 and 6.75 million shares of Network Commerce stock.

Registrars.com could receive another 4.5 million shares from earnout provisions in the agreement.

Network Commerce closed yesterday at US75. That gives the deal a potential value of up to $14-million.

The deal is quite a coup for the two Vancouver men, who have made Registrars.com the world's sixth-largest domain name registry since founding the company in late 1999. Registrars.com has registered more than 600,000 domain names and has 100 employees working in offices in Vancouver and San Francisco.

Network Commerce, which offers a range of e-commerce services to businesses that already have domain names, had only a small registration business. Buying Registrars.com will enable it to attract new business from companies that are still looking for domain names.

Mr. Lum, president of Registrars.com, will continue to run the registration business from Vancouver. He said the transaction allows him to offer a greater range of services to his customers because now Registrars.com can do more than simply provide clients with domain names.

"Securing the customer is the hardest part. Once we capture the customer, once we make them loyal to us, all the other services are turn-key," he said.

Network Commerce expects Registrars.com to generate revenue of US$20-million in 2001, with positive cash flow coming in the second quarter of 2001.

Network Commerce needs the money. The company reported a net loss of US$76.5-million on revenue of US$79-million in the nine months ended Sept. 30.

"Since we expect our domain registration business to be cash-flow positive by the second quarter of 2001, we fully expect the addition of [Registrars.com] to provide a new and significant revenue and cash-flow stream to the company," said Dwayne Walker, chairman and chief executive of Network Commerce.

Network Commerce has suffered from the dot-com downturn, with its stock price sliding from more than US$25 last January to less than a dollar.

About 15% of the company, which has a market cap of about US$45-million, is owned by major institutional shareholders.

Mr. Lum was also owner ( in separate arms lenth transaction) of Internet Gateway, an access provider he founded in 1995.     - by  Drew Haasselback    Financial Post       December 27, 2000

Editor's Note:   Paul Lum is one of Hello Tai Tai's superstar friends.   Local born Chinese, attended Magee High School and was reading business magazines when the rest of us where reading Archie + Jughead comic books.   He has a number of businesses now including online pharmacy, gambling management online + corporate gifts business.    He travelled to New York to help with the founding of Hello! Tai Tai and continues to support us.

 


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