When I was growing up in a family business in New Hampshire, my parents did everything they could to drive home the importance of work ethic, family, integrity and community. They wanted my four brothers and I to find our passion in whatever we did, to compete and be successful, and to treat people right along the way.
I’m proud to say it’s all worked out just fine, and I’ve been able to build a successful tech career here in New Hampshire — even though others from Silicon Valley said it couldn’t be done. I am so honored to be named the New Hampshire Tech Alliance’s Entrepreneur of the Year, following in the footsteps of so many outstanding entrepreneurs who have won this award over the past 33 years. Let this serve as proof that you can be successful and have a global reach from anywhere.
Realize Your Vision
It’s important for people to find and focus on their strengths, then build complementary parts around them to realize their vision. I discovered early on that I could be the sales/marketing/go-to-market complement to technical founders, engineers, scientists and other domain experts. How? I seemed to be naturally good at it, but also, I was always the most prepared person in the room.
I realized that this role could take me to incredible heights in the software and infrastructure markets. But as I began building complementary operating teams that let me be me, I also had another realization:
If I can be the voice of the wizards, the savants and the innovators, then maybe someday I can be one myself!
Through a career that has brought me from Manchester West High School and Bentley University to WhippleHill to Dyn and being one boss removed from Larry Ellison at Oracle, I’ve finally reached that aspirational goal with York IE.
The York IE Journey
When I started developing the vision for York IE, I didn’t want to choose between being an operator or an investor. That’s the binary choice the startup landscape forces you into. I wanted to build a lasting business with those I trusted most.
We wanted to be operators helping operators. To offer software, advisory services and value-added capital for tremendous scale. To take what we once did on the side, as advisors and investors, and make it our forever company.
We’re just two years in, and it’s working. We now have more than 100 active startup engagements, 30 full-time employees and dozens of investment partners and advisors. We’ve deployed north of $30 million in capital in startups, and we’re making a big difference in the lives of the founders and teams we back. It’s the most genuine, rewarding and fulfilling work we could be doing.
We Are Family
My brothers and I have taken the portfolio approach to business that we grew up with, thanks to our parents Don and Gail York, and brought it to internet scale.
Alongside York IE, we have:
- York Creative Collective (YCC), which focuses on creative consumer ventures and brands;
- YORK Athletics, our third-generation family footwear business under YCC; and
- York Real Estate, which focuses on commercial real estate investing.
And how fun it is to do this all right here in our Granite State community!
Working in startups is hard and challenging. It takes a ton of support and conviction from everyone around you telling you, “You can do it. Keep at it. Keep going.” I’m very fortunate to have this reinforcement from my family, friends and loyal colleagues.
Thank you to my wife and kids, especially Katie, who has known me since our marketing management class in college. The sacrifices she has made to enable my success are never underappreciated or overlooked. She does everything for our family and has been so supportive for my entire professional life. Dreams do come true!
I also wouldn’t be where I am today without the support from my parents, brothers, in-laws, extended family and friends. Everyone. It takes a village. I’m always challenged, never coddled. Nothing can be taken too seriously, and they all drive me.
I’d like to thank the New Hampshire Tech Alliance and Alpha Loft. The work they do is critical to driving our state’s innovation economy. And of course, thank you to Ashley Oberg, my longtime chief of staff, my co-founders Adam Coughlin, Joe Raczka and Mike Veilleux, and the rest of our amazingly talented York IE team.
In closing, I challenge all of you to keep making grand attempts to make an impact. Be loyal, play the long game and be part of the rising tide that raises all boats.