Bitter Sweet - HEXONET Chapter Coming To An End For Me
It is with great pleasure to announce that we have sold HEXONET to the CentralNic Group PLC. It has been an inspiring journey with HEXONET over the past 10 years, and this next era is one I look forward to with great anticipation and excitement. Little did I know when I left Key-Systems in 2006, that I would once again be working with long-time friend Jens Wagner just a little over 2 years later. When I left Key-Systems, I became GM of DomainPeople Inc - a Hostway Company in Vancouver Canada. This is where I met Tony Kim, who became a very close family friend and a co-founder of HEXONET Canada. Once it became clear to me that I'm less corporate and more start-up minded, all three of us began to talk. We knew we could create solutions the domain industry needed and that we could build a team that would fill us with pride. We had a fantastic team of engineers in Germany and we had the business intelligence team set up in Vancouver. It was a humble start and we were very nimble. Tony and I, just the two of us, started off the Canadian office with less than 50 sq. ft. and today we have 12 employees with close to 4,500 sq.ft in Vancouver. Jens and the German team have grown to 17 employees strong. Together we manage close to 3,8 Mill. domains for our customers around the globe. An accomplishment we are very proud of!
Our Mission at HEXONET is:
“At HEXONET, we solve the complexities of domain names for our customers”
This nails it. Something I have always been proud of is our attitude to go above and beyond for our customers. In all fairness, this has come back to bite us in the backside many times as we have gone out of our way to help solve complex problems of our customers. This goes against the goal of automating as much as possible to benefit from the mass market but, on the other hand, I am convinced that by displaying this kind of work attitude, we have won many new clients. Besides, this is truly what makes HEXONET the company we are today!
Secondly, our Vision at HEXONET is:
“We are the worldwide experts in domain names, the proven choice for resellers, registrars, investors, and domain customers. HEXONET makes registering, managing, selling and using domain names easy.”
We have truly excelled in certain areas of this vision while others are still a work in progress. We are experts when it comes to domains, thanks to our expert employees. We are the proven choice for resellers by providing, in our opinion, one of the (if not the) strongest, most stable and feature-heavy APIs in our industry (proven by the high-profile customers we support). We are the proven choice for third-party registrars who choose to use our technology to power their own accreditation - via our RegistrarOC platform. We are the proven choice for domain investors who can easily manage their portfolios and we strive to become the proven choice for retail customers. As many know, we launched a new control panel with enhancements to make managing, selling and using domains even simpler - which was a core focus of HEXONET in 2019. We are still working on fulfilling our vision and are making steady progress.
Last year in August, approx. 1 week after hosting the HEXONET 2018 Cruise in Vancouver, life threw my family a curveball and I ran into health issues. Since then my life, and that of my family, has been literally turned upside down! It has taken us time to manage the treatment as well as manage the overall situation and, most importantly, simply digest the changes. I want to give a special thanks to my “Rockstar Leona” who has been the most amazing woman and wife you can imagine! A huge personal thank you to all HEXONET employees who have been extremely thoughtful and considerate in this challenging time. As you can imagine, my priorities changed, and I immediately sat down with the HEXONET founders and discussed our next steps. At that time, I expressed the need to take an extended break and the three of us concluded that it would be best to sell the business. I cannot express my gratitude enough for the understanding of my partners Tony and Jens. Their response proved to me, yet again, that it was the right decision to do business with them. Their business partnership and friendship are commendable, and I truly appreciate them both.
The journey for us owning HEXONET has come to an end as we have taken the company as far as we can given the current circumstances. In selling the company, there were honestly only a few companies that I believe would be able to acquire HEXONET and still maintain the strong customer base we support. As such it was a logical choice to go with the CentralNic Group. CentralNic is on a growth trajectory and has made many smart acquisitions over the past years. The latest large acquisition was the KeyDrive Group, our biggest competitor in the “reseller” space who have an equally strong reseller network, as well as strong APIs. By combining the two leading technical domain reseller platforms, the opportunities for a HEXONET and Key-Systems unified company are endless. We believe that “Domain Reselling” can be taken to an entirely new level, especially considering the level and depth of the combined technology and expertise we now have together.
I have seen many acquisitions in the domain industry, including failed ones where the acquiring company failed miserably to leverage economies of scale. I am convinced that this will be different at CentralNic. Vital to the future success of this merger is the fact that HEXONET in Homburg and Key-Systems in St. Ingbert are within 15 minute’s drive from one another. Our employees have always been our secret weapon and now with the unified team in the same local in Germany, we are bigger and more capable to dominate. CentralNic will also benefit tremendously from having a physical location on the West Coast of North America, as they plan to maintain and build on the existing HEXONET Vancouver location and team. Overall a good marriage!
What's Next for Me
As I still have a bit of treatment ahead of me, I will transition the rest of my duties and will then take an extended break of 6 - 9 months to regenerate my batteries and focus on family and health. What comes after that, I do not know at this point in time and will cross that bridge when I get there. Thanks to everyone that I have worked and interacted with in our industry over these years!
I owe many special thanks to those that have helped HEXONET succeed along the way.
HEXONET Customers - Thank you for your loyalty and continued patronage over the many years. It has been a great pleasure working directly/indirectly with many of you. It has been an even greater pleasure seeing your businesses grow. Thank you for your professionalism and understanding when problems arose or when we didn't always agree. Business is always a give and take, and HEXONET customers have been extremely reasonable. I sincerely hope that you will continue to be loyal to HEXONET as we enter this new era!
Registries - Thank you for working with HEXONET over the years. I have known many of you for the full 19 years I've been working in this industry and I am proud to call many of you not just business partners but friends too! Thank you for your friendship towards HEXONET and your ongoing support.
The foundation of HEXONET - The Employees. Thank you so much to each individual at HEXONET across both offices. Each of you have contributed to the success of HEXONET. Without you, HEXONET would not be where we are today! Thank you for tirelessly pushing forward with us as we strive to become a better company!
Jens Wagner - Thank you for your patience with a non-technical “me” and my, at often times, awkward questions related to technology and what we can or can’t do ;-). The most fun I have had in the business was working with you on solving customer challenges to the satisfaction of these customers! You don't believe in taking “no” for an answer and as such we always found ways to solve problems for customers and our employees. This is a trait I absolutely love about you. In my 19+ years in this industry, I have never come across an individual with as much knowledge of computing/DNS/EPP as you. You are truly an all-rounder and one-of-a-kind. Most of all, I am proud to call you friend!
Tony Kim - Managing the Canadian office with you has been awesome! You are super easy to work with and amazing at solving problems. You have always been the calm one when matters get heated and you bring us back on track! Thanks for that as well as being a true friend to myself and, more importantly, to my family.
Lastly, I truly wish the CentralNic/Key-Systems/HEXONET family the very best and much success in the years to come.