BY TAMARA WILLIAMS
Reposted from the New Jersey Innovation Institute
“When I was 14, I decided to be an entrepreneur. I never changed my mind.”- David Barnett
David a seasoned entrepreneur, business executive and philanthropist founded Corsis LLC in 1993. David is responsible for corporate strategy, operations and facilitating the company’s growth through rapid shifts in the technology landscape. In 2007, David led Corsis in its acquisition of Promotions.com Inc. from NBC Universal. This acquisition enhanced Corsis’s strong presence in the marketing technologies sector.
In 2009, David helped take Promotions.com (including Corsis) private and became COO of the company. Thereafter, he built it to be a leader in the industry and finally sold Promotions.com to ePrize (now HelloWorld) in 2013.
David also serves as Managing Partner of Marshall Junction Partners LLC. At MJP, David has led investments in several early-stage businesses in the digital photography, marketing, footwear and software industries.
Community involvement and volunteerism is deeply important to David. As Mayor of Springfield, NJ, David fostered a long-term plan for the redevelopment of Springfield’s downtown business district, revitalized its community center and advocated for residents at the county, state and federal levels on many issues. Additionally, David was a candidate for NJ State Assembly in 2015 and endorsed by organizations including the NJEA, FMBA and AFL-CIO. David is a board member of the All Stars Project of New Jersey, a non-government funded organization dedicated to providing after-school programs and career development opportunities to youth in the nation’s poorest communities.
Tell us how Corsis came about?
My grandfather, father and two older brothers have all owned their own companies. When I was in junior high school, I set up a business designing and printing t-shirts for my school clubs and teams. From an early age, my view of a career was to graduate from college, work somewhere for while and figure out what my business was going to be.
This is exactly what I did. After working at the advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding and then U.S.News and World Report, I was presented with an opportunity to develop software for The Museum of American Financial History (now the Museum of American Finance, www.moaf.org). Working evenings and weekends, I learned how to develop software specific to their needs. It was 1994 and small companies were first adopting computers.
When I completed the project, the client asked whether he could share the software across two of his computers. It was at this moment that my business model was put in place. In the early 90s, good, responsible IT service resources were hard to come by for small and medium sized businesses. These companies were just starting to put computers on their desks and wanted a hands-on, holistic guide into this new realm. My ability to handle both software and hardware issues in an agnostic manner, which put the client first, was unique. The market was wide open.
Over the years I grew this model of servicing all of our client’s technology needs. As the market changed so did we. At first, besides development and networking, we sold computers and hardware. Eventually we couldn’t compete against Internet retailers so we dropped hardware sales and added hosting services at Equinix’s brand new Newark NJ datacenter. The business continued to grow organically based on the original principle: Corsis sits on our client’s side of the table, always delivers on time and at a reasonable cost.
In May 2001, my current business partner Gregg Alwine joined Corsis, bringing with him a key new client, Promotions.com Inc. Promotions.com, a public company, outsourced all their technology operations to Corsis. Overnight, we gained a significant datacenter footprint and added staff. This gave us the infrastructure and pedigree to continue growing the business. In 2003, iVillage purchased Promotions.com and outsourced full management of the business to Corsis.
This was transformative for Corsis. We were now servicing some of the largest brands in the world and becoming known as a force in the marketing technologies space. The path we were on eventually led us to become the technology provider for all of iVillage in 2005, Giftcertificates.com and several others. By 2006 Corsis had a staff of over 100 with offices in New York, Chicago and Omaha.
In 2006, NBC/Universal acquired iVillage. This gave us the opportunity to purchase Promotions.com outright. Seeing the value in the business, we arranged financing through our bank and closed on Promotions.com in the summer of 2007. Shortly thereafter, we received an offer to buy the newly combined Corsis and Promotions.com from TheStreet.com (NASDAQ: TSCM). We accepted the offer and soon became a subsidiary of this public company.
Life as a public company was both exciting, challenging and a learning experience. However, as time progressed, it was obvious that the evolving strategy of our parent company did not include Corsis and Promotions.com. When one door closes another opens and this was one of those times. In 2009, TheStreet.com presented us with an offer to purchase the company back. We took them up on it and by December of 2009 Corsis and Promotions.com was once again a private company.
Now private and able to clearly assess our opportunities, Gregg and David made the decision to break the company into two separate entities and pursue growth opportunities for both. Promotions.com had a strong business model. It still had our core client, Kraft, and we focused on the sales effort. Over the next few years we added major new clients including Nestle, ConAgra, Clorox, Mondelez, AT&T, Hasbro and many others. Growing fast and profitable at the same time, we once again grabbed the attention of a buyer. In 2013, ePrize (now HelloWorld) bought Promotions.com.
This left us to focus back on Corsis. We knew that we would not be competitive with our former model of outsourced IT services, so we started on yet another transformation. This time it was into the Corsis of today. Today’s model is the perfect culmination of the years of hands-on IT consulting and M&A experience. To be hired for our expertise is a great place to be, and our new IT Business Intelligence tool is the model that will bring us to the next level.
What service/product do you offer and what sets you apart from your competitors?
Corsis allows companies to score technology risk and compliance like a credit score. Our SaaS business intelligence tool uses a proprietary patent-pending scoring model called the Corsis Confidence Index™, which replaces traditional due diligence and IT consulting models.The Confidence Index helps healthcare organizations better adhere to strict HIPAA compliance mandates and ultimately fosters the alignment of IT investment with business performance.
What do you like most about being a part of the Health IT Connections Program?
The Health IT Connections Program has created an invaluable community of professionals and companies that all are interested in each other’s growth and success. I value the opportunity to be part of this community and not to only benefit from it’s members but also to help them succeed.
Who are you looking to connect with?
We are always looking to connect with companies who have a regulatory or compliance obligation like HIPAA, or PCI. Corsis’s software is perfect for helping these companies identify and mitigate compliance related risk within their day-to-day operations. Additionally, Corsis is used by many professional investors to evaluate the technology operations of potential investment targets. We are very much interested in meeting investment professionals on both the buy and sell side.
Finally, and most importantly, we wouldn’t be anywhere without our staff and partners. Good talent is crucial to our growth and to that end we are always interested in connecting with people and companies that have expertise in many different fields. Subject matter experts in healthcare, technology and compliance are always valuable. Salespeople, developers, UI/UX people, project managers and designers are all people we would want to meet.
Please share any recent milestones since joining the cohort.
We just joined the cohort so we’re looking forward to future milestones. However, the work we’ve done so far such as, identifying and articulating our elevator pitch, value proposition and related information on the business model canvas has helped us to adjust how we position Corsis in the market. We recently test drove this new language at HIMSS with great success. We left the conference with several valuable commitments from new clients who want to use Corsis.