Goldrock Capital was initially founded with the aim of serving the interests of one family, the Goldman family.
The patriarch of the UK-based Goldman family – David Goldman – was the Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman of the Sage Group (LSE: SAGE). Mr. Goldman’s entrepreneurial success in the ‘80s and ‘90s created a wealth management opportunity for the Goldman family.
David Goldman was born in Sunderland, UK in 1937. Having left school at the age of 16, Mr. Goldman began his working life by taking articles in accountancy, quickly moving into sales promotion, advertising and public relations.
In 1963, Mr. Goldman changed direction by joining Campbell Graphics. He quickly became the managing director of this previously family-run business and continued running the company until the early eighties. Even in these early days he was driven by customer needs. “The Customer is King” was the title of a large and colorful poster of a Lion behind his desk. It was in this position that he became aware of the market potential for business software. Along with Paul Muller, an American consultant, he investigated the feasibility of computerizing the estimate, job-costing and invoice side of the business.
In 1981 together with Graham Wylie, then an undergraduate from Newcastle University’s computing department, they devised an integrated hardware and software package for the printing industry, which they claimed to be best of breed on the market, at that time. In the following two years this “sideline” had led to the sale of 80 systems around the country, and became an increasingly central part of his work.
At about the same time there were major upheavals occurring within the printing industry. With his characteristic decisiveness, Mr. Goldman closed Campbell Graphics throwing all of his energies into Sage Systems, as it was then.
Only later was it apparent how wise this decision had been.
In the meantime he had sold the printing software package, in its entirety, to Vickers Group using the proceeds to develop a financial accounting system for small businesses. Graham Wylie, who became managing director of Sage UK, was the main technologist behind this new system. The founding shareholders of Sage were David Goldman, Phil Lever, Paul Muller and Graham Wylie.
From the outset the emphasis of the company was on marketing - being driven by the needs of the customer rather than the technology. In fact Mr. Goldman said, “Sage is a marketing company that happens to sell software.” Branding was everything to the fledgling company, and everything was done in order to create and then strengthen the Sage brand. This approach allowed Sagesoft, as it was by this stage, to achieve market dominance, overtaking their competitors, all of whom already had products selling in the market place.
The year 1984 saw a major turning point for the company as Amstrad launched its PCW. Identifying the opportunity offered by cheap and available computing power, Sage adopted its software to the new hardware platform and saw its sales leap from 30 copies sold a month to 300! In the same year Tom Maxfield joined as Director of Sales and together he and Mr. Goldman formalized the reseller network creating the engine for growth in the following years. Today Sage works with 3,000 resellers in the UK alone.
By December 1989 and with about 50 employees, the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange, with a turnover of £9m, profits of £2m and a market capitalization of £21m. In recognition of this achievement Sage was named as Company of the Year by the Newcastle Journal and Tyne Tees Television. This was the first of many awards both for the company and also to Mr. Goldman personally including MBE for services to the computer industry, Entrepreneur of the Year and also an honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from his hometown university Sunderland.
In 1994 Mr. Goldman retired as CEO of the company appointing Paul Walker in his place. Paul joined the company in 1984 as a company account. Mr. Goldman remained Executive Chairman until his retirement due to ill health in 1997. That year Sage achieved sales of £152m and pre-tax profits of £38m.
Mr. Goldman was replaced by Michael Jackson, long-time Deputy Chairman, who had joined the board in 1984 following a £300,000 venture capital investment by Grosvenor (later to merge with Mercury). This smooth transition has allowed the company to make constant and steady progress.
David Goldman took a company of his own creation and extremely modest beginnings and built one of the most successful companies in the North East of England. In addition to being the most successful businesses launched in the region in the last twenty-five years, it has also been one of the UK’s most exciting growth companies during the same period, joining the elite FTSE 100 Index in 1999.
Although many tech companies entered the Index during the dot-com bubble, Sage is the sole survivor.
Sage differed from the classic style of software company as the founding Chairman and Chief Executive was anything but a computer buff. Its success was based broadly on Mr. Goldman’s ability to identify gaps in the market, creating products and services to fill them. This has driven The Sage Group into various related areas wherein the company leverages its existing customer relationships and strong branding to sell additional products and services.
In his “retirement” Mr. Goldman became the non-executive chairman of BATM Advanced Communications an Israeli high tech company listed on the London Stock Exchange. Upon joining the board in 1996 the company had a market capitalization of about £35m. Mr. Goldman remained chairman until his death in October 1999, being actively involved until the very last months of his life. In August 2000 the company was worth over £2.5 billion.
Mr. Goldman attached enormous importance to marketing in its true form, rather than, as it is often misunderstood to be – a fancy name for sales and advertising. He would define it as identifying your customers, assessing their need for a product or service and delivering it to them in a timely, cost-effective and profitable manner. He always demonstrated outstanding judgment in the face of surrounding skepticism.
Whilst never underestimating the need for sound financial planning and the constant assessment of risk, David Goldman believed that being an entrepreneur meant constantly recognizing and exploiting new opportunities.
Mr. Goldman is survived by his wife Cynthia, who now resides in London; and two sons – Andrew and Daniel – both living in Israel. In the legacy of David Goldman, the family continues to support numerous causes through its active philanthropic activities.