By Chris Fleck
I remember reading Michael Lewis’ The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story, a book about James “Jim” Henry Clark in the good old days of the dot-com boom. It was a motivational story that helped inspire many would-be entrepreneurs to make the startup plunge, myself included.
Clark’s success record has been remarkable as founder or co-founder of five tech-related companies across multiple industries. This includes Netscape, Silicon Graphics, WebMD, MyCFO and Shutterfly. His formula for success was using technology to solve problems that he recognized before others. More than just seeing the problem, he acted.
Delray Beach-based CommandScape is Clark’s latest venture in yet another industry primed for disruption. CommandScape is a digital building management system designed for commercial and residential properties.
The service leverages the cloud and the “internet of things”—the interconnectivity among digitally enabled devices—to securely manage air conditioning, heating, building security, video surveillance, fire alarms and more. This has been a slow-moving $100 billion market, with aging disconnected technology. The new service will provide a consolidated view and management console for an entire building and strengthen cybersecurity with digital certificates.
I love hearing stories about what motivates people to start a company. In this case, the spark started years ago while designing a command center for the 300-foot yacht he was building and not being satisfied with any of the available technologies. Clark has invested $10 million of his own money to fund CommandScape. He is confident it will become a significant player along with Honeywell, Tyco Integrated Security and Lutron Electronics.
CommandScape already has an experienced team led by CEO Don Boerema, former chief corporate development officer for ADT Security Services, along with nearly 20 employees. “We think the time and place are right to reshape the market,” Boerema says about the launch of CommandScape—the “new new thing” born in South Florida.↵
Chris Fleck is on the board of the South Florida Technology Alliance and vice president of emerging solutions for Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS), a Fort Lauderdale company that provides secure delivery of applications and data.