Alexander Muse and Scott Ryan are pleased to announce their second exit this year with the sale of Architel. The Dallas-based entrepreneurs founded Architel in 2001 and immediately set out to provide computer and network support to medium-sized businesses. Muse and Ryan bootstrapped the company, funded with $20,000 and without any outside capital or debt, and thrived under the belief that it was easier to sell clients than to sell investors on their services. Architel has data centers and network operation facilities spread across more than six countries, with the first off-shore employees located in the Philippines in 2003 and expanding from there.
Five years after the introduction of Architel, Muse and Ryan founded Big in Japan, to incubate and invest in new startups–the innovative arm to the solutions offered through the cloud services of Architel. Architel provided the financial resources that Big in Japan needed in order to invest in, as well as incubate, several businesses like SimpleTicket, Whitebox, Fancast, MotorSport Ranch TV, ShopSavvy, and Techstars Ventures, an early stage fund formerly known as Bullettime Ventures that has invested in more than 100 startups, including Uber and Twilio.
While Architel has provided the resources for these projects and many more, Muse is going to continue to the goals of Architel and Big in Japan through Sumo Ventures. A newly founded fund being introduced today that will allow Muse to continue doing what he loves–incubating and investing in early stage startups. Sumo Ventures will allow Muse to continue affecting the tech field, utilizing his knowledge, experience, and talent. Along with Karl Chaio, joining as a venture partner, members of Muses’ exceptionally talented family have come on board. Ralph Muse, who has served as CEO of many public companies and has raised billions of dollars and his sister, Caroline Branch, a recent Wharton MBA grad who was most recently the president of AutoSeis, Inc. In order to ensure the best talent and opportunity, Sumo Ventures will not be limiting their focus on any geographic focus and will invest in opportunities that interest the leadership team including: mobile, e-commerce, enterprise, retail, restaurants, and energy and are actively looking for opportunities.
The sale of Architel to Centre Technologies of Houston will allow Muse and his team to continue working with startups through Sumo Ventures. Making the decision to sell Architel was not an easy one, but with Muses’ two biggest concerns taken care of– their employees and their customers–it was time to go back to doing what Muse loves most. The terms of the sale, as well as the purchase price, are protected due to a confidentiality agreement with Centre Technologies, but there was certainly a very healthy exit. The team had a 62% increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in 2014 and a 38% increase in 2015 with deals in this space trading at 10x EBITDA.