For many launching businesses in today’s fast-moving tech sector, the goal is to attract investors and shareholders, and eventually selling it all to an even larger company. One tech vendor, however, is bucking this urge, preferring instead to have a positive impact on its communities — both users and the cities in which it is locating offices.
“A lot of companies are following that typical Silicon Valley path,” says Brian Cheung, CEO and co-founder of Liferay, Inc., a Los Angeles-based company which provides portal technology to organizations. “They’ve got their investors, and they’re aiming for that acquisition or that public offering. We’re very conscientious about not doing that. We’re still independent, privately held, with no outside capital.” The advantage to staying private is that becoming beholden to shareholders stifles innovation, he adds.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Cheung at Liferay’s recent confab in San Francisco, in which he expounded on his company’s unique philosophy toward innovation and community development. The company, which builds and distributes its software via an open-source model, is founded on the belief that innovation and growth comes from helping to make its customers and communities stronger.