During his freshman year at Brigham Young in 1989, Jona-than Ord was back-up quarterback to eventual Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer on the Cougars' football squad.
Next came a two-year stint in Spain as a Mormon missionary. When he returned to BYU, Ord decided he wanted to do more than carry a clipboard on the sidelines. So with his 4.4 speed in the 40, he moved to wide receiver and rotated plays for a year before starting a business.
Today, Ord is at the helm of DealerSocket, one of the auto industry's leading providers of customer relationship management software and websites.
He and BYU classmate Brad Perry founded DealerSocket in 2000. They financed the company out of pocket and through profits until they sold a 20 percent stake in 2008 to Meritech Capital Partners.
The capital allowed DealerSocket to grow throughout the recession, Ord said. Today, 4,600 dealerships use the company's CRM software, including such heavyweight groups as Penske Automotive, Ken Garff Automotive, Larry H. Miller Group and Galpin Motors.
Over the past decade, Ord said average annual revenue growth has fluctuated between 30 and 50 percent. But that's about to change.
So far this year, DealerSocket has bought website provider DealerFire as well as a company that provides dealer management system software to independent car dealers. Another six acquisitions are planned in 2015 as DealerSocket fills out its product mix.
Ord says software is critical to changing the customer shopping experience at dealerships. The key, he says, is CRM -- collecting and analyzing customer information and using the data to more efficiently market vehicles and service.
To finance the growth -- which could double DealerSocket's sales this year to nearly $200 million -- Ord last year raised capital by selling a stake in the company to Vista Equity Partners. Vista, which also bought out Meritech, now owns slightly more than 50 percent of the company.
The deal includes covenants that allow Ord and his management team to continue running the company. You see, Ord is still not keen on being a back-up quarterback.
-- David Barkholz