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“TechOperators got class A space at a class B price…"
|Fron left to right: Glenn McGonnigle, David Gould,
Tom Noonan, and Said Mohammadioun
Four veteran leaders of Atlanta technology companies joined forces last year to form a venture capital firm, TechOperators LLC. Principals in the firm are Tom Noonan, co-founder and former president of Internet Security Systems (ISS); Glenn McGonnigle, former senior executive at ISS who also led VistaScape Security Systems Corp.; Said Mohammadioun, most recently CEO and chairman of Synchrologic Inc. , and David Gould, formerly CEO of Witness Systems Inc., all very successful technology companies based Atlanta.
Collectively the four executives have raised more than $580 million in venture capital and public offerings, and created more than $3 billion in shareholder value. TechOperators is raising its first venture fund, a $30 million fund to invest in software companies that deliver application Software as a Service (SaaS); technology that offers significant cost savings to customers.
“We have known each other for years, and each of us had considered the possibility of our coming together,” said McGonnigle. “The catalyst was timing – all of us were available after our most recent CEO experiences.”
TechOperators set up shop in temporary space in the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) building, but the founders recognized their need for permanent space appropriate for the image they wanted to convey. “ “We were aware of the downturn in the real estate market, and we expected to get first-class space at excellent terms – if we worked with the right partner.”
“Wm. Leonard & Co. represented ISS in its infancy – as early as 1994 – so I have known them and valued their services for a long time,” said Noonan. “When I left ISS after leading the transition to IBM, one of the first calls I made was to Wm. Leonard & Co. I knew we would need office space at some point, and I wanted them to keep their eyes open for the right opportunity. Over the years, Wm. Leonard & Co. has also assisted several tech companies in which I have invested. They are a valuable asset to our team.”
“A real estate transaction involves a large financial obligation, and unless you’re in the business, you don’t do it often enough to maximize your results,” McGonnigle noted. “It pays to have a smart, experienced partner – like Wm. Leonard & Co. – to help you navigate through it.
“They listened carefully, and were patient in working with four senior guys who are all used to getting our way. Wm. Leonard & Co. could accept the fact that we were all particular about our space requirements, but at the same time, despite our past accomplishments, we are a start-up company with limited resources.”
Among Wm. Leonard & Co.’s strengths are its experience and breadth of contacts in the real estate market, and its negotiating skills. “They found space that we all thought was ideal, but another firm had come in before us and made an offer,” McGonnigle recalled. “Wm. Leonard & Co. was not only able to get the space for us, but was able to include some very nice furniture as well. The space was built out perfectly for our needs. We changed the sign on the door, and we were working the next day. We are all very pleased with the results.”
Wm. Leonard & Co. helped TechOperators get the space it needed at very attractive terms, without wasting the principals’ time.
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