Walter Buckley (businessman)
Walter White Buckley III (born 1960) is the chairman of Actua Corporation, a company that he co-founded along with Ken Fox. In 2000, during the dot-com bubble, the company was valued at over $50 billion and Buckley's 3.5% stake made him a multi-billionaire on paper at the age of 40. In 2017, the company announced the sale of its majority-owned assets and that it would monetize its remaining assets and return capital to shareholders.
Walter White Buckley III
1960 (age 58–59)
|Education||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|Known for||Co-founder of Actua Corporation|
Multi-billionaire on paper during the dot-com bubble
Early life and educationEdit
Buckley grew up in a prominent Philadelphia-area family. His father ran a money management business called Buckley & Meuthing and his grandfather ran Buckley Brothers, also a money management firm. Buckley attended Episcopal Academy for kindergarten through high school. He then attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. While in school, Buckley was motivated more by sports than business and starred on the North Carolina soccer team. His coach recalled "He played with wonderful, physical, reckless abandon", leaving it all on the field.
Buckley co-founded a medical supply company called Centralized Management Systems, which was sold in 1987. He spent the next 3 years working as a Commercial Loan Officer at CoreStates Financial Corporation before joining Safeguard Scientifics, a venture capital firm. From 1991 to 1996, Buckley was the Vice President of Acquisitions at Safeguard. There, he oversaw the acquisitions of several companies including ChromoVision, Diamond Technology, Video Server, and XL Vision.
Internet Capital GroupEdit
Buckley and fellow Safeguard executive Ken Fox noticed an emerging market in e-commerce business-to-business and left Safeguard in February 1996 to found a venture capital firm, Internet Capital Group (ICG). They asked Safeguard head Pete Musser for $5 million in funding, but he insisted on investing $15 million. Buckley and Fox raised $40 million to start ICG, twice what they wanted. In addition to Safeguard, major investors included Comcast, Compaq, and BancBoston Ventures.
Buckley served as the president of the company from March 1996 to December 2001, at which time he became the company's Chairman, a position he continues to hold. He has also served as the CEO since its founding. ICG invested $1.4 billion in 61 start-up firms; and an article declared that "Buckley put B2B on the map".
In August 1999, the company became a public company via an initial public offering, offering stock for sale at $12 per share. By December 1999, the stock was trading at over $200 per share and Buckley's stake of 10,000,000 shares, or 3.5% of the company, was worth over $2 billion. By November 2000, the stock was down to $11 per share and after the September 11 attacks it traded for 70 cents per share. Buckley sold very little of his stock and remained optimistic.
ICG survived the crash, and changed its business model. Instead of taking small stakes in many companies, it invested in a few "core" companies at a time, usually as majority owner. This allowed the company to have much greater control over the operations of its investments. Buckley refocused the company to find strategic partnerships with traditional industry leaders such as a joint venture with DuPont called CapSpan in early 2000. In September 2014, when the company changed its name to Actua Corporation, its stock was trading around $20 per share and was worth approximately $700 million. In 2017, the company sold its three majority-owned businesses and in 2018 announced a voluntarily liquidation whereby it would seek to sell its remaining assets while winding down operations.
Buckley is a director of several technology startups including PaperExchange.com, OneCoast Network Holdings, Candide Media Works, Channel Intelligence, and iCueTV. He is a member of the board of Arrowroot Capital and Cross X Platform. He is on the advisory boards of the Carolina Entrepreneurial Initiative, the UNC Kenan–Flagler Business School, and the Starfinder Foundation. Previously, he was a director of BravoSolution US, Breakaway Solutions, and Cortera.
Buckley is known for a "coach-like style" of management that encourages teamwork and camaraderie.
In 2000, Buckley was named the Entrepreneur of the Year by Price Waterhouse, and received the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award from the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group. Buckley's cash compensation is $450,000 per year. Between 2008 and 2014, he received $12 million in compensation.
Buckley is an avid runner, often traversing a long, rocky hill near the Actua headquarters.
- Serwer, Andy (September 17, 2001). "Following The Money Some 680 men, women, techies, and, yes, schools got pre-IPO shares of Internet highflier ICG. Here's how they became insiders and what they did as the stock crashed". Fortune.
- Barrett, Amy (November 1, 1999). "Internet Capital's Young Turks". Bloomberg L.P.(subscription required)
- "Walter Buckley: Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg L.P.
- Barrett, Amy (May 15, 2000). "Walter Buckley III". Bloomberg L.P.
- Simon, Ruth (January 29, 2001). "1. IPOs Will Make You Rich". The Wall Street Journal.(subscription required)
- "The $1.7 trillion dot.com lesson". CNNMoney. November 9, 2000.
- DiStefano, Joseph N. (September 6, 2014). "Actua: New name for a company with fresh hopes". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- "Actua Files Definitive Proxy Materials for Approval of Plan of Dissolution" (Press release). Globe Newswire. March 16, 2018.
- Olson, Laura (August 7, 2015). "Pennsylvania playing small role in early GOP fundraising". The Morning Call.