Editor’s note: This is the second of two articles about the demise of Interpath, one of RTP’s first Internet Service Providers.Even as Interpath Communications, Inc. ceases to operate as a going concern, the company’s influence on the Triangle’s technology scene is far from a vanishing memory.
At least 10 North Carolina firms, some high-tech, others not, have been started or are being managed by former employees of the Morrisville-based applications service provider. And all who left seem to agree that although Interpath never realized its potential its entrepreneurial spirit lives on.
Charley Bratton is one of Interpath’s founders and chief operating officer of PotsTek, Inc., a startup telecommunications firm that is developing a voice access multiplier, which allows voice and data transmissions to share a T-1 connection. PotsTek has yet to turn a profit and is still in the beta testing phase.
Bratton agrees that there are a remarkable number company’s headquartered in the Triangle that were founded or are stocked with ex-Interpath employees, but he says that Interpath aggressively pursued that type of thinker.
“It seems like entrepreneurial-type folks always manage to find each other,” Bratton says. “Interpath was a great idea that unfortunately didn’t get executed well, or at least pieces of it didn’t.”
Basel Kanawati left his position at Interpath as director of products technology to found Softest Corp., a software development firm that build a system for tracking warehouse inventories and managing overseas accounting practices known as “WinTrade,” and Charlotte-based startup Dialog Communications, a telecom service provider that employs other former Interpath workers.
From telecom to music
Officials with Dialog, which competes against BellSouth in the local service market by offering flat-rate service plans, among other options, say the one-year-old company is nearing the 1,000-customer mark.
Kanawati worked with a team of people that includes Amit Sinha and Bob Mulcahy, founders of Apex-based TransLogic Systems, Inc., a developer of software that designs workflow engines that are compatible with all operating systems, and George Goode, CEO and founder of Cary-based information technology consulting firm Telecommunications Solutions Group, Inc. The three colleagues continue to maintain close personal and professional relationships with each company partnering together to generate as many business prospects as possible.
“There was a really positive atmosphere at Interpath for being creative and there were some lessons we learned at Interpath we are employing here,” Kanawati says. “For instance, offering a flat fee is a good way to enter local service markets rather than trying to establish a CLEC, which can be a back breaker.”
Mulcahy says TransLogic Systems, which recently pulled itself into the black ink and is on target to reach its 2002 revenue goal of $1 million, was founded with the same energetic, yet laid-back, spirit that was present at Interpath during the late 1990s. For instance before TransLogic began targeting customers who were in need of streamlining their order management and customer support systems, Sinha allowed his employees a budget to buy furniture and other items in order to personalize their offices.
“The main attraction of Interpath to me was that — there was no dictated organizational chart,” Mulcahy says. “Just a high-level of vision from upper management.”
Other former Interpath employees who are leading or have founded North Carolina technology companies include Carey Barnes, vice president of marketing for Mirador Systems, a developer of software similar to a data mining tool; Charlie Mead, a partner with Cary-based MetaPartners, a corporate real estate planning and consulting firm; and former CEO Michael Fox who opted to continue his career locally by joining Cary-based Global Knowledge as the vice president of e-learning, an IT education and enterprise training firm.
And Triangle music lovers likely are aware of “The Six String CafÃ©” in Cary, which was founded by David Sardinha, a former Interpath vice president who walked away from the technology industry after spending about 20 years in the sector.
Part one: ‘As Interpath Fades, Employees Offered Severance or Move to Maryland’ www.localtechwire.com/article.cfm?u=963