ALAN TURNER: Joel Bomgar an entrepreneur and budding politician
At 35, Joel Bomgar has accomplished more than most business professionals achieve in a lifetime. He took a concept he came up with in his undergraduate years at Belhaven, and started a company with that concept in the very next week after he graduated.
The rest was a very fast forwarded record of success that took the company from zero to near $65 million in sales in just 12 years.
“I started with some basic Google ads,” Joel recalled in a recent meeting. “My marketing budget was a whopping $20 a day, but it worked, and we topped the million dollar mark the very next year.”
From that, Joel raised capital for the company – named simply Bomgar which uses the Bomgar Box to control computer systems anywhere in the world – and invested in people who would be instrumental in the sales and marketing process, product development, customer service, and other areas.
“As we became more successful, we found it easier to raise additional capital from folks where were looking for investments in tech,” he said. “After the first few years, we never looked back.”
From that beginning, the company has grown to the point where it is the number one company in the world in its field, which he defines as “enterprise remote support” for companies of all sizes.
“Business is like a rocket ship,” he said. “If you’re going to take off into the stratosphere, you have to have all the components lined up and working the way they’re supposed to.”
One might expect that with the kind of success Bomgar has enjoyed, Joel might have simply continued to run his company and enjoy the good life. But that isn’t necessarily his point of view.
When the opportunity arose, Joel sold the company to TA Associates, a company with $18 billion in assets and many tech investments.
“I’m still the chairman, so I get to have lots of fun,” he said. “But this has enabled me to pursue another opportunity that I’ve always been drawn to, namely the opportunity to enter public service.”
To launch his political career, he is currently running for state representative in District 58.
“You could certainly say that I’m a business-friendly candidate,” he said with a smile. “My true goal is to help make Mississippi a better place to live, raise a family, and do business.”
He sees the key to achieving that goal as providing support to the free market, developing a world-class workforce, and working to keep government operating at modest levels.
“I think we have an incredible opportunity to build growth and progress in our state,” he said. “I guess you’d say that we can rise from the bottom in many respects, and we should be a very wealthy and prosperous state, if we just let the free market do its job.”
Along with other business leaders, he feels that federal regulation of business has gone too far.
“People who run businesses need to spend their time making money rather than dealing with government rules and regulations,” he suggested.
He feels that Mississippi is one of the more business-friendly states, and that positive moves have been made in recent years to encourage entrepreneurial excellence and achievement.
He sees service in the public sector as an important opportunity to contribute and influence public policy.
“Mississippi is my passion”, he said. “I want to raise my kids in a state we can all be proud of, and I hope to leverage my knowledge and experience in ways that can make that happen.”
He says that “lowering the barriers” to productive economic development will contribute dramatically to Mississippi’s future, and he also sees education as the key to a productive, prosperous workforce.
So far in his campaign, Joel has knocked on more than 4,000 doors, “and I’m not done yet,” he said. One thing is certain. Bringing the kind of energy to politics that he brought to growing the Bomgar Company will probably make Joel Bomgar a force to be reckoned with in coming years.
A short interview with Joel can be seen on our website, MSBusiness.com, or on our YouTube channel, mbjournal.
Read more at the Mississippi Business Journal here.