May 3, 2022 - News

Raleigh tech CEO Bill Spruill mints 25 millionaires out of his employees

Global Data Consortium founder Bill Spruill stands in front of a wall with graffiti on it.
Bill Spruill, co-founder and CEO of Raleigh-based Global Data Consortium. Photo: Global Data Consortium.

Raleigh tech entrepreneur Bill Spruill just sold his startup Global Data Consortium for a still-undisclosed huge sum.

Why it matters: It could be a turning point for the Triangle's tech scene.

Details: Global Data makes software that verifies the identity of people behind online transactions, an important step in eliminating potential fraud.

  • Though financial details have not yet been revealed, Spruill described it as a "Bronto-level transaction," which was acquired by NetSuite for $200 million in 2015.

A big pay out for employees: Global Data Consortium had only raised $5 million from investors since it was founded in 2012, leaving most of the company’s equity in the hands of its employees.

  • Spruill and his co-founder Charles Gaddy made sure employees had enough equity in the company to see significant payouts from the deal.
  • "We’re minting over 25 millionaires," Spruill said of the outcome for some of the company’s earliest employees.

The big picture: Spruill, a Goldsboro native, is one of the Triangle's most prominent Black tech founders. In an industry that has historically struggled to add diversity to its ranks, Spruill aims to change that.

  • Just 1.2% of all venture capital funding goes to Black-led startups, according to Crunchbase.
  • "How do I continue to boost minority involvement in tech?" Spruill told Axios. "That’s part of the next chapter."
  • He could now become a big money player in the local tech community, investing in young startups or helping convince other Black tech workers to take a chance on a promising Triangle startup.

Flashback: In 2020, he led a campaign to get more of the Triangle's tech scene to place part of their cash reserves at Black-owned banks, including Durham's M&F Bank, one of the oldest Black-owned financial institutions in the country.

  • Several tech companies, including Raleigh's Pendo and Global Data, put millions of dollars in the bank.

What’s next: Global Data expects its 40-person Raleigh team to grow, but Spruill will be stepping down as its CEO. That will give him more time to focus on investing into young startups in the region and support other Black entrepreneurs.

  • "It was a challenge for me to find Black mentors, both locally and nationally," he said. "One of my goals is to create more Black mentors and senior leaders" in the Triangle.
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