Started in 1980 by a general building contractor, Omware, Inc. marketed
construction management software called The Master Builder. Its market
is mostly smaller independent contractors who need a system for
estimating, scheduling, project management and accounting.
We first worked with Omware in 1996, on a Direct Limited Offering. The
minimum purchase was $1,000 for employees, $10,000 for the associates
who marketed The Master Builder and $20,000 for other investors. About
$250,000 was sold, allowing Omware to grow sufficiently to do a Direct
The DPO was begun in 1999, using the SEC’s Rule 33-504 exemption for
sales of not more than a million dollars in 12 months. We filed for an
“open” (public) offering in Omware’s home state of California and used a
few exemptions in other states.
Omware had a good database of its customers and strong relationships
with them. However, unlike the clients in retail businesses, there were
far too few Omware customers to really support a DPO. Sales, at a
minimum $1,000 each, would have to come from an additional community.
We decided to focus on the community of neighbors around Omware’s
Sebastopol, California home. Public relations was the first front and
the local media was very helpful. The offering came during the time of
considerable noise about investments in Silicon Valley and San Francisco
computer software IPO’s. The announcements highlighted the phrase, “Home
Town High Tech,” to let neighbors know they could combine the promise of
technology investing with the comfort of knowing a local business and
the fellow residents who worked there.
The entire $1,000,000 was sold. Within a couple years, Omware was
acquired by Intuit, the software publisher of Quickbooks, Quicken and
TurboTax, at a respectable gain for the public shareowners.