Iowa City businessman Anthony Marlowe has repurchased TMone, the company he co-founded in 2003 before selling it two years ago.
Marlowe Companies Incorporated officially acquired TMone — which has been renamed Mass Markets — from Jacksonville-based Enhanced Resource Centers this week, the company announced. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.
The newly branded company will be headquartered at TMone’s Iowa City offices, 2937 Sierra Court S.W., Marlowe said. Mass Markets will also take ownership of the former TMone offices in West Des Moines, Dakota Dunes, S.D., and Spearfish, S.D. All told, Mass Markets will have about 500 staff members, according to the company.
Marlowe and his partners sold TMone in 2013, though Marlowe remained a minority shareholder and stayed on for a time as president and then as a chief sales officer. Marlowe separated with the company in April, but Enhanced Resource Centers’ desire to exit the telemarketing business presented a unique opportunity to buy it back, he said.
Marlowe said he renamed the company Mass Markets to shift the perception that it’s only a telemarketing and customer service business. Instead, he wants the name to reflect the company’s future as a platform-as-a-service provider, specializing in cloud computing and managed information systems.
“We’ve developed sophisticated software systems to serve our employees, and I’ve decided that the future of the company is to no longer just utilize that software for us to serve clients,” said Marlowe, 36. “We’re going to afford our clients the opportunity to use the variety of software platforms we’ve developed for themselves.
“When you combine our technology and staff, and the fact that we’re experts in operating both, it really becomes a platform company.”
Marlowe said he has invested in nearly 20 other companies as a minority shareholder since selling TMone. He’s also co-owner of a NASCAR team, BK Racing, which competes on the Sprint Cup circuit.
Marlowe said an initial goal is to “affect a resurgence of the culture” for the company. One means of doing that could be by giving employees a greater stake in its success. Marlow said that the hope is that by next year, Mass Markets will begin offering stock options to employees as a retention tool.
“You don’t need to live in San Francisco to participate in a growing company from a stock perspective,” Marlowe said. “I want to make sure every employee, and not just a handful of senior leaders, get the opportunity to participate in the monetization of the company down the road, whether we IPO it or sell to a publicly traded company in five to 10 years.”
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