In April of 2015, it was announced that Freelancer.com would acquire Escrow.com in a $7.5 million deal, pending regulatory approval. The deal was approved, and it closed a few weeks ago. Late last week, I learned that Brandon Abbey is no longer with Escrow.com after an 11 year tenure as its President.
In an email sent to me on Sunday, Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie confirmed Brandon’s departure: “We parted ways on good terms. As you know Brandon has been running the business for a long period of time and is well known for doing a good job. However we think the potential for Escrow.com is much bigger. We’re moving to up the tempo of the business and run it as a high growth technology company.”
I reached out to Brandon, and while he confirmed that he is no longer with the company, he declined to comment.
I attribute much of Escrow.com’s superior reputation and industry best practices to the leadership that Brandon brought the company. I always appreciated his knowledge of the domain name business and his discretion in my business dealings with the company. Whenever I had a buyer or seller who was concerned about using the company for a transaction, I would put them in touch directly with Brandon for reassurance. I am going to miss Brandon’s presence at the company.
Matt informed me about other changes at Escrow.com that have been made and others that are forthcoming:
“We pre-hired a dozen people many months ago while we were waiting for regulatory approval. We now have a whole product team in place, run by Jackson Elsegood who is the product manager who reports into Senior Director of Growth, Michal Kot. This team has been working on revamping the product for the last few months. We also hired and trained up a multilingual customer support team. Keith Gettle, who is in the California office and who you probably know, has been promoted to Operations Manager and has been busily training up the team. The first deployment of that team is about to go live in the next few days and offer support in Mandarin and Cantonese to cater for the rapidly growing Chinese market in the Asian timezone.
Soon we move to 24x7x365 support like we do with Freelancer.com (from offices in seven countries). Currently Freelancer is in 34 languages and 20 currencies. We plan on doing the same with Escrow.com, over time. As part of this process, we would very much like to hear from our customers and partners their feedback about the most desirable features to put in the product. So please, give us feedback!”
Matt also let me know that “[m]oving forward Keith, Jackson and Mauli Fry (who has been promoted to Partnership Manager) will be the main contacts to put people in touch with regarding transactions.”
I am glad to hear that people like Keith, Mauli, and Sandra Gordon will continue to work at Escrow.com. Sandra and Keith, in particular, have been very helpful to me during the past few years years. In a subsequent email, Matt told me that “Sandra is of course still one of our great escrow managers,” and I agree with him on that.
Matt told me the company will retain its presence in California. The company also plans to add licensure in other jurisdictions as well. Matt told me, “We believe that Escrow.com’s long tenure of operating history and being the only licensed, bonded and regulated business- together with great customer service- is its sustainable competitive advantage.”
I look forward to seeing the promised improvements and hope Escrow.com will maintain the excellent reputation that Brandon helped create. I want to thank Brandon for all of his help over the years, and I hope our paths cross again.