Ray Carey is currently the CEO of ArchiveSocial, a platform that empowers and protects open dialogue by archiving the social media sites for more than 2,500 public agencies ranging from New York City and the U.S. Department of Justice to small towns and villages under 5,000 in population.
ArchiveSocial is Ray’s third CEO assignment. He successfully grew Astute Solutions, an AI-driven customer engagement platform for some of the world’s largest brands (McDonald’s, British Airways, Kroger, Pepsico, etc.) and drove the sale to The Audax Group in 2019. Ray remains the Chairman of the Board.
Prior to Astute, Ray was CEO of NeoNova, a spin-out of Nortel that was acquired in 2013. Prior to his operational roles, Ray spent a decade as Partner with Azure Capital, investing in early-stage companies including Calix (NYSE: CALX), Broadlight (Aquired by: Broadcom), Cyan (ACQ: Ciena), Vapps (ACQ: Citrix), SlideRocket (ACQ: VMWare), WorldWidePackets (ACQ: Ciena), and NeoNova (ACQ: NRTC). Ray began his professional career in the technology practices at Robertson Stephens and CreditSuisse, raising public and private capital and advising on mergers and acquisitions.
A graduate of Stanford University, Ray was an NCAA champion swimmer in the butterfly and represented the USA in the 1996 Olympic Games. Ray continues to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, where he chaired the board for eight years. He is also on the boards of his family’s restaurant chain, Massachusetts-based Kelly’s Roast Beef; and MCNC, a technology non-profit that builds, owns, and operates a leading-edge broadband infrastructure for North Carolina’s research, education, non-profit healthcare, and other community institutions.
1. What is in your pockets?
Today there’s nothing in my pockets because we’re all working from home right now. I have everything within arm’s reach here in my home office.
2. What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?
At ArchiveSocial, our mission is to promote freedom of information, and we work with public agencies and their communications on social media. Social media has become the emerging way for public agencies, towns and municipalities, law enforcement and schools to talk to their constituents, their parents, their citizens, their students. It is a powerful tool for communication, but it was built for private citizens. It is not subject to public records retention and other laws. We fill that gap between social media and public agencies who are fundamentally on the record. We help those public agencies archive, assemble, retrieve, and make use of their social media when they get freedom of information requests or other public records requests.
The most noteworthy thing that has happened is the change in the overall business environment since COVID-19. We have a little over 80 people in the company, and we’ve transitioned to fully work from home like most tech organizations. I’m excited and pleased that we’re fortunate enough to be in a business where we can do that, because I know there’s a lot of businesses that aren’t in a position to do their work from home. What’s been really exciting to me is we’ve spent time instrumenting the business with metrics to be able to find out where we’re affected, how we’re affected, how people are performing. So I’ve been really, really proud of the team in this transition to work from home, and I’d like to say that from a business perspective, we haven’t missed a beat at all.
3. What is your favorite coffee spot?
These days, it’s my Nespresso machine downstairs in my house because we’re all under work-from-home rules. I really love spending time in the office, so usually that’s my place to get coffee. We have a very fancy coffee machine on the fourth floor of our office in downtown Durham. On weekends, I go to The Third Place in Five Points in Raleigh.
4. What keeps you up at night?
I’ve been blessed enough to be a pretty good sleeper. I will tell you what gets me up out of bed in the morning is, fundamentally, are we doing everything that we can do to handle this environment? Am I doing everything I can do to serve my employees during what is a pretty crazy time in our environment? I sleep well, but I spring up engaged in making sure that I’m taking care of my people and that we are making changes on a daily basis to reflect the changes in the market.
5. What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?
I really like getting lunch at Dashi, which is a Japanese ramen bar in downtown Durham close to work. From a happy hour perspective, we actually have beers on Friday when we close out a great week. So, my favorite place has been the fifth floor lounge at ArchiveSocial on a late Friday afternoon for a happy hour. More recently, we’ve been having happy hours remotely. And so, we had a Wild West happy hour complete with cowboy hats and fancy Zoom backgrounds. Everybody at ArchiveSocial gets put in a thread. It’s sort of like the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter.
6. What is next for you or your organization?
One is just continuing to focus on growth. Public agencies need what we do more now than ever. What can you trust out there in social media? You can trust your public agencies. Why? Well, because they’re subject to a permanent record. It makes them different than everybody else that is out there tweeting and publishing on Facebook. Their history cannot change its archives until the end of the Republic, as one customer told me. And so, we need to continue to grow to serve our customer needs. That means we’re going to continue to hire. We hired our first folks fully remotely in May. We’re going to do that again, fully remotely hiring people in June.
And then I’m really looking forward to, as we go through this year, how we start addressing additional markets. There are important things that we can do for other regulated industries that aren’t necessarily public agencies, like the financial services markets and other regulated industries, public companies and enterprise. So, just making sure that we continue to grow, we continue to serve our customers, and that I, as a leader, continue to serve my people. And we do the best that we can do in this environment, which, thank goodness, so far is pretty good.