February 4, 2014
LaserNetworks’ Chris Stoate is leaving the industry after 26 years.
Channel Buzz reported on Stoate’s retirement from the printing industry, having created and sold Canadian-based LaserNetworks and reportedly pioneering managed print services in the early 1990s.
Stoate set up the company in 1987 having predicted that photocopier use would transfer to laser printers, with the site noting that he “sought to change” the stereotype of printers as an accessory by “creating a solution provider that brought the best of the photocopier service and support model into the laser printing world”.
In 1993, the company started to develop “what would become widely known as managed print services”, with Stoate noting that “there was a lot of growth but a complete lack of infrastructure to support that growth” in contractual systems where a solution provider deals with consumables and devices. Noting that the idea “took off quickly”, the site adds that the cost per page of printing was reduced “substantially” by the company for its customers.
He noted of the industry at the time: “The channel that delivered them was a computer channel that treated them as a peripheral device and was not set up to repair, support, or even manage the costs of a device that was essentially a mini-photocopier. The photocopier model needed a lot of adaptation to fit into this mould, but it’s better for it than the computer VAR model, so we built a specialised VAR that developed a number of processes, software, talents and staffing to provide managed print offering.”
With the idea “unique” at the time, Stoate pointed out that US company Printelligent was also working on the same basis, with that company being acquired in 2011 by HP. LaserNetworks itself was acquired by Xerox in 2012 as a result of its success. Stoate noted that the company “will grow much faster than it could have on its own”, adding that “the only way to be truly seamless was to be acquired by Xerox […] we’ve signed more new agreements with new customers in the last several months than we have in any comparable period in our history”.
Looking to his post-industry life, Stoate adds that he “wish[ed he knew] the answer”, with his intent being to “ramp up his community and charity involvement”, though he did not rule out returning to the industry, stating: “If there’s somewhere I can add real value and make a difference, I might leap back in. I was ready [to retire].. The business needs to move to another level, and now that things are on the right track, I’m comfortable in leaving knowing it will have a bright future.”
Categories : Products and Technology