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Like most students, BookRenter founder Colin Barceloux was frustrated with the high cost of textbooks, paying over $500 each quarter while at Santa Clara University. To help pay for textbooks (and other necessities like beer, food, and clothes), he worked as a campus mailman, and noticed a large number of discarded textbooks around campus. There were even huge stacks of books on the bookstore's "Zero Value Table," containing books that the bookstore wouldn't buy back. To Colin, something seemed wrong with the fact that a book's value could drop from $100 to $0 in a few months.
He started to collect all these unwanted books, and sold them online to students around the country. He realized that the practice of buying a book, using it, and selling it is really just a textbook rental, and the idea behind the company was born. After working at a few other companies, Colin teamed up with two Santa Clara engineers Chris Williams and Philippe Huibonhoa to start BookRenter.
We have grown tremendously since the early days of selling used textbooks for extra beer money, but our core mission — to make education more affordable for everyone — still drives us today.
Mehdi has over 20 years of experience building great teams and operating both startups and public companies. Before Rafter, Mehdi was SVP of products and services at CafePress where he joined the team in the early days and grew the company to over $130M in revenues. Prior to CafePress, Mehdi was SVP of products at Intellisync where they gained 90% ownership of the mobile sync market before being bought by Nokia for $450M. Additionally, Mehdi has held a number of executive positions at other Valley companies and currently sits on the board of FaceTime, Pbworks and Fotomoto. A geek at heart, Mehdi did his undergraduate studies at Berkeley and his graduate studies in computer science at Stanford. His favorite topic in college was Fuzzy Logic by Professor Lotfi Zadeh.
Colin is the founder of BookRenter, the forerunner to Rafter and the company that introduced the concept of textbook rental. Prior to founding BookRenter, Colin worked at Google in online advertising and at 24/7 Real Media as a Marketing Manager. He has a BS in Management Information Systems and a Minor in Information Technology from Santa Clara University where he graduated with Honors in 2003. Colin resides in San Francisco and is a basketball enthusiast, mountain biker, golfer, and as avid a snowboarder as a Bay Area resident can be.
Charles brings his extensive financial leadership experience to Rafter; he was most recently President of EchoFirst and prior to that he was President and CFO of Sungevity and CFO of SolarCity. His accomplishments included the successful raising of multiple structured finance funds totally in excess of $700M, which enabled the consumer leasing programs which now account for over 70% of industry sales. Charles responsibilities at Rafter include financial planning, structured finance, corporate development, accounting and treasury. In addition, Charles brings over twenty years of experience in leadership roles at high growth companies in a variety of industries, including such consumer products and financial services companies as PepsiCo, GAP, Inc, and Transamerica. Mr. Ferer holds an MBA in Finance from Indiana University and a BA in Economics from the University of Puget Sound.
Justin brings both creativity and rigor to his leadership of the engineering organization. Prior to Rafter, he held numerous engineering, product, and founding roles at growing start-ups throughout Silicon Valley. Most recently, Justin served in a general management role at the online retailer CafePress.com, where he was responsible for the vision, product, and marketing of the CafePress Groups business. While studying Computer Science at the University of Rochester, Justin created a service that would presage his future career with Rafter: after a typical weekend of feverish coding, his Book Swap launched to overnight success, drawing hundreds of textbook classified postings from across campus in the first day of operations.
Sara is a metrics-obsessed, ROI-driven marketer who spent the past 15 years building strong online brands. Prior to Rafter, Sara held a senior leadership position at online retailer Cafepress where she was responsible for attracting customers, keeping them happy, and scaling revenue. As the head of marketing for Yahoo! Personals, Sara's devotion to customers helped the dating service woo singles and catapult the brand to the number one most visited dating site. At E*TRADE she drove customer development efforts across the Investing, Banking & Mortgage business units yielding significant returns. Highly collaborative and team-oriented, Sara's approach to management was born of her experience playing center field for the UNLV women's softball team (Go Rebels!) where she was Second Team All American.
Greg joins the Rafter team with eighteen years of corporate and commercial practice under his belt. As a corporate attorney with Sullivan & Worcester in Boston and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati in Palo Alto, Greg specialized in LBOs, M&A and venture financings. After leaving large firm law practice Greg went 'in-house' - consulting for, and serving as a General Counsel of a variety of consumer Silicon Valley internet, enterprise software, and technology companies, and in many cases building legal departments from scratch. Greg has more than five years experience as the General Counsel of prominent public companies - McAfee.com (MCAF) and Plumtree Software, Inc. (PLUM) - leading each of their IPOs. Greg has a B.S. (summa cum laude) from Boston University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. A member of the bar in CA, NY and MA, Greg doubles, in his spare time, as a crime fighting machine, working patrol shifts as a police officer on the San Jose, CA, Police Force, where he has served since 1999.
Kim has over 24 years of experience building businesses and growing companies. Prior to Rafter, Kim was co-Founder and CEO of Right90, where he took the company from inception to acquisition. Before Right90, Kim co-founded and was EVP Products for Fatbrain, an eCommerce provider of books and training materials to businesses. Fatbrain grew to $100M a year in revenue in 5 years, went public and was acquired by Barnes and Noble. Kim has held a variety of software engineering, product, marketing and business development roles at notable technology companies including General Magic and NeXT Computer where he worked for Steve Jobs. Kim advises technology startups and does what he can to help fellow entrepreneurs. Kim has two degrees in physics, which he never uses (one from Reed College and the other from Columbia University), and loves to ski and play squash and soccer.
Since launching the first textbook rental site in 2006, BookRenter has never wavered from our mission to make education more affordable for all students. Every day, we focus on delivering students the best prices, the most flexible options, and the best service on earth. On March 13, 2012 BookRenter.com, Inc. formally changed its name to Rafter, Inc. We are still the same company and the same people, only our corporate name has changed.