Feb 25, 2019

Member Spotlight | Dockmaster


Business: DockMaster Software pioneered the marine management software industry, deploying the first marine management system.

Launched: 1984

HQ: West Palm Beach

Employees: 20

CEO: Cam Collins

Website: dockmaster.com


Cam Collins is a 7th generation Floridian. In fact, his great-great-great-great grandfather was the first elected governor of Florida.

But this sun-loving Floridian flew the coop for a while, working at startups and building a successful software business, Lexington Software Associates, in Massachusetts that was acquired by a Silicon Valley darling during the dotcom boom.

By 2002, after the dotcom bust, the world had changed and so had Collins. Collins had become a new dad and traveling five days a week just wasn’t going to cut it, though he wanted to continue in the software business.

“I’ve always been a big boater and grew up in South Florida, and we found the DockMaster business for sale. I thought what a great match for me. ”

Collins bought DockMaster and began running the business in 2003.

The Dockmaster Team setup at a trade show

DockMaster today is a business management software platform for the recreational marine industry. For businesses like boatyards, marinas and dealerships, “we sell a product that effectively runs the businesses of these companies,” Collins said.

Still it was a sea change from the last company he had worked for, Interwoven, the Silicon Valley company that had acquired his company in Massachusetts.  

“Interwoven was on the bleeding edge of Internet technology in the dotcom era, so I am now trying to shift my thinking from fast moving Web 1.0 to ‘now I own a software technology that is character based and is selling to a very slow moving, very conservative marine industry’.”

Yes, you read that right: DockMaster was a character based software system. The company was founded in 1984, a year marked by the launch of DOS. Yet, Collins and his team were up for the challenge: “My vision back then was just to migrate the character based system to Windows.”

Fast forward through the years, and DockMaster has evolved and innovated. In 2012, the company was one of the first in the marine industry to come out with an API to connect various third-party applications to it.  Today, the cloud-based DockMaster has 16 integration partners, including Salesforce and apps for SMS messaging and mobile fuel management. “That’s how the vision has evolved. “

DockMaster today can handle accounting, inventory control and business management for the marine industry. There’s a reservation system for booking a slip, a visualization tool for moving boats around and applications for sales and service.

“One of the things unique about DockMaster is that we have a full marina component and we can manage multiple marina properties,” Collins said. “If you are a boat dealership and you have a marina, we are a real good fit for you.”


Example of a Customer UI

Since 2013, DockMaster has been sold twice, but Collins has continued to stay at the helm. In the most recent ownership change, in May 2017, DockMaster was purchased by Valsoft. Based in Canada, Valsoft is a vertical market software company that owns 14 companies so far.

Since the sale, DockMaster has been cruising and Collins’ role has grown, too.  

Collins, an executive with Valsoft, is president of Dockmaster and also runs Valsoft’s GG Golf, the leading golf management software in Canada.

Since Valsoft acquired DockMaster, DockMaster has tripled profits and improved top line growth at the same time. In 2018, ARR alone grew 12 percent, Collins said.

Personalized Yeti Mugs are one employee Perk

DockMaster, with 20 employees, is continuing to grow its market space with new product offerings. It recently announced it is about to roll out a mobile app for field service techs.

These days, Collins is also co-chair of Palm Beach Tech with David Bates. In that role, he has been focused on the launch and rollout of 1909, a rebranding and total refacing of Palm Beach Tech’s downtown West Palm Beach co-working space, including the move to larger quarters on the second floor.

“What I am mostly focused on is promoting the space and getting people to see it and be a part of the culture and connect with the energy. You can rent a desk for a day or you could have a dedicated office, and everything in between. It really is one of the top tier entrepreneurial spaces in the county.”

This 7th generation Floridian, who also mentors young companies, has some advice: Connect with other entrepreneurs in the area.

“When you get into a place like 1909, you realize you are not alone and there is a support network there for you.”