Karayi says: “At the time we founded the business, there were some websites available and I had a very interesting discussion with a guy in Hong Kong about the one we liked – www.1e.com. It’s actually one of the stop messages that Windows has so it’s a geeky kind of name. They weren’t going to release any other two-character websites but I managed to negotiate a fantastic price.”
Far from being a chore, the London-based entrepreneur says the negotiation was a lot of fun. "The guy had bought a whole lot of names and all he wanted to do was sell them," he recalls. "We never bought the .co.uk because the people were really hard to deal with.”
Karayi founded 1E with fellow ex-Microsoft contractors Phil Wilcock and Mark Blackburn. They each put £500 into the business, which is now turning over around £15m and has 118 employees plus a subsidiary company in India.
The company provides software and services to enhance clients’ use of Microsoft technologies. One of its solutions has been touted as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Karayi now owns the majority of the shares in the company having bought his partners out a few years ago. He says: “Mark is now heading up innovation while Phil has gone off to become an organic pig farmer. He came from a farming background and always wanted to go back to the farm.”