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Former Trade Exchange Owner Ray Bastarache Scores Again...Turning $50,000 Into $5.2 Million

Our cover story of BarterNews Issue #20, published in 1989, was about Ray Bastarache, the young, ambitious, and extremely focused 28-year-old founder of BarterNetwork Inc. (BNI).

My visit to Milford (CT), where I spent three days with Bastarache, was a most noteworthy one. For the first time, I became aware of how the second generation of exchange owners...the younger ones...were different than their predecessors.

It was Bastarache who first suggested that his generation would be the ones to truly tap the potential and riches of the commercial barter industry.

And it was a decade later that Bastarache did so, selling his company to the first of the dot-com venture capital firms´┐Ż (The sale was announced at the IRTA convention in Vancouver, Canada, and reported on in Issue #51.)

In that sale Bastarache, unlike his peers, again showed wisdom beyond his years, when he chose to take all cash, rather than the promise of a greater return in stock and options. (Which in retrospect was the right move, as BarterTrust ultimately filed bankruptcy.)

Never satisfied, he was involved in other business ventures while running BNI. Among his most profitable moves was the purchase of a large Milford downtown office building in 1992. He picked it up from the FDIC in a foreclosure sale, for $50,100.00.

I vividly remember our phone conversation after the deal was completed, when he ecstatically explained that he had negotiated to lease some of the spaces in the underground parking garage back to the city, which would cover most of the amortization of the building´┐Żs loan he had just finalized. Quite an accomplishment for a young man in his thirties!

Bastarache quickly took action, making necessary improvements and turning the vacant shell into commercial offices. He then moved BNI into the building and leased out the remaining space. Much of the improvements were done on trade.

Last week Bastarache, who now lives in Massachusetts, sold the Harbor Towers Building at 1 New Haven Avenue for $5,225,000...100 times the amount he paid for it.

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