The Nashua Telegraph, by George Pelletier – In a year that has been rough for local businesses, Nashua-based NewPower Worldwide, located at 107 Northeastern Blvd., has seen record profits while remembering the importance of community.
Founded in 2014 by CEO Carleton Dufoe, NewPower WW provides sourcing, procurement and redistribution of electronic components, selling central processing units, graphics, semiconductors and chipsets.
NewPower was modeled for $100 million in sales and surpassed $300 million in 2019; in 2020, that number was $450 million.
The company is also philanthropic, donating and supporting local charities such as the Nashua Children’s Home and the Plus Company. As Nashua has always been a part of the Dufoe family and vice versa, giving back to the community counts.
“Born and raised here,” Dufoe, who graduated from Rivier University, said. “We could have put the company anywhere. There are lot of places geographically that could have been more beneficial to the company, but this area matters to us and we wanted to make sure we gave back.”
Helping out places like the Nashua Children’s Home is a big deal to Dufoe.
“Those kids didn’t ask to be put in that living environment,” he said. “Anything to make their days brighter, we will do. One of the things that we’ve been doing in the last few years is getting them new shoes or sneakers or whatever they needed.”
Initially based in Singapore, Carleton Dufoe established himself as a global player early on.
“I was in there with another company,” Dufoe said. “I was in the industry for a long time and worked my way up in a lot of different roles. My wife Michelle and I moved to Singapore because a majority of that product came from Singapore.”
After building strong business relationships, Dufoe started NewPower, and built up a sales force and a team to service Singapore and surrounding regions.
“We learned a lot living over there,” he said. “But it was logical that we come back to Nashua and make things happen here.”
Dufoe said it was a family run company in Asia, but there were certain nuances to the company that he said, “weren’t great.”
“I kind of hit a ceiling,” he said. “I always wanted to do my own thing. I always had that itch to do that and came home and told my dad that I was leaving that job and wanted to start out on my own.”
Carleton’s father Jim called him “crazy” in so many words.
Jim Dufoe, who is CFO, developed a business plan with his son and invested in the company.
“It wasn’t so much that he was leaving that job,” Jim Dufoe said. “His roots were deep and his understanding of the industry was deep. But making the switch from working in it to doing it himself was an enormous shift.”
Carleton always had aspirations to start his own business. Going to Singapore with Michelle added a lot to Carleton’s understanding of what he would eventually undertake on his own.
“It was an adjustment,” Michelle said. “It took me about six months in Singapore to get it.”
Ultimately, she loved it.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said.
Growing up in Nashua, Carleton Dufoe said the support of his family was important in wanting to create his own brand with NewPower WW.
“I had their blessing,” Carleton said. “Even though my dad thought I needed medication for a while.”
“The thing that helped him quite a bit was getting confidence to grow on his own,” Jim said of his son Carleton. “This is a worldwide business. This is a $500 million business that has grown in three or four years.”
The company has added more than 20 employees since March 2020 and has offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Netherlands and Hungary.
As the only American in the office when he was working for his previous firm in Singapore, Carleton and Michelle raised their family there but he reiterated that it was the confidence level of meeting new people and forging new business relationships made all the difference in the world.
“We raised our family there,” Carleton said. “Our third daughter was born there. There were a lot of great experiences there. But knowing people who were from different cultures, and were from all parts of the world, you had to learn to work with them.”
Working with people in the U.S. is one thing, Carleton explained, but working with people who weren’t used to working with a western company was another.
“What I learned quickly is that people say ‘yes’ to everything,” Carleton continued. “You give a lot of direction, and people would say that they understood, and then you’d walk out the door and they would do the exact opposite of what they were supposed to do.”
People didn’t want to disappoint the boss.
“When we left, we knew many of the families there in Singapore that I had worked with,” Carleton said. “We stayed in touch and we’re still working there. And when I left that firm to start my own, a lot of those same people were the first to say, ‘I want to come on board with you.’”
Carleton said he did not have a large family inheritance or anything in that vein to start his new company.
“I had to boot-strap it,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot of resources. I got some investments from my brother Aaron and my parents and people invested because they believe, but in this business, it’s never enough. You need a lot of capital.”
Undeterred, Carleton, with his family to lean on, forged ahead with NewPower.
“I think there is a lot to be said about the relationships that Carleton built,” Michelle said. “People trusted him to jump on board with him.”
“For a company like this to be a sourcing organization, to know where to buy parts of a global level, so much of that is done in China and Asia,” Aaron said. “The level of growth that NewPower has experienced has everything to do with Carleton’s knowledge of the market in Asia and the relationships that he built there.”
The last three or four years is nothing normal on a New Hampshire scale, according to the Dufoe family.
“You see something like our kind of growth when something is invented,” Aaron said. “You’ve developed the new iPhone or something. That’s not what it is. He has hired some of the world’s best people. And those people trust Carleton.”
With his family relationships on the line, Carleton said he didn’t start NewPower on a whim.
“This wasn’t like, ‘Hey I want to try this,’” he stated. “This was well thought out, and I’ve always had my family’s support. And when there was a bad idea, they were there to tell me that, too.”