2022: Episodes 138-199
Ep. 199: Grant Goris, CEO of Boon Logic, Minneapolis
Boon Logic, developer of machine-learning based anomaly detection algorithm, is completing its second funding round over the last four years with a nearly $40 million pre-money valuation to support the commercialization of two disruptive services. CEO Grant Goris sits down to discuss how the company was born, how it has grown, and what he’s learned about raising capital along the way.
Ep. 198: Mike Moran, CEO of Walnut Ridge, Cleveland
Mike Moran is the CEO and Managing Partner of Walnut Ridge, multigenerational family office managing investment activities and controlling interest in a number of operating and start-up companies. He stops by to talk about the family office perspective — what they look for in potential acquisition targets, how they differ from other buyer types, and why and in what circumstances a family office is the likely best choice for a seller.
Ep. 197: Mike Morgan, Former CEO of Updox, Columbus
Late in 2020, Updox, a software collaboration platform for out-of-hospital healthcare providers, was acquired by EverCommerce. That year, the pandemic had created for Updox conditions that would make it the busiest time in the company's history as telehealth became a critical channel for both patients and service providers. Former Updox CEO Mike Morgan talks about laying the groundwork for that event, which reportedly led to the company's $143 million exit.
Ep. 196: Dr. Shante Williams, Founder of Black Pearl Global Investments, Charlotte
Dr. Shante Williams has had a remarkable career, one that started as a Research Associate studying how tumor cells migrate to founding two investment firms. Now, as the founder and CEO of Black Pearl Global Investments, she's focused on health care companies with investments that create long-term, sustainable growth while also backing several initiatives that seek to create more successful black, brown and women entrepreneurs, investors and fund managers.
Ep. 195: Michael Schreiber, Founder & CEO of Playfly Sports, Philadelphia
Michael Schreiber knows something about disruption. He was on the team that founded and launched Hulu and led some of the media industry's first digital distribution deals. Now he's leading PlayFly Sports, a full-service sports marketing company managing multimedia rights for universities, state high school associations and other properties, including esports. The fledgling company, with significant backing from Sinclair Broadcast Group and Access Holdings, has already made a slew of acquisitions and grown from a single employee to more than 700. Schreiber talks about building PlayFly, the opportunity in the market it addresses as well as how he deals with doubters when introducing disruptive innovation in the market.
Ep. 194: Jerry Frantz, President of JumpStart Ventures, Cleveland
Is it the best of times or is it the worst of times? With market signals suggesting both economic strength as well as indications that a recession is coming — or that we're in one, or that one isn't coming — uncertainty is the only certainty and it's gripped the investor mindset, shaping perspectives that are driving real changes in where they're putting their dollars, which, of course, has entrepreneurs reacting. JumpStart Ventures President Jerry Frantz joins offers his view of the early-stage market, and what's happening with investors and entrepreneurs.
Ep. 193: Kelly Greene, VP of Corporate Development at Park Place Technologies, Cleveland
Park Place Technologies' Kelly Greene has helped the company write its M&A playbook. From director of human resources to VP of Mergers and Acquisitions, she's completed more than 20 deals for the company, including the recent acquisition of Park Place's largest competitor. She talks about how the M&A process has evolved over her seven years with the company, offers tips on post-deal integration, and shares how a team of stay-at-home moms, of all things, has added speed and efficiency to the company's deals.
Ep. 192: Faith Voinovich, Principal at Ohio Innovation Fund, Columbus
From Faith Voinovich's position as principal at Ohio Innovation Fund, she's seeing an increase in new blood via internships interested in entrepreneurship, eager to work with or start new ventures that can make an impact through meaningful work. Illustrating that change, she says applications for internships with the Fund have gone from a couple hundred to nearly 5,000 in a few years for just five spots. She talks about what she's seeing on the ground as an investor with an Ohio focus, as well as how investment sourcing at the Fund has been affected by the pandemic and ongoing economic uncertainty.
Ep. 191: Linzie Venegas, Co-owner of The Ideal Group, Philadelphia
It may have been out of necessity, but Frank Venegas Jr. began the succession process at a very young age for daughter Linzie and son Jesse. Linzie said she was in a playpen in her father’s office, because they didn’t have the money for sitters and her parents worked long hours. It may have been a hardship then, but its paying dividends today as both Linzie and Jesse have taken over leadership of the company.
Ep. 190: Brian Glick, Founder & CEO of Chain.io, Philadelphia
As supply chain issues continue to wreak havoc for businesses both large and small, Chain.io Founder and CEO Brian Glick hopes to alleviate the problems with its cloud-based integration platform, which lets all the different entities in the chain share data between all their systems. In this episode, he discusses how Chain.io is addressing the problem as well as the company's recent capital raises.
Ep. 189: Eric Sheinkop, CEO of The Desire Company, Chicago
The Desire Company matches and retailers with the right experts to trial, test and review products, producing video reviews for use at the point of sale and across digital marketing channels. These partnerships are proving to drive an increase in conversions, time on site and an increase in marketing effectiveness. Co-founder and CEO Eric Sheinkop discusses the creation of The Desire Company, his experience raising capital for the startup and place for the future.
Ep. 188: Kit Needham, Director of Project Olympus, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
Kit Needham directs Project Olympus, Carnegie Mellon University's incubator that helps students, faculty and alums turn their ideas into viable businesses. She discusses the very earliest stages of entrepreneurship, what tends to trip folks up at this stage and how her experience as an investor informs her approach to coaching the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Ep. 187: Ralph Della Ratta, Partner with Kirtland Capital Partners, Cleveland
Ralph Della Ratta has had a remarkable career that spans four decades, hundreds of public and private M&A deals, and — despite two attempts at retirement — is still going. Ralph talks about his career, his recent retirement from Citizens Bank where he headed up its M&A division and chaired its investment banking committee, and his most recent move to join private equity firm Kirtland Capital Partners.
Ep. 186: David Fitzgerald, Partner with Petra Capital, Nashville
Petra Capital Partners recently completed fundraising on its Peta Growth Fund IV, which gives it $208 million of capital to invest, primarily in the health care space. David Fitzgerald, a partner at Petra, discusses the fund, the fundraising process and investment competition in a still-hot deal market. He also shares a bit of his firm's investment philosophy as well as his outlook on how the remainder of the deal year could play out.
Ep. 185: Kevin Newell, Founder & CEO of Royal Capital Group, Milwaukee
Royal Capital Group Founder and CEO Kevin Newell discovered that when living conditions improve, so do the mental and physical health of those living in the neighborhoods he’s developed. This approach opened a new capital stream through UnitedHealthcare, which is now the largest private investor, providing $5.4 million in equity funding for one of his latest endeavors.
Ep. 184: Samantha Ory, Founder of Ouroboros Group, Boston
Samantha Ory's firm Ouroboros Group is growing. The independent sponsor is building its first fund as it looks to approach sellers with unique strategies catered to the company's goals. She talks about the evolution of her firm, the effects of increased buy-side competition, and how buyer and seller misalignment is affecting deals and what's being done to bridge that gap.
Ep. 183: Jordan Hansell, Founder & CEO of Tradepost, Columbus
Former NetJets CEO Jordan Hansell has launched Tradepost, an investment platform that provides growth capital to mid-market firms. Hansell talks about how the firm approaches the M&A market, as well as how he's coupling his experience in the c-suite with his experience as an investor to help guide the CEOs who lead his portfolio companies.
Ep. 182: Lu Alleruzzo, Co-founder & CEO of Immunophotonics, St. Louis
Lu Alleruzzo, a bioengineer with a MBA, had an opportunity early in his career to understand innovation and immediately apply it to society for the benefit of all. That opportunity — and $88 million in venture capital — fueled him and his biotech company, Immunophotonics, to pioneer a field of cancer care called Interventional Immuno Oncology.
Ep. 181: Len Cosentino, Founder of Checkpoint Surgical, Cleveland
Checkpoint Surgical, a privately held U.S.-based medical device company with proprietary neurostimulation technology for nerve protection and repair, raised $16 million of growth capital in August of 2021. One year later, with those investments in place, the company is shifting into growth mode, a move that comes with substantial changes. Founder Len Cosentino talks about the raise, his process for vetting investors and how Checkpoint is setting itself up for profitability.
Ep. 180: Forrest Tefft, Senior Vice President of Northwest Bank
Forrest Tefft, head of corporate finance at Northwest Bank, has, more than four decades in banking. He has raised more than $14 billion in bank capital and was the originator of more than 70 transactions. Tefft discusses some of the hurdles businesses face in a near post-pandemic world and the things they should consider before making any M&A transactions.
Ep. 179: Melissa Sherman, CEO of MOBILion, Philadelphia
Melissa Sherman went from a MOBILion investor to its CEO. She has lead the still-young company that's focused on developing lab instruments that improve the prediction, diagnosis and treatment of disease through more than $100 million in fundraising to propel it to its next phase. She talks about her transition into the business, what she's learned being on the other side of the fundraising table, and how her experience leading two companies at different lifecycle stages to an exit has informed the way she's building MOBILion.
Ep. 178: Neil Johnson, Managing Partner of Lawrence Evans & Co., Columbus
What options do health care companies have when it comes to funding their business? And what are the pros and cons of each? Neil Johnson, managing partner at Lawrence Evans & Co., a lower-middle-market investment banking, corporate finance and advisory services firm, talks about the many funding options, when each makes sense for a company, and when they don't.
Ep. 177: Steve Cook, Co-Founder of LFM Capital, Nashville
After raising $307 million in capital commitments for his LFM III fund, LFM Capital Partners Co-Founder and Executive Managing Director Steve Cook talks about how the firm will deploy that capital in lower-middle-market manufacturing. LFM was founded by operators, and their time in that role informs their investment approach, meaning they can invest in companies that fall outside the typical PE investment criteria. He talks about the fund, their approach, and how businesses in that sector today are faring.
Ep. 176: Angel St. Jean, CEO of The Black Brain Trust, Baltimore
Angel St. Jean is the co-founder and CEO of the Baltimore tech startup The Black Brain Trust, which has championed a patent-pending methodology for measuring diversity, equity and inclusion in public and private companies and government agencies. Angel stops by the pod to talk about her fundraising experience, the traction DEI has gained in recent years as well as how the specter of ESG reporting beyond the public sector is pressing the issue.
Ep. 175: Jerry Schill, CEO of Schill Grounds Management, Cleveland
Schill Grounds Management, a commercial landscaping company, is growing .... well ... like a weed. Back in late 2019 the company sold a controlling interest to Argonne Capital Group and has since gone on an acquisition spree, adding seven companies into the fold while growing its headcount considerably. Founder and CEO Jerry Schill stops by the pod to talk about the decision to bring on a PE partner, and how both he and the company are evolving through the M&A process.
Ep. 174: Dan & Lauren L'Herbier, owners of Air Duct Maintenance, Pittsburgh
The L’Herbier family was at a crossroads six years ago. The owners of Air Duct Maintenance, Kevin and Debbie L’Herbier, were looking to retire and had to decide what to do with the company they started in 1996. They approached their children, Dan and Lauren, to see if they had interest in taking over leadership. After a brief period, the siblings decided to begin the succession process. But it didn’t go as quickly as everyone had hoped.
Ep. 173: Ron Andrews, CEO of Oncocyte, Nashville
Publicly traded cancer diagnostics company Oncocyte has used several avenues to fund its growth in recent years. President and CEO Ron Andrews discusses the company's latest capital raises and acquisitions. He talks about the company's use of its at-the-market program, how it works, when it's best deployed, and what the raise from it has enabled to the company to do.
Ep. 172: Matt Cordio & Peter Welch, co-founders of Wisconsin Startup Coalition, Milwaukee
The Wisconsin Startup Coalition aims to do as its name implies — build coalitions of people, organizations and companies that can establish a strong foundation on which to build a thriving startup scene in underserved rural areas. Co-founders Matt Cordio and Peter Welch talk about the progress the organization has made since its launch in 2020, and how creating a network of support could lead to putting Wisconsin on investors' maps.
Ep. 171: James Barnes, President of Immaculate Cleaning, Cleveland
James Barnes began his first microenterprise at the age of 14, and launched Immaculate Cleaning Co. in his early 20s. Today the company's founder and president has leveraged the advice of area business leaders to grow Immaculate Cleaning to some 60 employees who service marquee accounts throughout the city. He talks about his entrepreneurial journey and the importance of pushing through the noes to get to the all-important yeses.
Ep. 170: Allison Howard, Founder & CEO of Nollapelli, Pittsburgh
Several years ago, Allison Howard had an “ah-ha” moment when she realized her cotton bedding was damaging her skin and hair — and ultimately disrupting her sleep. In response, she founded Nollapelli to merge beauty science, textile technology and sleep discovery, and prepared the company for early-stage investing.
Ep. 169: Daniel Walsh, CEO of Citymark Capital, Cleveland
Interest rates are on everyone's mind as the Fed promises and delivers on increases to combat inflation. Citymark Capital CEO Daniel Walsh talks about the real estate investment market, what — and where — is hot, and how he sees the investment landscape playing out given the economic currents.
Ep. 168: Chris Lambert, CEO of Life Remodeled, Detroit
Since 2014, Life Remodeled has invested more than $35 million into blighted Detroit neighborhoods to spur economic opportunities, job creation, community centers and business growth. Founder and CEO Chris Lambert talks about the non-profit's progress, its successes, fundraising and its future.
Ep. 167: Dan German, Founder of Orthobrain, Cleveland
Having sold his super successful Dayton-based Orthodontics practice, Dan German has set out on a new venture. Orthobrain brings him up to Cleveland to help general practitioners through a digital venture get the training they need to introduce orthodontics in their businesses. German talks about how his former business is informing his current one, building with the end in mind, what he's learning about fundraising, building a board, and more.
Ep. 166: Christopher Riley, CEO of United Cutwater, St. Louis
United Cutwater CEO Chris Riley has more than 30 years’ experience owning and operating more than a dozen businesses in numerous industries. His personal experiences buying and selling companies, negotiating transactions, overseeing dozens of accountants, attorneys and other professionals allowed him to fine-tune a creative deal construction in the volatile industry of mergers and acquisitions. Chris sat down with Smart Business Dealmakers to discuss the current M&A landscape and how business owners can maximize business value before selling.
Ep. 165: Bill Fox, CEO of Rextar, Baltimore
Bill Fox launched GoIndustry.com around the time the dot-com bubble burst and managed to not only take the online machinery and equipment sales site public, but grow it to 47 offices in 27 countries and some 600 employees. Now, Bill is back with Rextar, an online real estate marketplace that does business as Homesale.plus. The company recently raised its first seed round and Bill expects a more substantial round could follow in 2022. He talks about his GoIndustry experience and how that's informing the way he's building Rextar and Homesale.plus.
Ep. 164: Nadyli Nuñez, Executive Director of Ascender, Pittsburgh
Ascender Executive Director Nadyli Nuñez has guided hundreds of early-stage entrepreneurs through her incubator, co-working programs and numerous early-stage investments to position them for add-on capital as part of their growth journey from scale-up to the middle market. She has a detailed, hands-on approach to ensure the success of her clients.
Ep. 163: Andrew Barnell, CEO of Geneoscopy, St. Louis
Andrew Barnell is the CEO of Geneoscopy, a life sciences company he co-founded with his sister to develop diagnostic tests for gastrointestinal health. The company recently raised $105 million and was ranked the 5th-largest biotech or agtech firm in St. Louis. Andrew talks about the formation of the business, operating a company with family, fundraising and how they'll use their latest round of capital.
Ep. 162: Ken Thomas, CEO of Archangel Protective Services, Nashville
Archangel Protective Services started out with just three people. Today, it has more than 270 employees. Founder and CEO Ken Thomas attributes that exponential growth to his work with the Nashville Business Incubation Center. Now he's paying it forward as an Entrepreneur in Residence at NBIC, sharing the lessons he's learned to help the next generation of business owners unlock their potential.
Ep. 161: Matt Buder Shapiro & Kevin Murphy of Vytalize Health, Cleveland
Having a relationship before the start of the pandemic helped a lot of deals get done, and that was the case when New Jersey-based Vytalize Health acquired Cleveland-based MedPilot back in February 2021. Vytalize Health CFO Kevin Murphy and MedPilot founder Matt Buder Shapiro, now CMO of Vytalize, talk about the transaction, doing the deal during a pandemic, and what they learned through the process.
Ep. 160: Ed Weinfurtner, Chairman of Blue Olive Partners, Cleveland
Great Day Improvements has executed a series of deals that put it among the fastest growing private mid-market companies in Ohio. It's grown from 12 market locations at the beginning of 2018 to over 115 locations in 77 US markets and over 2,200 employees today. Ed Weinfurtner, of Blue Olive Partners, joins us to talk about the initial acquisition and its growth through the years, including two major acquisitions it closed near the end of 2021.
Ep. 159: Ilana Diamond, Managing Partner of 412 Venture Fund, Pittsburgh
412 Venture Fund has only been around a few years, but it's founders and managing partners bring decades of experience to investing in early-stage ventures that have a Pittsburgh connection. Managing Partner Ilana Diamond stops by to talk about the fund, its first exit, the advantage of launching during the pandemic and some of the lessons she passes on based on her years of management, advisory, chair and investor experience.
Ep. 158: Joe Luedtke, CEO of Liturgical Publications, Milwaukee
Liturgical Publications is in its 50th year as a faith-based print advertising company. About 10 years ago, LPi leadership decided to dip their toes into software as a service and created a closed social network for churches to promote events. Somewhere early in the process, a customer asked if a donation mechanism could be added to their closed network. From there, the We Share We Gather arms of LPi took off, eventually processing nearly a third of a billion dollars a year and later selling to Ministry Brands in a high, eight-figure deal. CEO Joe Luedtke talks about the many long nights it took to get the deal to the finish line.
Ep. 157: Mykolas Rambus, CEO of Hush, Detroit
Mykolas Rambus is a serial entrepreneur who founded and sold two previous companies, including Wealth-X, where he served as CEO until its 2016 sale for more than $20 million. Last year, he raised early-stage rounds of capital to build out Hush, a company that offers cybersecurity services. Though the capital raise process went well, Mykolas talks about how better pitch materials would have made for a smoother raise.
Ep. 156: David Dunstan, Managing Director of Citizens M&A Advisory, Cleveland
Despite market turbulence and some handwringing over uncertainty, the deal year looks as if it will be just as strong as it was in 2021. Dave Dunstan, managing director of Citizens M&A Advisory Group, talks about what he's seeing in the market, based in part on feedback from the bank's Middle Market M&A Outlook, a survey of 400 leaders at U.S. middle market companies and private equity firms.
Ep. 155: Ngu Morcho, CEO of KeraLink International, Baltimore
KeraLink International CEO Ngu Morcho has more than 20 years of experience in early-stage technology development working in Africa and across India and Southeast Asia. Today, Morcho’s mission is to end corneal blindness globally as the head of operations at KeraLink. To fund this mission, KeraLink uses a blended finance model — a combination of grants, concessional equity and debt that is used together to develop a sustainable business model.
Ep. 154: Matt Spettel, Co-founder & CEO of Co-Pilot, Pittsburgh
Co-Pilot is an online coaching platform designed to provide a one-on-one fitness coaching experience that pairs individuals with a dedicated coach. The company raised nearly $6 million in January, which followed a more-than $4 million raise back in 2021. Co-founder and CEO Matt Spettel talks about the company's growth, fundraising, and expanding the team.
Ep. 153: Jonathan Hatch, President of Little Mountain Industries, Cleveland
Supply chain issues are a real problem for buyers. Jonathan Hatch, president of Little Mountain Industries, says diligence now has to be much more thorough, which means the independent sponsor group has become pickier with its targets. Hatch talks about buying manufacturing companies at a time when labor shortages and supply chain hang ups change the M&A math.
Ep. 152: John Huhn, Founder of Compass Group Equity Partners, St. Louis
Compass Group Equity Partners goes into every investment with a 100-day plan. They’re ready and prepared to move quickly, which they did when they purchased Sunpro Solar in 2020. Compass Group’s playbook includes augmenting the team and building a board deck with metrics and key performance indicators and having a written strategic plan. John Huhn, founder and managing partner of Compass Group, talks about how that plan enabled the independent sponsor to buy and sell Sunpro at a several time multiple in less than a year.
Ep 151: Stuart Clark, CEO of Premise Health, Nashville
Early on in his career, Stu Clark downplayed concepts like culture and team when it came to strategic acquisitions, opting instead for a finance- and execution-driven mindset. But he's since changed his mind. Today, the CEO of Premise Health says culture is key, so much so that he'd rather spend more on a company with a great team than get a bargain on a company that has a poor culture. In this episode, Clark talks about this change in thinking, and why strong teams are critical to a Premise Health acquisition.
Ep 150: Anthony Manna, CEO of Signet Enterprises, Cleveland
There are a number of important steps that happen between the time a seller is ready to take their company to market and when buyer diligence starts. One of the tools used in the negotiation process at that stage is a letter of intent. Signet Enterprises Chairman and CEO Anthony Manna breaks down this early stage of the deal and what choices sellers need to make as they take their company to market.
Ep 149: Jim Stern, General Counsel of A.O. Smith, Milwaukee
Amid the pandemic, Milwaukee-based A. O. Smith closed the acquisition of Canada's Giant Factories — a deal nearly a decade in the making. Although the deal went smoothly, there were some interesting aspects about it that kept both sides on their toes, says Jim Stern, executive vice president and general counsel of A.O. Smith.
Ep 148: Cor Hoekstra, co-founder of Amicus.io, Charlotte
Cor Hoekstra co-founded fintech company Amicus.io to align the incentives of donors, financial institutions, corporations and philanthropic organizations for charitable giving at scale. Shortly before selling the business to TIFIN, Cor sat down with us to talk about how his work for tech giants such as Oracle and IBM informed the venture and attracting investors.
Ep 147: Lou Schneeberger, Executive Chairman of Proformex, Cleveland
Lou Schneeberger, Executive Chairman of Proformex, has been buying and selling companies for years. Today he is seeing what he calls a COVID backlog. Companies that were looking to sell but struggled during the pandemic chose to wait until the market stabilized. Now, many of those companies' M&A aspirations are waking up from their pandemic hibernation. Lou talks about those companies and how they're preparing to capitalize on their highest potential valuations.
Ep 146: Cesar Gueikian, Brand President of Gibson Brands, Nashville
Brand President Cesar Gueikian discusses Gibson Brands' 2021 acquisition of well-known guitar amp manufacturer Mesa/Boogie, as well as how he is helping to move Gibson forward by identifying its purpose.
Ep 145: Matt Mastarone, CEO of TTG Imaging Solutions, Pittsburgh
CEO Matt Mastarone and the TTG Imaging Solutions team started a search for a new capital partner in January of 2021. By May, they were in New York City doing early-look meetings with potential private equity firms its investment banker thought would be interested. In August, the molecular Imaging company had narrowed the search to two firms and were close to getting a deal done; however, supply chain concerns scared those two firms off. As a result, TTG had to come up with a thorough study on its supply chain issues to ease concerns. After doing so, they reengaged another set of bidders and managed to get the deal done in time for Christmas.
Ep 144: Edward Goldberg, CEO of Perimeter Solutions, St. Louis
Perimeter Solutions CEO Edward Goldberg worked with EverArc Holdings to complete in just a few months a merger process that normally would take years. And to make things even more problematic was the fact that they did it primarily in a virtual world.
Ep 143: Tony Montanaro, partner with Louis Plung & Co., Pittsburgh
The M&A market continues to be red hot with buyers competing for deals and sellers benefiting in the process. But what does it take to get your company ready for a sale? What is a quality of earnings report and how might it benefit sellers to get one done? Tony Montanaro, a partner with Louis Plung & Co., offers a look at deals from a buyer's perspective: what they like to see in diligence that speeds a deal to close, and what they don't like to find — problems that could mean they walk away.
Ep 142: Paul Larson, CEO of Larson Financial Holdings, St. Louis
The pandemic has been a major factor in the commercial real estate market. It's had an impact on everything from where companies are based to how long it takes to get things built. Paul Larson, CEO of Larson Financial Holdings, sits down to give his characterization of the market, where opportunities and challenges exist, and his advice for those looking to invest this year.
Ep 141: Scott Bushkie, Managing Partner of Cornerstone Business Services, Milwaukee
When it comes to the timing of a sale, there are things you can control, such as preparing your management team or tidying up your books, and there are things you can't, such as buyer appetite. Scott Bushkie, managing partner and founder of Cornerstone Business Services, says timing may be the most important element of a sale, and offers both his insight and advice on how sellers can leverage timing to their advantage.
Ep 140: Andy Vollmer, Managing Director of Bellmark Partners, Cleveland
Andy Vollmer, managing director of Bellmark Partners, discusses the record level of M&A activity in 2021, the factors driving that dealmaking, the consequences for buyers and sellers, and what we can expect throughout 2022.
Ep 139: Stephen Vitale, CEO of Pyrotecnico, Pittsburgh
COVID was a game wrecker for those in the entertainment business. Pyrotecnico President & CEO Stephen Vitale saw this firsthand when his special effects and fireworks display company had to make major cuts to remain operational. But amid the chaos, he also saw opportunity. He found a financial partner and made five acquisitions that helped Pyrotecnico grow significantly. We talked with Vitale, as well as his outside council Bill Buck, about the 132-year-old family business and its very busy dealmaking year.
Ep 138: Bob Norton, Founder & CEO of AirTight Management, Houston
Bob Norton, founder and CEO of AirTight Management, has been a serial entrepreneur for more than 30 years. In that time, he's seen startups launch, grow, succeed and fail. He talks about what separates those who succeed from those who don't, what investors are looking for at the earliest stages, and how insisting that your buddy from college remains your CTO for life might not be the best strategy for winning that Series A.