Why did you start the business, what was the catalyzing event?
A long-time friend came to me and asked me what I thought about the idea of outsourced accounting. I was already out on my own doing some accounting/consulting work. After running some numbers (not nearly enough, as it turns out) on a white board on my back patio, we thought it was a viable business and decided to start it together.
How did you find your first customer?
They were a vendor for a company a friend of mine worked with and needed accounting help. We pitched them before we had anything. Our proposal presentation was transparent, “Look, we’re thinking about doing this. If you say yes, then we’ll start this company.” A few days later, on January 19, 2001, I received an email from them with the message, “We have decided to accept your proposal. Looking forward to working with you.” At that point we said, “Oh, crap, I guess we have to do this thing now.”
Describe your first office/location.
We came across the local offices of a dying “.com” company (this was in 2001) that was based elsewhere. They had cubicles and offices for 50 people, but there were only 5 people left. We convinced them to let us squat there in a couple of cubicles and use their boardroom for client pitches in exchange for keeping their fridge stocked with beer. Still the best lease deal I’ve ever cut.
What’s the most creative thing you did to get your business started, or kept it going through a tough time?
When we moved into our first real office space, we traded Dallas Cowboys football tickets for office furniture. My original partner had season tickets and we knew someone who was trying to get rid of some really nice furniture. We traded 4 tickets to one game for what I’d estimate to be about $20,000 worth of cubicles.
What’s something quirky or superstitious you do as a CEO?
I’m sure my team would have plenty of suggestions as answers to this question. My personal favorite is that if I’m the last one in the office on Friday evening, as I turn out the lights, I say out loud “We made it another week, they have not killed us yet!” It goes back to some early times at Venturity where getting to Friday and still being around was a huge accomplishment.
What was your last job working for someone else? What was your favorite day job?
My last job working for someone else was working as the one-person accounting department for a physician practice management company in 1999. It was not the industry to be in during 1999, everything was about “.com”. They didn’t get their next round of funding and laid off substantially everyone. Ironically, they later became a client of Venturity for a little while as they were winding down.
Where did you come up with the name for your company?
We had already sold our first deal but didn’t have a name yet. After several lunch discussions and much procrastination, we finally shut ourselves in my home office one night with my wife and started brainstorming ideas, following them up with Google searches. After several hours of futility, my business partner said: “Venture. . . venture-something would be good. . . venture . . . ventur. . .ity. How about Venturity?” No hits on Google. And that became our name.