Mike Schulte, Principal at Great North Ventures, on Episode 15, “Execution is King” (Part 2)
In the second of a two-part episode, we cover the most common concerns startup founders run into on fundraising, from our guest Mike Schulte, Principal and in-house legal expert at Great North Ventures who holds a JD/MBA from St. Thomas University.
Schulte at St. Thomas, covered the Healthcare IT sector as an MBA student manager for the Aristotle Fund. Next, he spent 20 mos as a Venture Associate at Soffer Charbonnet Law Group where he worked with clients of all sizes providing advise on legal matters ranging from offering memorandums for private placements to mergers & acquisitions. Mike has led legal and actively contributed to investing since joining Great North Ventures in January of 2018.
In this episode, we talk about fundraising, liquidation preferences, SAFE notes, and board structure.
Welcome to the execution is King podcast where we talk to successful startup owners, investors and ecosystem builders to uncover insights and best practices for the next generation of freight global startups. I’m Joseph Siebert, your host, with DTS, my co host, Rob lever managing partner at Great North ventures. Hey, Rob, how you doing today?
I’m doing great. How are you?
I’m great. Yeah, this is this is new ground. For us. This is our first two part episode. This is part two, part one we brought on Mike Sheltie, who is a principal at Great North ventures. And he shared a lot about entity creation, settling on a name, and also tax implications for founders. But we just went on and on and we decided to bring them back. What are we going to talk to him about this episode rather?
Well, this time around, we’re going to have Mike, provide us with some perspective on fundraising. We’ve been a part of many fundraising rounds since we started Great North ventures a few years ago, and I think he’s in a great position to kind of comment on some of the things that he’s seeing and just share some stories. And so but you know, remember, this podcast is not for legal tax accounting advice. We’re just sharing stories. definitely consult your, your lawyer or tax accountant if you need guidance on these matters.
Absolutely. Welcome back to the podcast. Mike, let’s talk about fundraising.
And what are some of the things entrepreneurs need to be thinking about when they are looking at raising early stage venture capital? What are some of the things you see in working with a portfolio of founders in Great North ventures fund?
Sure, absolutely. Look for the companies in our portfolio, I think, and I think you probably see the same thing. I think, maybe the first time we meet them, they’re a lot more green in terms of fundraising. But then, as they continue to work with us, and as they go out and raise new rounds and meet other venture capital funds that invest in the company, they start to understand the landscape a little bit more, and they get much better at it. When would you agree, Rob?
Yeah, I think so. I think it definitely, you know, fundraising, like a lot of the skills, you need to be an entrepreneur, to be good at fundraising, you need to you need to experience it, you need to learn it, learn how to do it. But I think you can come to the table with a prepared mind, you know, by just by and probably just help yourself to move more quickly and not make mistakes or make better decisions, and maybe make your make it a little bit less fuzzy. But I agree with you, I do think the founders that typically, they do, they do get a lot better over time.
I think for those first time fundraisers, one of the biggest things I see that trips them up and causes them problems, is they’re just not familiar with what they’re actually doing, and what they’re actually selling to investors. So I think it’s really important to, on the front end, get familiar with that there’s, and one of the best ways I recommend to do is there’s a book out there called Venture deals by Brad Feld, I highly recommend all founders read this before you go out and raise capital, it’ll just help to orient you on what is each specific term that you’re going to be negotiating mean, and how does it affect you?
So Mike, what sort of rights or preferences are normal? Are there standards or things that are required to be included when you’re fundraising?
Yeah, there’s absolutely, especially in seed stage, early stage venture financing. There are, let’s call them standardized terms. There’s obviously a lot of circumstances where arrangements can divert, but let’s just walk through some of them. The first one, let’s be clear you, you are going to be selling a class of stock that is different from the class of stock you own as a founder. So as a founder, you most likely own common stock, but you’re going to be selling preferred stock to your investors. And the purpose of this is the preferred stock is going to have certain rights or preferences or privileges that they serve to incentivize the investor to take on the major risk that your business presents to them. So I think just upfront, get caught comfortable with it that the preferred stock you’re selling to founders is going to be more attractive than your common stock. Let’s just dive right into what I think is probably the most important preference that we’ll attach to the preferred stock. And that’s the liquidation preference. It’s pretty standard. Now, for your first round of preferred stock, let’s call it Series C preferred stock to have a 1x liquidation preference, it can go up to 2x 3x. If you get an offer for something above one at a 1x liquidation preference, you should definitely talk to your advisors and ask them. Does this make sense? The answer is probably no.
Obviously, we most of the investments we make are actually probably all have liquidation preferences. Can you talk about the different types of liquidation preferences and what a founder needs to be kind of thinking about with respect to negotiating their round?
Absolutely. So let’s first just say like, what is the liquidation preference, and really what you’re saying with if you give somebody a one next liquidation preference, what you’re saying is, you are going to pay that person back before the common stock or the founders before they get anything. So basically, if somebody invest some million dollars into your business, you’re going to give them that million dollars back before you distribute any proceeds to any of the other shareholders. And this is important for investors, they want to know that when they’re investing in a small team, and maybe a single founder team, they want to know that they’re not just giving this person a zero interest loan. And well, for that the founder is going to pull money out of the company, they want to feel like there’s a good chance they’re going to get their money back instead of just going to be the founders or the owners of the company. Yeah,
I think there’s this. So I have to say a couple of points on these liquidation preferences, because I’ve been on both sides of the tables. So when I was set up as my first company as an LLC, ran for 16 years, everyone had common membership interests, we just had one small angel round, and all the angels got membership interest, so there was no preferences. And I was really adamant about that one, because we contributed some assets and some cash to start the business. And I just felt like I wanted everyone to be treated the shares to all be treated equal. And it didn’t ultimately, I don’t think it really mattered that much. At the end of the day, we have different bases in the business. Because of that, you know, but it didn’t really matter as much. But now, you know, on the other side of the table, I can say as a VC, what I see happening generally in like, say, let’s say your preferences are really going to generally matter the most. And when exits aren’t that great, right? Let’s say you have a company that you’re selling for basically the cash that you invested, let’s say you raise 3 million, and you’re selling it for 3 million cash and maybe some earnout, or something. What I see end up happening from the acquirers is often they’re loading up as much employee compensation, after the acquisition, to basically put as much value into the entrepreneur into their pocket and into the state team, I call it whoever’s working at that startup that they want to keep. And basically, they don’t have any incentive to pay back the investors. So I actually think this creates kind of a balance that I think is fair, you know, in my mind, you know, if you if we didn’t have preferences and VC deals, then the acquires on these on the downside deals, would likely just push all the consideration into employment and investors would get nothing, not even their money back. So I actually think this balance of having a 1x preference, I actually think in the down cases, it actually it creates a more fair environment for I think both sides of the table, but then in the really upside cases, you know, everybody’s happy, no one who has 1,000x exit is gone. Man, I wish I would have got 1000, you know, 1,001x? Right. So I think it’s so in these cases, I think, I think I think the 1x preference that the market has kind of come to you I think in this recessionary time, you know, part of me thinks maybe we’ll see VCs trying to push that up a little bit, maybe a little bit higher preferences. We don’t see a lot of that right, Mike, but it does happen sometimes.
It’s it’s still something that I think VCs are trying to figure out. Sometimes we do see, we have seen preferences getting pushed up lately, just with the valuation inflation that has occurred, and it’s made it easier for founders to say yes to small acquisition offers because those small acquisition offers aren’t as small as they were 10 years ago. So the economics of the deal are a little bit different. Whereas maybe those offers 10 years ago, were say, 7 million dollars and there was a $7 million liquidation preference. In a scenario like that the founder wouldn’t get anything. So they would just say no to that kind of offer. And you can see that the founders incentives and the investors incentives are aligned to grow the business bigger. Whereas as we’ve seen this bull market continue to rise, and we see valuations go up. Now, these founders, they still have a $7 million liquidation preference. But these early acquisition offers, they may be 10 million or 15 million now, in which case that can pay off pay out their liquidation preference, and then there’s still money to distribute to the founders. A lot of times, it doesn’t produce good returns for the investors. So 1.0, maybe we’ll start to see a 1.0 a x liquidation preference, meaning you have to return the investors money back plus an 8% annual return. This is something that’s common and other types of private equity funds or real estate funds, basically are telling your investors, you’ll beat the market if you invest into us. We have not really seen that yet in venture capital. But I talked to a lot of funds who are talking about how do we bring these incentives back into alignment, and everybody seems to be talking about liquidation preferences might be where it happens, I am not seeing it on mass yet.
Right. So I think that’s a there’s obviously can go really deep on these preferences.
And they can get very complicated, especially in later series D stage deals, just be hesitant to stack preferences, big preferences in your earliest financing rounds. Because if let’s say you give somebody a 2x participating preferred stock early, you’re gonna have to give that to your next round of preferred investors, and then the next round of preferred investors. And eventually, you’re going to have this huge liquidation preference that you have to pay off before you get anything. So be careful about giving anybody more than 1x. If you’re going to give somebody more than 1x, there has to be a really good reason to do it.
The let’s thanks for the quick kind of overview on preferences and these fundraising rounds. Can we shift gears a little bit and talk about some of some of the other terms I know, a common term that is often negotiated between VCs and founders is board seat rights and the rights centered around governance of the company. Can you talk about kind of what you’re seeing in these venture deals? What kind of what are what do you typically see in a seed round or a Series A round in terms of board rights?
Yeah, so this looks a little different for every company, it kinda depends on who the founding team is, how many of them are going to be on the board. But when you raise your first round of VC capital, it’s, it’s very common for that first round of preferred capital to have their very own board seat, so that they have a say in the major strategic discussions that and the major strategic decisions of the companies making really this is hiring, firing of officers, fundraising, preparing for fundraising, your board should be a critical part of that project to fund your next fundraising round. But when it comes to day to day, your board is not going to be heavily involved. And I don’t think most founders should expect them to be.
You know, actually, I think, Rob, you have a ton of experience. I’d like to hear from you and your perspective, what you look for when adding someone to a board.
Well, I really liked how Mike framed it there. Because I think you had when you think about the stage of your business, you have to think about what is your organizational needs. And I think a board is sort of a fluid thing, what you need it at the seed stage is different than what you need when you’re prepping for an IPO. Right. But as Mike alluded to, the primary responsibilities of the board will really their is really centered around their fiduciary and kind of governance of the of the company. I think a lot of founders that are maybe setting up their board the first time they’re looking for, like operating advice, or how do I start? How do I you know, how do I build the right product or different different operational things, but that’s not probably the way you want to use your board, you might want to set up like an advisory board of people who can provide you more operating guidance, although I would say an early stage startup, it’s okay. Maybe you’ll have a little more operating, you know, kind of board, that type of that type of background, but you shouldn’t only have that even in the seed stages. So often you’ll want to find someone who probably like finance or legal experience to join the board. And maybe ideally, they also come from the history. So they bring some perspective and connections, but they have that kind of legal or fiduciary kind of mindset. But then and then from there, I think, you know, there’s, there’s you could go on maybe we’ll do a whole nother podcast episode on how do you get value from a board? Because oh man is so different, you know, the the number, there are so many different ways to run a board. Let’s get into that on another episode, maybe we’ll bring Mike back, or we’ll, we’ll have to do that. But I think there are board seats that actually have a vote. And then there’s often observer role seats. And I would say, if multiple VCs are requiring board governance or board voting rights, often you can negotiate them to just observe a rights, they just want to be in the room where it happens, right? They want to know what’s going on, they don’t want some funding round Devi orchestrated at the board meeting, and then they get they get, they don’t get their pro rata rights, or, you know, they’re not able to participate, or they don’t have as much time as the others because they weren’t in the room, you know, and they’re not prepping for it. So I think this is why board observer seats are actually pretty common when you’re getting multiple VCs, especially when they’re investing large amounts of money in a round, or is that pretty typical? Mike? Or have you seen that?
Absolutely, absolutely. Like our, our kind of view on it at Great North ventures, as is if we think we’re in a good position to add value, sure, we’ll take a board seat. But no matter what we need an observer seat, we just need to know what’s going on with the company. From a founders perspective, I would say the biggest problem I see with their initial board construction is add, they add people to the board, as you mentioned, who should probably be in an advisory role or bring on to consult on special projects, but your board, I think it’s really important to make sure that they have a vested interest in the company. Usually, this means they’re either an owner or an investor in that in the business. If you don’t have somebody with that vested interest, I think that it’s hard to get the value that you should be getting out of your board.
And one other little thing that we see, you know, once in a while that investors might pull on their on the founders is that is negotiating compensation for like their board seat, so that they’re getting paid. That’s pretty unusual for VCs and investors. Right, Mike, it’s kind of a, that’s kind of a catch a, you know, kind of moment there. If they if you let them put that in the agreement, that’s not really market, your Vichy should be participating in the bore because of the you know, to protect the investment they made, not as a way to get additional compensation, right,
exactly. It’s not uncommon to cover travel expenses, like plane and a hotel. But for these companies, you should not be spending $100,000 on your annual board meetings, you should not be paying a stipend, even to these board members, they should be participating because they want to see the company do well. That’s why where I mentioned, it’s important that they have a vested interest.
Like I want them to pick me up on the private jet on their way to the Yellowstone club. So we can go and watch a herd of buffalo before the morning board meeting, right?
I thought all the board meetings were now virtual. So there’s not even any there’s nothing even to give them reimbursement for. But yes, reimbursement is common. Honestly, when we participate, we don’t even ask for reimbursement from our founders, we would rather have them put that money to use elsewhere. With employees, I think it can be, it can add more value.
I’m not super experienced with this type of governance. But you know, I’ve heard stories about people like stalking their board with like their grandma, you know, or their mom or their their boyfriend or something just like for like to maintain control of the company? Is that something you guys have ever run into?
A couple of times, I’d say I don’t know about Mike. But I mean, I think as a founder, though, you’re, you’re always you’re kind of always trying to promote the business. And I don’t think that’s, you definitely don’t want to do that. I mean, it just makes you look kind of silly. And it actually can create a dysfunctional board. Like, I don’t want to get into specific examples here. But it’s definitely like, you know, when you’re on a board, you want to be surround yourself with people who can help you build the business, right? So, so put people on the board that have either scaled what, you know, been through it before, or bring up some other functional knowledge, like, you know, at least if you unless your grandma was like, the world’s best lawyer, or, you know, for startups, or, you know, former CFO of Google or something, you know, you probably should probably be on your board. Not to mention there’s a conflict of interest there. You know, when you’re dealing with family, and you don’t want to have those conflicts and you don’t want to have you don’t want to have underperforming board members. That’s just think of that as this being an extension of leadership of your company, right?
Absolutely. We do see it a lot and it’s not always As an issue, sometimes I see a lot of like Robin Ryan, Rob, Rob’s twin brother Ryan and him have built a lot of businesses together. And it makes sense that they’re both on the board. And that’s the case with a lot of other startups. But if it is, somebody who maybe doesn’t need to be on the board will usually have that discussion. And upfront, when we begin a financing round and talk with the founder and be like, Okay, we think the board should be restructured, here’s what we’re thinking, and why. And for founders, I think, be open to those discussions, I think it’s easy to look at this as it’s the investors versus me, but now you really want to go into it with the mind of it’s a partnership. And they have the my company’s best interest to,
I do have to take a shot at my brother Ryan here. So a couple of little funny stories. When we started our company, this is kind of a tangent from the board discussion, but I decided I would be the CEO. And he would be like the chief product officer. And the main reason was, is I spent some time in business school, and he didn’t. But the joke we used to always tell everybody is that when the armwrestling match, that’s why even though we had the same equity amount, I was stronger than him. But really, if you are looking for a Weber brother to join your board, you definitely want me versus Ryan, I’m definitely a lot smarter than him. And you know, it will bring a lot more value in connections to your board. So just keep that in mind. You’re picking it to him to join your board pick, Rob,
when was the last armwrestling match?
We might have to redo that one for maybe a future episode, we want to write an AI and come on and we can arm wrestle or something I
don’t know. I’d love to see that.
Mike, there’s another form of investment that is kind of become more popular. Of course, Y Combinator I think was really one of the big. I had a big influence that kind of adoption of safe nodes. Can you kind of talk about the differences in raising like a price round versus a safe note? And maybe any things that founders should know when they’re raising a safe?
Sure, absolutely. Studies have become a very common way for early stage startups to fundraise I think they came about in like 2012, somewhere somewhere in that that brands Y Combinator created this document to obtain equity and some of their cohort companies. And the really, the purpose of it was is obviously when you’re I think founders and investors struggle with this, similarly, in these early stage companies is, how do we really value them, there’s no cash flows to value, there’s not really even a lot of comps to value them based on. So it’s just really tough to value. And what the safe does is it kind of kicks that can down the road, it says so basically, how it works is you say I’m going to invest $100,000 with a valuation cap of 7 million, let’s say for round numbers, I’m going to invest $100,000 with a valuation cap of 10 million. And what this basically means is that you don’t have any preferred stock, you get put in the next financing round your set, your $100,000 safe note will convert into that class of preferred stock. And it will no matter what that valuation is, you will you will not convert above a $10 million valuation. So you’re not setting the valuation in a safe note, but you’re setting a ceiling on it, so that it can’t go above it. And this gives the investors some that gives them some level of certainty as to what they’re buying. So if you say I’m buying $100,000 In a on a $10 million cap note, you know you’re buying at least 1% of that company $100,000 divided by 10 million is 1%.
One of the other terms of safe notes that we see founders trip up on some time is just whether or not it should be a pre money safe or a post money safe. Can you describe what that what that means? And you know, kind of what you see is sort of the market in terms of deals using safes.
Yeah, sure. So the first Y Combinator says we’re pre money. And basically it means that they were included a pre money valuation cap, not a post money valuation cap. Now, for an investor, they want some certainty as to how much of the company they’re buying, and they need the post money valuation cap to do that. In the early years the pre money it was close enough big As founders were maybe only raising a couple of $100,000 on safe notes. So really, if you’re raising a $10 million pre money cap, and you raise $200,000 In safes, the post money valuation cap is $10.2 million. It’s the pre money, plus the money raised on safes equals the post money valuation cap. So in the early years, there wasn’t too big of an issue, it was investors still felt pretty comfortable that they knew what they were buying. But as time went on, founders realized, wow, these safe notes are just way easier to raise money on, they’re way faster, they’re way cheaper. They don’t need to pay their attorneys 3040 $50,000 to put together a deal documents, and they don’t need to pull together, these complex closings with all these with my finding a lead investor. So founders started raising more and more and more on the safe nodes over longer periods of time. And they weren’t converting for several years, sometimes I’ve seen some companies raise $6 million on safe notes. If you’re raising $6 million on a $10 million pre money valuation cap that makes your post money valuation cap $16 million 60% higher than the VC was initially bargaining for. So Y Combinator saw this. And they were like, Okay, well, if founders are going to raise this much money on safes, let’s change the terms of the to align incentives. So they changed it to a post money safe. If you’re using a pre money safe, because they’re still out there, I still see him all the time, just know that your investors are probably going to catch it. And they’re probably going to ask you to change it to a post money valuation.
That was super helpful, Mike, thanks for providing that perspective. I think, you know, I think one way to think about how you would use a safe is really more as a bridge towards a price round. And I think founders sometimes get away from that they think, hey, let’s use a safe just as our this is like going to be our big funding round. No, generally, safes are meant as sort of a bridge to that next price round. Right? Isn’t that what it was ultimately kind of created for that to be your your actual round, but kind of?
Yeah, I think that’s what it was created for. And it’s kind of, I think we’re seeing a lot of changing dynamics in the early stage financing. World safes are one of those. And I don’t know if that’s how founders are still looking at it. And I think that VCs have gotten a lot more comfortable with raising large numbers on space to not always I know from Great North ventures perspective, sometimes we’re okay with 1 million to $3 million rounds being raised on safes, just because of the administrative ease. But there’s other times where we may have reason to, we want to set the terms of that preferred stock up front. Rather than wait for the next investor to set the terms. I’m talking about terms other than valuation. It could be like liquidation preference and things like that, that we talked about.
One more question about safe notes for founders to think about, do all the investors that have come in on a safe note end up getting the same terms? And does that ever create conflict?
So there are a couple of different ways that I see as common. Now, as I mentioned, I’ve seen companies raised $6 million on these things. They don’t do it all at once they do it over several years. So imagine for founder’s listening, imagine your company and let’s say in 2020, maybe you were raising on a safe with a $10 million post money valuation cap, let’s say a year and a half later, you want to write and you raise $1 million at that valuation cap, and then a year and a half later, you want to go out and raise some more money. So why would you issue the same? Or why would you raise at the same valuation cap, presumably your company has appreciated in value and you can now raise at a higher valuation cap. And in theory, and in practice, you can issue says at all different terms, and you don’t need to wait for any set period of time. So today, you could issue a $10 million post money safe, and then tomorrow, you could go out to a new investor and issue a $5 million post money safe as an Bester, I always asked to see everything you’ve ever issued. And then I looked at when were they issued and at what price if I see a whole lot of fluctuation, I don’t want to say that it makes me distrust the founder. But it makes me not trust the valuation so much as if they’re just being opportunistic. So I think it is in the founders best interest to set a valuation cap, and then only increase it when your operating performance supports that increase.
I was just smiling when I hear opportunistic, you know, because I think that’s a great way to think about off, sometimes, both sides of the table are trying to create an advantage, you know, it’s absolutely negotiating So, and I can think of many situations where founders were particularly good, or more so on that side, where they are very opportunistic, and leveraging the terms to their advantage and whatnot. When should you be thinking about raising on a safe note versus a price round?
Yeah, I get this question a lot. And my answer has changed over the years as the landscape and as investors more and more investors are now comfortable, they’re familiar with safes, whereas just a few years ago, that a lot I was getting a lot of questions from investors is, what’s the safe? I don’t want? I don’t want to invest in that I want equity in the company. So my answer has, it has changed over the years. So I say, definitely have when it’s a small capital raise, like if you’re raising a million dollars or less, I think a safe is usually a good vehicle to raise that money, there’s very little transaction expenses, you can actually download these documents directly from Y Combinator website, you should probably have an attorney look at them. But there’s just way less legal work that goes into it. So you can actually focus on going out and meeting investors and getting them to say yes, and then now that they’re all comfortable with saves, it’s a very quick sign on these couple of lines and wire us the money. And everybody feels comfortable with that arrangement. So I think for small raises, it makes sense to use a safe, it makes a lot of sense to use a safe. However, if there’s ever an investor who isn’t comfortable, because I still do see that a lot too, who doesn’t want to do a safe wants to do a priced round. And there’s a several different reasons why investors will want to do price rounds. I don’t think you say no to them, because they want to price the round. And I see a lot of early stage founders struggle with this, as they say, Well, I want to do a safe so I don’t have to pay $30,000 in legal fees, and it’s like, are you going to turn away a million dollar check? Because you don’t want to pay $30,000 in legal fees? I think that’s the wrong decision. So if an investor’s ever an important investor who’s writing a significant check is ever saying you have to do a price round? I think you do a price round.
So Mike, every episode, we have someone on we asked him, you know, the same question, Who do you see executing can be a startup or an individual can be someone who’s flying under the radar, or someone who is really how high profile in the news all the time, but who do you see performing?
Yes, so I don’t know if you’re looking for one person or multiple. I’m gonna give you multiple and we have talked here about legal a lot. So I feel like I should talk about some attorneys that I think are doing a really good job in, in their work with venture clients, specifically entrepreneurs. Two of them that I work with a lot that I really like working with our Brian Schoen born of moss and Barnett, he’s in St. Cloud, Minnesota. And David Winkler with koley Jessen is in Omaha, Nebraska. Both of those guys. They know how to structure venture capital deals. But more importantly, they do an excellent job of educating their clients on the best way to raise capital the best way to structure their companies. If you’re ever looking for an attorney, I highly recommend these two they know the venture space well. There’s another guy that I’ve gotten to know over the past six months or so, his name is Darren king and he is a venture investor in Louisville, Kentucky, and I really love what him and some of the people he works with in Louisville are doing for that startup ecosystem. Rob I know great North Ventures is is doing it in Minnesota so I’m kind of partial to people who are who are doing what We’re doing in the middle of the country. I respect that a lot. And if you’re not familiar with unbridled VC that’s Darren kings venture capital fund. Check him out. He does a really good job of coaching early entrepreneurs and investing and a lot of businesses and just pulling together all the right people in the ecosystem is making a big difference in cities like Dayton, Louisville, Lexington. It’s pretty cool what they’re doing there.
Well, that’s awesome. Like, thanks for sharing. I don’t know Darren and Dave, but I’m excited to learn more about them. I’m gonna try to follow them on social and kind of learn more about why you’re excited about them. I do know Brian schoenborn quite well. So Brian schoenborn at Moss and Barnett, when I was I met him when I was about seven, maybe 18 years old, and the dorm rooms of of a state college in Minnesota. And Brian was a young guy, young attorney at the time. And I just, he was really a key mentor my life, Brian, and he and he still is we still work with him today. A lot of our portfolio companies work with him and what I liked about I started episode talking about service providers who have like an entrepreneurial mindset and are focused on creating value. And Brian, like, embodies that. That’s why once I’ve been working with Brian, my entire entrepreneurial career, it’s because he takes that approach. It’s and it’s really refreshing. And I think if you find not only that, I guess what it feels like to work with someone like Brian that has that approach is you feel like that, that attorneys is always got your back, always advocating for you really cares about your success, you know, as as opposed to just how much they can bill you. And I guess I’ve experienced it the other way many times too, you know, in various I mean, I’m on. I’ve been on 40 or 50 cap tables in my life as an entrepreneur as an investor. So I’ve had a lot of experience with different service providers, accountants, lawyers, whatever, but so anyway, huge kudos to Brian, I can I cannot let a mention of him, you know, be sad Without me, you know, just sharing what an influence he’s had on my life. So thanks for recognizing him. We should get him on an episode of some kind down the road here.
Brian is probably one of the best attorneys I’ve ever worked
with. And he’s just a great guy to be around. All right. Well, thanks so much for joining us on this episode of execution is King Mike.
Happy to be here. Love to be back sometime.