Eric Satz is a serial entrepreneur who sold one of his companies for $560M. His latest venture, which is empowering individuals to invest in more alternative assets with great tax advantages, has already rasied $70M through a Series B round. The venture, Alto, has acquired funding from top-tier investors like Unusual Ventures, Alpha Edison, Foundation Capital, and Acrew Capital.
In this episode, you will learn:
- How to do more with your IRA and 401k
- How Alto is helping 30,000 others like you to expand their investments
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Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).
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About Eric Satz:
An entrepreneur and former investment banker, Eric worked for DLJ/Credit Suisse First Boston before co-founding Currenex, Plumgood Food, and Tennessee Community Ventures, a VC firm.
Eric has served on the Board of the TVA since 2015, and he teaches an entrepreneurship class to high school students. A Miami native and diehard ‘Canes and Dolphins fan, Eric went to Amherst College.
After years in NYC and then San Francisco, he and his wife moved to Nashville, her hometown, to raise their kids. When he’s not breathing life into startup companies, Eric loves to ski, play soccer, and practice yoga.
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Connect with Eric Satz:
Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: Alrighty hello everyone and welcome to the deal maker show. So today. We have a very exciting founder. You know a founder that really understands you know what building and scaling a company you know is on the full cycle. He’s been on both sides of the table also an investment banker. You name it. So he’s been around the blog. So I think that we’re gonna find this episode very inspiring so without farther ado let’s welcome our guests today Eric Sads welcome to the show. Thanks so let’s do a little of a walkth through memory Lane Eric so how was life growing up in a place like Cleveland Ohio
Eric Satz: I Hondro great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Eric Satz: Well, you know it’s interesting I wish I could say I grew up. Ah you know on the mistake by the lake but but I didn’t I I was born in Cleveland ah, my dad was my dad was in the service and my mom was in ah in school to. To become a dietician and then we we quickly relocated to Anchorage Alaska where my where my sister was born. My only memories of of anchorage really are are picture driven and then from. Anchorage we moved to Miami Florida which is where my dad grew up and which is where I grew up so I’m a huge hurricanes fan I’m a huge dolphins fan. It’s been difficult to be fans of both of those teams over the last basically thirty years but we can. We can still be hopeful and ah. You know so growing up in Miami was fantastic. What I would say is um, it kind of grew up quickly. Ah and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was just ah, an absolutely fantastic place to um. To learn a lot as a kid.
Alejandro Cremades: And obviously I mean you’ve you have actually you know moved quite a little bit throughout your journey I mean you know just like when when you were growing up or or even after you know and you’re alive. You know you’ve moved quite a bit So so I guess you know during those.
Eric Satz: Yeah.
Alejandro Cremades: You know those times that you were moving I mean it was like a new live new friends I Mean how do you think that has helped you to really deal with uncertainty with the unknown.
Eric Satz: So I I think you kind of go got to go back. Um to my high school days and ah might so when I was in Eleventh grade. My parents got divorced. Um, and I live with my dad and my sister live with my mom and ah I spend a lot of time. Let’s just say ah running my own life and ah you know take it taking care of ah taking care of things. And and so I think that that set me up. Um for when I I then moved to ah new england I went to school at Amherst College and um it was interesting. You know for most people going to college is this. Explosion of freedom in terms of how you spend your time who you spend your time with what you eat when you eat when you sleep how long you sleep? um with the with the exception of the sleep part because I did go to so to my classes. And in high school um going to college wasn’t a huge change for me because ah just living with my dad I had all kinds of ah freedom that way and so going going to college was just sort of the next step it wasn’t.
Eric Satz: Ah, it wasn’t an exponential change and um already having familiarity with building my own schedule I think was incredibly helpful that way and so.
Eric Satz: Just being open to kind of whatever comes at you at the time and being able to adapt and make decisions I think all of that sort of was foundational from my high school days and and that just.
Alejandro Cremades: And obviously in the high school days. You know you also got your first job. So how how was that and how do you think that translated. Also you know to what you were going to be getting in in college as well.
Eric Satz: Has carried over.
Eric Satz: Yeah, so it it was actually more than my first job because I would say it’s really my first entrepreneurial experience. So I sold frozen lemonade out of an unair conditioned van in Miami Florida. And the business model we like talking about business models. The business model was very simple. The more I sold the more I made so I I got 60% of every cup that I sold right? And so when you get in the van at the beginning of the day you. You count all you count up. Ah all your cups and at the end of the day. Ah you count all your money and you count the cups that you have remaining and and that’s sort of the inventory check at the ends and you know how much you made and so. I would go out in this van and I would have to play with the route driving all over Miami right? trying to understand what the most profitable route would be and of course I like to optimize and so I would always look for that route which would allow me to sell. Out all my cups in the shortest period of time I didn’t want to stay in the un air conditioned van for ah for any longer than I needed to um, but then you know in terms of translating that to college. Ah.
Eric Satz: I bought the newspaper the college newspaper distribution business for The New York Times and the boston globe when I got to Amherst and um, you know, kind of the same thing getting out in front of the Amherst community and selling the news pit. In fact, my wife says that’s how she met me I i. And don’t remember that. Um we actually didn’t quote unquote meet until later when we were living in New York and we met on an airplane and thank goodness she doesn’t really she didn’t really get to know me when we were in college that that ah ah, definitely worked in in in my favor. So. You know going to college I I build this newspaper business and then that translates for me anyway into going to wall street on on in New York City in the in the early 90 s and that’s sort of the the initial progression of my. Career if you will.
Alejandro Cremades: Now now that that’s an interesting you know Komala you had going on to because when you were in New York and you were an investment banker. You also had your own coffee shop I mean that’s quite ah, quite a combination.
Eric Satz: Well to to to be fair I actually left investment banking to to start my coffee shop and um, but when I was an investment banker I found the inspiration for the coffee business there were there were these ah 3 guys.
Alejandro Cremades: Okay.
Eric Satz: Who had moved from Seattle to New York and this was it this was before Starbucks was in New York City this was before coffee ah really took off like we know it today and. Um, these 3 guys had moved from Seattle to New York and they opened a small coffee bar ah across from 41Broadway downtown which is where doj was initially now they’re midtown and I would go in at least twice a day. Um, to to get coffee and at one point and I got to know the guys and at one point they said hey can you help us understand what’s going on with our our finances. Um and the long story short is their finances were a mess but I had sort of I had the coffee bug. And so I I went out to Seattle and I actually met the owners of a business called caravollley coffee and carravoley coffee had um had been the wholesale division of Starbucks and so when Howard Schultz Bart bought Starbucks there was this separation between the retail side and the wholesale side and the folks who bought caravalli had the wholesale side and so when I went out to Seattle I I met them and I’m going to say they convinced me. Ah.
Eric Satz: To go ahead and take the leap of faith did the convincing wasn’t really hard by the way but they convinced me to go back to New York Quit my day job as an investment banker at 24 years old and start a coffee bar in New York City and have them be my supplier and so that was. That was my entry into the coffee business and a hundred that was also the first time I ever really failed at anything and ah you know sort of within eighteen months I was I was closing the I got all things I got all 3 things about retail wrong alejandro location location. Location I get I got them all wrong I had the wrong place. So.
Alejandro Cremades: And as they say you you either succeed or you learn. So what was the lesson learned for you.
Eric Satz: Ah, to wow um I think that the the first lesson is what you just said which is that you actually learn way more from failure.
Alejandro Cremades: Oh yeah.
Eric Satz: Then then then you do from success. You know if you if you experience success early. You think you’re so smart and you’re so good and you know exactly how to do something I think it completely skips over the role. Ah, that luck and timing play in most people’s and most corporations success and so that initial experience of ah, just true failure had me step back and really analyze. Ah, my decision making process and where things didn’t play out the way I expected it to play out and so you know I can Monday morning quarterback. Ah a whole lot of things and um I really think that that first.
Eric Satz: Foray into true entrepreneurship where I had raised money from other individuals and then to have to tell them that I lost it all that really set set me up for everything that that came later and ah to to know.
Eric Satz: That it is ah it is way harder than it than it looks and and if you by by which I mean entrepreneurship is way harder than it looks and if you’re trying to. Be an entrepreneur because you want to be your own boss or you want to make a lot of money or with it. Whatever it may be ah that’s likely not going to end. Well you really have to be embracing this lifestyle which is full of. Ah, stress and ups and downs and and absolute ah unexpected twists and turns because you’re mission driven and there’s a purpose to what it is. You’re you’re doing and if you don’t have that.
Alejandro Cremades: Now.
Eric Satz: I Don’t think it’s going to work out really well.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, it’s definitely not like what you read on the magazines and or what you see in the movies. That’s that that’s for sure now that.
Eric Satz: That that’s because a hundred that the things that we read in the magazines are seeing the movies that’s like you know point 1% of all of entrepreneurship like you got a written the the real movie is the grind. And the and and the up and the down in the sideways and and the unexpected and um I Want to see that movie.
Alejandro Cremades: Ah, yeah, we will definitely both associate with that one now now in your case. Ah you definitely obviously you know you had this first experience but then Koex so what? what happened there with koenex.
Eric Satz: so so um great question. So I was an investment banker out in San Francisco working for a company called Donaldson Lufkin and genre which um. Many people probably don’t remember because Dlj was purchased by Csfb Creditwis first Boston I think it was probably in 2000 and um I still will tell you that dj was the greatest investment bank ever. Ah, but while I was um. and investment banker and I was an internet investment banker and I was working with um, Ken Polowski and Goty Meyer who who would become my co-founders in a company called Kenex which was the first online foreign currency exchange business and. Um, yeah, it’s a funny story because we were at the printers Ken and ah Ken and Gotti were the c o o and Ceo Respectively of a company called get there.com which dlj would take public and and then sell and. Ken who is a total entrepreneur and ah just ah, a really interesting and and bright individual we we were in what you referred to as the printers which is where you would go to have your prospectus your s one printed and created for distribution to.
Eric Satz: Um, potential investors and so we’re at the printers and it’s ah, really late at night or really early in the morning and Ken says to me hey I have this really great idea for for the next thing and so I said. Okay, you know what what’s the idea I have no idea what the idea was by the way I was like yeah it’s okay I said he’s like what do you mean? I said I have a much bigger idea and so he said what’s your idea and I said well online foreign currency exchange trillions of dollars changing hands. Every single day. It’s a completely tilted playing field. The banks have all the advantage. The corporations are totally in the dark. Um the the bids move literally every second unless you have 3 hands and 3 phones where you’re talking to 3 banks at the same time It’s impossible to compare bids because they move so quickly so he looked at me and he said that’s a really big idea I said I know and that that was the beginning of k act and eventually state street that was 1999 by the way. Ah, state street would eventually buy current x in I think 2006 2007 for um, a little over five hundred and sixty million dollars and so ah despite the up and down of ah the internet industry.
Eric Satz: And um, lots of ah insider conflict. It turned out to be a really good deal for everyone.
Alejandro Cremades: And that was 8 years so obviously during those 8 years you know as we were talking about it earlier. You know, many ups and downs too until you got it to that successful exit. So I guess the question here that comes to mind is. As you’re looking back on that on that journey with currentex. What would you say are the 3 main ingredients that allowed you know for such a successful outcome.
Eric Satz: Ah, perseverance. But but I want to be clear about something I wasn’t running currentex. Ah, you know I actually kept kept my yeah. Yeah so um, kind of my idea if you will.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, help with cofounding it.
Eric Satz: And and help raise the initial rounds of financing ah but then was just an observer and um, but regardless perseverance was the key to that outcome because ah you know, talk about the stuff that people don’t see. And and the stuff that really tries ah tries 1 ne’s um, gut. Ah you know is being close to shutting the lights 2 or 3 times right? and and just locking the door behind you. Ah, which which definitely happened and happened for a lot of internet companies by the way in the in the very late 90 s early 2000 and and so to get the right people in the right seats ah and and to be able to grow it at the right time. Yeah, it’s really kind of hard to draw that up on on the on the board and say this. Ah this is the play. We’re gonna run right? You get you have to be aware of the changing circumstances and and have an ability to adapt to the environment which are operating and. And so long as you can do that and you have the ah ability to persevere through the hard times you you have a good chance I’m not going to say you have a great chance. You have a good chance of finding a good outcome and I said we got lucky.
Eric Satz: But can I say we got lucky.
Alejandro Cremades: Well luck as they say is preparation meets a what is it preparation meets opportunity. You know So um.
Eric Satz: Yeah, so what it’s where it’s where hard work meets opportunity I like to add a third vector to that which is ah hard work opportunity and again awareness you have to be able to recognize when luck is sort of staring at you right.
Alejandro Cremades: What’s that what.
Alejandro Cremades: Oh yeah.
Eric Satz: And and being able to to to move the pieces in a way that’s going to enable the outcome that you’re looking for.
Alejandro Cremades: So let’s talk about they also creating your luck because in your case you know you went to Nashville to create your luck. You know so you go to Nashville and then you start the next company which is plum good foods plum good food.
Eric Satz: Um I did.
Alejandro Cremades: And also you combine that tool with without with a venture capital firm. So I guess the question that I have here is what did you do with plum good and then how was that combination with the Vc firm as well.
Eric Satz: Yeah, so the Vc firm can came after came at the end. Um, but plum good was an online organic home grocery delivery business that we had built up to about a $5000000 business and. You know it. It was certainly new to Nashville but having moved from San Francisco where we were customers of web van and ah other sort of ah fruit and vegetable box delivery businesses. None of that existed in Nashville. And 1 of the things that I understood about web van and homeg grocer and for those who do remember web ban and homeg grocer. Yeah, you also know they imploded ah famously. So um, because ah those are they’re really logistics businesses they’re not technology businesses and I had the benefit of having watched that prior to moving to Nashville and understanding that we were trying to build a ah distribution and logistics business with groceries being the product that we were distributing and. Ah, so so we built that to about a $5,000,000 business actually was voted greatest thing to happen. Ah in Nashville which at the time by the way I don’t think was that hard to do today much much harder na being a place that everyone recognizes and and.
Eric Satz: And not just as music city and the health care capital world but also now like bachelorette party central um, but in in any event ah 2008 hit by which I mean ah Lehman Lehman brothers imploded Bear Stearns was
Eric Satz: Ah, was bought I think but I thought who bought bear stearns jp Morgan maybe um, ah and and the the economy just I like to call things the way I see it. Ah the the economy wants a crap right? And um.
Alejandro Cremades: Um I believe so.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, yeah.
Eric Satz: It it was it. We just we got upside down and ah people could no longer make this this ah trade between time and money which is required in the online grocery ah delivery business meaning now all of a sudden who. People who had been gamefully employed lost their jobs. They had time to go to the grocery store and and they didn’t need to pay for home delivery and they also didn’t need to pay for organic food which was. Ah, certainly more expensive at the time this is way before Amazon buys whole foods right? and um, so in in 2008 the the market just tanks our customer but we’re literally losing 30 % of our customer base month over month at the end of 2008.
Alejandro Cremades: Wow. But.
Eric Satz: And ah so I make the decision to go ahead and shut Plum Good down and take what money we have left and redistribute back to the ah investor base and just said this is not going to work right now I’m not sure I’m not sure it’s ever going to work. Ah, but certainly not going to work right now and so um, ah, you know if ah if I really think about this and I think about coffee bar ah current X um. Plumb Good home grocery online delivery business and then ah Tennessee Community ventures which is the fun that that that comes after it all of these things actually come together in what I’m doing at Alto. And how and why we created the business and and what our mission is which is to unlock ah access to alternatives for all and so there’s there’s a heavy retail component to that because this is this is the end user. This is the consumer. The client’s money. Right? And they want to be able to talk to someone or email with someone or chat with someone and you kind of learn that in the coffee business you learn that in the grocery Business. You don’t learn that in investment Banking. You don’t learn that in venture capital.
Eric Satz: But what you do learn in investment banking and venture capital is finance and and companies that are raising money and what makes for a good investment and so we have a real responsibility to try and educate. Ah, ah certainly our client base. Um, but also the population as a whole because we’re trying to change the fate of retirement in this country and and currently the outlook is not good like tens of millions of people living ah in poverty by the by 2050 and so how do we change that. What? what What can we do to help alter. Ah, ah, alter history as as it looks today and I don’t know if I answered the question on a hundred but we.
Alejandro Cremades: I mean it. It sounds like it sounds like it was you know it as they say you know I the us they take time to ecuate you know they’re like they’ are a doorrmant and you don’t even know that they are there so it sounds like for you that incubation took many many years you know, many different experiences and.
Eric Satz: Um, at.
Alejandro Cremades: As they say institutional you know transfer right? So it’ll so knowledge transfer. Sorry so meaning that you are learning something from a certain segment and then from another one and then it’s like you’re implementing them into a newer segment now in your case you know you were doing the Vc firm after plum good. And then obviously came alto at what point did the alto a concept or or or the initiative become so clear to you that it was time to go at it again and to execute on it.
Eric Satz: Yeah, so it was actually 2013. So I started Tncv Tennessee community ventures in 2010 and then in 2013 a funny thing happened which is I opened my mail. So ah. I I open mail like once a quarter maybe twice a year like I hate it and I was getting ready to invest alongside ah Tncv in a particular portfolio company. And it just so happened that I opened my mail and I opened my Ira statement um from fidelity and I had this light bulb moment because I had told first of all I totally forgot that I had this account and then when I looked at the balance I was like. Wow this is the money I should be investing in these private portfolio companies. Ah the reason being really twofold the first is ira savings is long term money. Ah. Private company investing is a long term game and so from a duration matching standpoint. It made perfect sense that I would use Ira money that I shouldn’t touch until I retire to invest in. Ah.
Eric Satz: Early stage companies that likely would not have an exit or or achieve some form of liquidity for on average. Let’s just call it 10 years so that that was point number 1 point number two was their huge tax advantage is to investing with retirement savings. And so if it’s a traditional ira or traditional set ira it’s tax deferred if it’s a roth ira it’s ah you know tax free when it comes out because you’ve you’ve paid your taxes upfront and these are um. Ah, higher risk higher reward type opportunities and so if if you’re lucky enough to get it right? You have this huge tax advantage on the returns from your investment with your ira and so I connected. Those 2 things with what I was doing and I literally went to Google I didn’t so the only problem was I didn’t know if you could do that I didn’t know if you could invest your your retirement savings in a private company. So I went to Google and and this is 2013 and I literally typed into the search box invest ah invest ira and private company and Google said it was it. It was legal. You know it. It didn’t just say it was legal like it did it returned a bunch of articles I read the articles and it was like okay you can do this.
Eric Satz: So I called my um, my financial advisor who is at a larger brokerage firm and I said hey this next investment I’m making I’m going to make out of my retirement account and he said okay and I said well I’m going to send you the. Ah, the routing the routing number and and and in the account number if you would just send it from my Ira again, he said no and I said what do you mean? he’s he said we’re not you can’t make that investment from from our platform I said why not? It’s totally legal. And he’s his response was basically in a nutshell. Yeah, but if you lose all your money you’re going to sue us and we’re not going to do any diligence or homework on this company. So we’re not you can’t do it here. So I said what do I do he said I don’t know now he has a complete conflict of interest because he wants me to keep my money with him at at this firm. So I go back to Google and this is where I discover the self-directed ira industry so long story short Alejandro. It takes me like ten weeks to make what should be a 10 minute investment ah so like any.
Eric Satz: And so like any other entrepreneur with this personality disorder I make 2 more of these investments and ah the experience just gets worse I use different custodians each time I figured I had just chosen the wrong Ira Custodian the first time to do this. It turns out it was a systemic issue at which point I asked the age old question is this a large enough problem for me to solve and it turns out we’ve got thirty plus trillion dollars sitting in retirement accounts today with. A tiny percentage invested in alternative assets and if you compare that percentage probably less than 2% to what high net worth individuals and instant professional institutional investors invest in alternative assets that’s going to range from you know, 20% to if you’re Yale’s endowment 80% and so why are we stuck at why is it everybody else stuck at 2% or below and and the answer is. It’s just too hard to do. It’s too expensive. It’s too complicated and so I kind of thought. Well. You know if I can solve for those things if I can do for alternative Ira investing good phrase week weak coins if we if if we can do for alternative Ira investing what ah turbot tax did for self filing then then we can. We can build a big business.
Eric Satz: and so um in 2016 I had had enough ah of just trying to do this with other people and so I went out and I raised the money to to start alto and then we we launched in April or may of 2018
Alejandro Cremades: And for the people for the people that are listening to really get it. What didn’t that up being the business model of Alto How do you guys make money. So.
Eric Satz: Yeah.
Eric Satz: Yeah, so a few different ways. Um, we have an annual account fee. So whether you have a traditional ira set ira roth ira where there’s an annual account the and it’s based on the level of. Ah, technology services that you use at Alto so that the the annual fee is either going to be $100 or it’s going to be two hundred and fifty dollars um and I don’t want to go into the details to that right now and then every time you make an investment there. There’s a a transaction fee. On the on the opposite side and that’s all for what we refer to as ah, traditional alternatives. So real estate private equity venture capital private companies ah private credit product artwork. Ah real assets. On the other side of the business is a ah crypto ira business and and that does not have an account fee associated with it. But we do earn 1% per buy or sell and so those are the existing. Ah, revenue streams what you’re going to see in in early twenty twenty three is the launch of the auto marketplace and where we will. We’re finishing the broker dealer process right now and so revenues will actually be earned.
Eric Satz: By introducing the demand side to the supply side which is the way finance works traditionally and that’s really where kind of my investment banking background comes into play right? So ah, typically when a company raises money. Ah, they they pay a percentage of that raise to the folks who who helped them raise that money and that’s the role that Aalto’s going to play going forward but on a technology platform scale basis.
Alejandro Cremades: Now talking about your investment banking experience are now coupled with your Vc experience too. I mean when you were you were alluding to it. You’ve raised money for for Aalto so how much capital have you raised to date for Alto and then also how did you think about engineering the capital races.
Eric Satz: Yeah, ah, really good question. So today we’ve raised 70,000,000 for Aalto over so we completed our series b round which was 40000000 a year ago to say December of last year um
Eric Satz: And and you know we’ve still got $30000000 in in the bank. Ah, how do I How do I engineer So I I have ah I have a theory that I that I used to share with my clients when I was an investment banker and that is um when when investors offer you capital At. A fair price ah take it and um, so we never really went to market trying to. We’ve been really fortunate. Um, and I think it’s been a combination of our business and business model as well as just. Industry times. Um, but we never really went to market and and and in search of Investors. It was sort of of folks who are interested in what we were doing reached out. Um and they would ah express the desire to learn more. And Express eventually expressed an interest to invest and once that sort of ah once that process began to snowball a little bit then ah we would reach out to to other investors in the community to. To seek additional participation and that that’s how the rounds came together for us I you know I think a combination of of lucky and in the right place at the right time with the right business. Ah, and certainly the the overall.
Eric Satz: Industry dynamics and economy didn’t hurt.
Alejandro Cremades: So for the people that are listening to get an understanding on the scope and size of Alto I mean anything that you can share in terms of number of employees or anything else that you feel comfortable sharing.
Eric Satz: Yeah, so we’re we’re we’re just shy of a hundred employees. We’ve got um about one point two billion in assets under. We say assets under administration not assets under management. We’re we’re not an asset manager. We’re a custodian. And we’ve got about 30,000 clients and then what I will tell you is that our our our team is completely distributed and remote. We’re in I think 30 something states. Yeah.
Alejandro Cremades: And how how do you go about the fully remote operation because you know nowadays a lot of people are talking about Oh My God you need to be on the same room if you want to build culture and I find that Covid you know has really put a lot of perspective you know on all of us. Ah, to really understand that that’s possible. Ah, the face time thing you know is not needed anymore as long as people are able to really you know ah Produce. So How how did you guys go about really building culture around our remote a workforce.
Eric Satz: So I think culture is top down. It’s not bottom up and I think we were also fortunate in that we were only 20 something people at the time that ah Covid hit. And so we really grew up in this ah era of remote work and we had to quickly understand what it would be like to onboard new teammates in a remote environment. How to. Ah, introduce also to them how to make them feel part of the team and how to communicate our culture and our expectations and our values.
Eric Satz: And so we’re we were really fortunate that we began to do that when we were still a relatively small size and so just extending that ah along the way there have certainly been less is. Let lessons learn and so whereas I would tell you that I don’t believe being in the same room every single day is required I do believe being in the same room from time to time is an absolute necessity and and I say that because. Chemistry is built in the barn and in order to really trust the people that you work with this is my opinion in order to really trust the people that you work with to enjoy the people that you work with to like the people that you work with to want to help them succeed not just you succeed. But and then also the larger enterprise you got to break bread you got? ah um, sit across a table. You got to be able to I mean Zoom is great. Don’t get me wrong is better than a phone call. But it does not replace sharing a meal or being in the same room and we see it all the time this ability to get up to the whiteboard and just the exchange of ideas that can happen in real time in a room among a larger group of people than 2 people.
Eric Satz: It’s just something that can’t be recreated in my opinion via via Zoom and so ah, we bring the leadership team to Nashville which is where we’re headquartered. We bring the leadership team to Nashville once a month ah we bring. Ah. Teams to Nashville every quarter and then twice a year. We have an all company gathering and it’s not about sure we work during those times. But as important if not more important are the dinners that we have when people are here or the lunches we have when people are here or getting a canoe or kayak and going out on the river or getting an axe and doing axe throwing or. Ah, whatever it may be is that sort of that team building exercise that just can’t happen over zoome.
Alejandro Cremades: And let me ask you this if you were to go to sleep tonight Eric and you wake up in a world where the vision of Aalto is fully realized what does that world look like.
Eric Satz: Ah, well, first of all, it means that um, every individual in America has the ability to. Choose what it is they want to do when they sort of when when they reach retirement age and everybody’s choice is different. Um, but having the ability to choose is is what I’d refer to as financial freedom and you know. I don’t see myself ever not working somebody else may still have that vision of you know what? when I turn 65 and by the way I don’t think it’s going to be 65 by the time these people get there probably be 75 um, when I when I when I hit retirement. I want a lemonade with lots of ice and a chair on a patio and that’s great for that person that that’s not what I want but this ability to actually choose right to to have help people achieve financial freedom financial. Ah, sustainability. That’s our goal that that’s our mission and we believe that ah investing in alternative assets is one of those tools.
Eric Satz: Ah, that can help you along that path and I say that because portfolio diversification is this free tool available to all of us that has demonstrated ah higher returns with lower volatility now for so long. Alternative assets have been um, locked away for most people and only the people ah who were high net worth individuals had a key to that closet and and so what we’re trying to do um. Is to to take the actually just take the lock off the door. Forget the key take the lock off the door pull everything out of the closet put it out on the table and then help you understand the questions you should ask prior to making investment and what those. Ah, answers may look like should you should you choose to make an investment and again you know what? what I find appealing from an investment standpoint. You may not like and we all bring our own biases. Ah, and experiences to to bear. But actually you started off this question with what I think is the single most important thing which is can you sleep? well at night knowing you made Xy or z investments and and if you can’t.
Eric Satz: That’s not a good investment for you. But if you can then what happens happens right? Ah, but you you want to use a level of reasonableness in your own investment thinking and strategy. And it’s our goal to help you figure that out.
Alejandro Cremades: And you’ve obviously now been doing this for a while you know building and scaling companies. So if I was to give you the opportunity Eric of um, going back in time I put you into a time machine and perhaps I I put you. You know on that moment where you were thinking about getting into the venture world like starting your own business I mean maybe like before the coffee shop you know rodeo. And you had the opportunity of sitting down with that younger Eric and giving that younger Eric one piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be and why given what you know now.
Eric Satz: Wow was a great question. Um.
Eric Satz: Did this it This is this is not new and and this isn’t mine. This is me actually taking the advice of others that I have both listened to and and read and that is ah. Hire slowly and fire fast. Um I’m good at the fire fast part I need to a you know I I ought to have hired more slowly in key positions over time. No matter what the business. And I I feel like I’m just Now. Ah just now beginning to learn, not just learn it but actually embrace it and I and I think at the end of the day when you ah carve back all the technology and. All of the product I don’t care what business you’re in.. It’s all about the people and so getting the people right? means you’re going to get the company right? Like better people make better companies I Honestly think it’s that simple.
Alejandro Cremades: I fully agree and I love that so Eric for the people that are listening that want to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so.
Eric Satz: Ah, well first I highly encourage you to go to Otto Ira Dot Com a l t o ira dot com ah and and open your ira account and begin to invest in alternative assets. Ah, but you know I’m on Twitter and I’m on Linkedin and. Ah, please do feel free to to reach out there.
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing. Well Eric thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Eric Satz: Ajandro is an honor to be here. Thanks for having me man.
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