I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Josh Hix on the DealMakers Podcast. As with many entrepreneurs, angels and VCs we’ve featured on the show, he was willing to spill the beans on the real stress and quirks behind the scenes of these overnight success stories, as well as the real value he found in attending Harvard, Techstars, being on TV, and in the lessons of choosing investors.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to build relationships with potential acquirers early on
  • What to look for in potential investors
  • The value of attending accelerators and business school
  • Conducting a smooth due diligence process
  • Using media platforms to support massive growth


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About Josh Hix:

Best known as the co-founder of meal prep delivery service Plated, Josh Hix is a serial entrepreneur with several successful tech startups under his belt. The 2003 Georgia Institute of Technology graduate embarked on his first startup endeavor directly after graduation. Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering freshly in-hand, Hix co-founded ZeeWise, a database aggregation and rollup tool for franchise and retail businesses. He served as the company’s CTO for five years, and continues to sit on the board.

In 2008, Hix entered Harvard Business School, completing his MBA two years later. Post-graduation, he spent a year as a senior investment associate at Bridgewater Associates before returning to his entrepreneurial roots. He co-founded mobile ad building platform PlusScrn in 2011; the company was acquired by Phluant Mobile within the year.

Hix’s next endeavor, Plated, was conceived as a solution to a daily problem faced by Hix and his Wall Street compatriots. Hix and Harvard Business School classmate Nick Taranto were frustrated with the effect their busy schedules had on their diets, leading them to exercise less and order out more. Knowing they weren’t alone, they conceived a way to make cooking healthy meals more accessible.

Plated delivers boxes of fresh, healthy ingredients, perfectly portioned for meals that can be ready in as little as 30 minutes. Equal parts food company and technology company, Plated combines the co-founders’ tech and business know-how with gourmet chef-designed recipes.

Connect with Josh Hix:

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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW:

Alejandro:        Alrightee. So, hello, everyone and welcome to the DealMakers Show. Today, we have someone that I think is going to be very exciting to listen you know the story and how everything came up. So very much excited to have him on board. Josh Hix from Plated, welcome on to the DealMakers Show today.

Josh Hix:                Thanks for having me.

Alejandro:        So how did you get started with the entrepreneurial bug, Josh?

Josh Hix:                I’m pretty certain I was born with it. My mom is an engineer and I really just grew up in a household with things being built and taken apart and a healthy dose of encouragement you know to build my own things and I also grew up during the early days of the internet so you know it always just kind seemed like what I wanted to do.

Alejandro:        That’s amazing. I mean I see that right out of college you founded C-Wise and what was the story behind this business?

Josh Hix:                The story behind that business was so you got to remember this was 2003 or so, so probably a crazy time to be starting a business. The dot com bust was not that far in the rear view mirror for lots of people but I had been working my way through college, paying my way through college by doing general software consulting, IT consulting, just kind of build anything that anybody wanted that they would pay for with a friend. And we had a customer that asked us to build you know a piece of software. It was basically a database replication software that we thought we could sell that a lot to other people. So we went off and started a company around it. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best way to do it but that’s what we did and you know it worked out pretty well. It wasn’t certainly a huge business but lots of lesson learned and you know all worth it in the end.

Alejandro:        That’s fantastic. I mean definitely experience is good experience. I see that after that you go to do a little bit of a corporate America then you joined the business school, Harvard Business school, and then you go at it again with a PlusScrn with sold to Phluant Mobile. What was the story?

Josh Hix:                So the story with PlusScrn and you can tell we never raised a lot of money. We were never able to buy the [02:28]. The story there was again another friend, so that’s been a theme for me anyways.

Alejandro:        There’s always the friendship.

Josh Hix:                Yeah. I’ve always enjoyed working with friends and you know certainly there are friends that you wouldn’t want to work with but friends that you do and so a friend and I got together in 2011 now and we’re really looking to start a business so we were building some technology that really was you know, and again all experience you said all experience is good experience. We were building technology without a real you know sort of problem to solve per se in mind yet. And in the fairly early days of that business the tech, the software that we built some you know advertising technology companies were getting excited about. We didn’t know anything about adtech, you know, the very complicated world of how ads are built and served different devices and you know bidding platforms and all of the things that kind of make the internet going a lot of ways. We didn’t know anything about the ecosystem so when somebody in the company got excited it very quickly became fear that they should just own the technology and so we sold it to them.

Alejandro:        Got it. And I know that there’s a lot of founders that do a couple of companies and then they’re like should I go in to business school or not. So obviously you know you had that experience so from your perspective, how did business school shape up you know the entrepreneur that you are today?

Josh Hix:                Yeah. It’s definitely a question a lot of people ask. The question of should I do business school [04:17]? I definitely don’t think it’s for everybody. I mean I don’t think anything is for everybody. I loved it. For me, I had been running a pretty small software company where maybe 25 people when I left you know and I was technical. I was engineering undergrad and I was CEO of the business but you know really had no real you know, no deep knowledge anyway of a lot of the subjects outside of the outside piece, so the finance, the accounting, etcetera. I understood the nuts and bolts but not the bigger strategy and certainly didn’t feel like I understood the bigger kind of macro picture of how value is created.

Alejandro:        Yeah.

Josh Hix:                So for me business school was a way to meet a lot of different people that I would never, you know, people with backgrounds that I would never have had a good opportunity to just sort of meet and make friends with. And it’s just a great life experience. It’s a way to travel and be exposed just to more diverse world that I otherwise would have including intellectually diverse world. So you know there’s folks in business school that were coming out of nonprofits, that were coming out of certainly banking and consulting but you know coming out of NGOs and more technical things than I was doing and pure brand marketing which I had no exposure to. It was really I think the kind of magic that’s putting all those pieces together.

Alejandro:        Got it. So after business school, Josh, you then go out to launch probably the most significant exit that you probably had right now in your story and this was Plated. So how did this initiative really come about?

Josh Hix:                Yeah. So I actually went to Bridgewater after business school which was my one brief extent with Corporate America if you will.

Alejandro:        Right.

Josh Hix:                Not traditional Corporate America per se but you know great experience nonetheless and lots of lessons there that I think have been popularized in recent years by [Ray 06:17] and certainly some of the influences that we used to fill in the culture here. So the way that we got started you know again with a friend, the theme there, so my co-founder Nick and I had met you know basically day one in business school so we’ve been friends for four years at this point. We knew that we wanted to work together. We knew that we had complimentary skill sets, not the same skill sets, which I do think is important. So there was never you know any real tension about who should run engineering. I was technical. He was not. That was easy. He was always better at the marketing and all the PR and the public facing stuff so he would do a lot more of that, as well as operations, etc. He was a marine at one point. So we got together, knew that we wanted to work together but didn’t know what. So hopefully I’ve learned the lessons from a lot of the you know prior experiences and you know really started looking for a problem that we were passionate about. And for both of us, health and wellness was a big piece of that. So he had been a marine. We had both been competitive athletes at one point. We wanted to work on health and wellness or at least that was one of the areas that we looked at. And you know it’s obvious but pretty quickly kind of you know realized that food and nutrition were you know some of the biggest parts of health and wellness. There’s lots of controversy around what exact sort of nutrition people should you know follow, etc, and I don’t think it’s controversial to say that you know what you eat influences your health in a big, big way.

Alejandro:        Yeah.

Josh Hix:                And there were lots of consumer demand to eat more perishable, more fresh food, less processed, less packaged food, to cook more and so really over the course of about six months we spent researching and kind of narrowed in on the first version of Plated and like everything, or at least I think like good consumer businesses, you know, we built a product that was for ourselves first because we understood ourselves as the consumers in a deep way but then also went out and tried to validate, make sure that we weren’t the only people, you know. There wasn’t a very sort of weird niche market that was just Josh and Nick and that there’ll be other people who would want this product, and then set about testing it. So we built a light website. Found ways to get people to visit it and make sure that people would buy this who weren’t just friends and family that weren’t just humouring us.

Alejandro:        Got it. Got it. I mean obviously I have been a customer of Plated but for those that are listening, what is the, what was that business model that ended up being the one for Plated?

Josh Hix:                So you know the problem we’re solving for customers just really people who want to cook and that’s not everybody but like I said I don’t think you know anything is for everybody, not the iPhone, not the most popular products in history. So for people who want to cook, whether they are currently or not, there certainly are people who want to learn, etc., we make it easier for them. So we deliver all the portioned ingredients, the exact amount of herbs and spices, etc, along with chef designed recipes to help make it easier for people to cook. You know, there’s no sort of planning. You don’t have to go to multiple you know grocery stores and find all the special ingredients and you know what you should end up in the end is really a restaurant quality meal that you’ve made. You can certainly [10:01] with the salt that you want or etc so there’s an element of control and understanding of what you’re eating but we’re helping you cook more.

Alejandro:        Got it. Got it. And I understand that you guys went to Tech Stars. Is that right?

Josh Hix:                We did.

Alejandro:        So how was the experience for you guys? How was the before and after of Plated after the experience?

Josh Hix:                So for us Tech Stars was at least then we were relatively you know late stage. The business was relatively sort of well established so I suspect that we got something slightly different than a lot of companies get out of it. Overall, it’s great. It’s certainly helped a lot and I think we probably got three main things out of it. The first was just press which is important especially for a consumer business. People pay attention to companies that are in Tech Stars. It helped kind of open doors. We met some of reporters and some tech and industry folks through the program which was great. The second thing was probably the artificial deadline of demo day. It’s amazing what just kind of setting a goal can do for a team so in the early days they encourage you to set goals for what you’re going to you know announce and how you’re going to sort of present the business at the very end when you get on stage and the format has changed over the years but back then at the end of the program we get up on stage. It was a full day called demo day where investors would show up and you’d make big presentation. And so you set these goals for yourself and the small team. There are the features. These are the number of customers, etc, that we want to be able to announce on the day that we get up on stage. And having that goal is really powerful and I think helps sort of just focus everyone’s energy on you know working even harder for those three months, which is the length of the program. And the last thing which I think is you know as important as anything else, it was a great way for ourselves but really more the team to get exposed to high quality people. So every week probably everyday, there were high quality entrepreneurs and investors and other folks who were in the office, in the Tech Stars office, for launch and learns or other kind of programming and these are folks that you know never would have come and sat down with us. And so for Nick and I and again especially for the rest of the team, it was a way for them to get exposure to you know inspirational people that I think was just it’s a great recruiting tool and really just a great experience for everybody.

Alejandro:        And how big was the team at that point for Plated?

Josh Hix:                We were probably 10 people when we started the program.

Alejandro:        Got it. Got it. And I mean it’s amazing because the cap table that you guys were able to put together of top tier investors like Founders, Collective, Great Craft, T Ventures, I mean I was very impressed when I saw that. So how much capital did you guys raise in total for the business?

Josh Hix:                Well…

Alejandro:        That is public.

Josh Hix:                It is. It is. The answer is roughly 90 million but I think important to also say because in these kinds of interviews I think these details they tend to be glossed over.

Alejandro:        Yeah.

Josh Hix:                We were able over the years to raise money from a lot of you know very impressive and helpful people and we’re grateful for that but I think it’s really important to say it was not easy. For everyone out there listening who’s going through it or thinking about going through it, you know it’s amazing how much of these gets glossed over and were just rewritten in hindsight. We pitched to 200 people before we got a single yes the first time around. We were running off our own credit cards and you know there’s a time and the place for the you know this was hard work for us and that’s inspirational. That’s not my point here. My point is that fundraising is just usually hard. It was certainly hard for us. It’s been hard for every entrepreneur that I’ve ever known even the ones that went on to be phenomenally successful. So yes, we did raise a lot of money from high quality folks but it was not go climb every single time. Even later rounds, it was never easy.

Alejandro:        Got it. Got it. And you know such a innovative concept too. So I guess how did you initially for example like value the business?

Josh Hix:                We didn’t. You know you don’t get to value the business most of the time. The investors do and it’s really, there’s a lot of, there is as much art as there is science to it. At the end of the day, I think for you know almost all start up, it comes down to supply and demand, right. It’s worth what somebody is willing to pay. So you know we only had one offer in the very first round so that’s what it was worth.

Alejandro:        Wow. Wow. I hear you. At the end of day, the price is done by the investor but no, I hear you. Absolutely. So I guess throughout all these different rounds that you did, right, 90 million is quite a bit of money. So how did you find that that approach on this different rounds you know like how was that approach? I mean was it, do you see like a big difference going from seed to A to B like how did that change?

Josh Hix:                Well, I think there is a big difference which is probably obvious but as the business grows, you know you need to start showing that it’s a real business. I mean in the very early days, right, the very first rounds, we had a handful of customers but that was it. So we were really selling an idea and a dream. There’s not much to evaluate at that point. There’s not many customers. There’s no real data on customer acquisition cost or lifetime value and the business had been alive for all of you know three months or something. So as you grow the data becomes much, much more important. I think people always care about the story but once there’s data to look at, investors would want to look at it and that’s I think the biggest difference as you sort of scale.

Alejandro:        Right. Right. And would you say like the data, is the approach like really very much on the revenue side or on the growth numbers and the retention side or where did you see that there was like more of an interest like depending on the round that you were at?

Josh Hix:                So I think it depends on the business. You know for us because we are a subscription business, most investors will focus on retentions because it’s the most important metric in a subscription business. Although interestingly we also pitched a lot of food investors so more traditional CPG type of folks and for those people they look at it on a different lens and it’s not you know good or bad but they were looking at consumer sentiments and margins and some other numbers that were just a different way to look at the business than the technology folks and I really think that it was the combination of both of those kind of world views if you will put together that made everything work.

Alejandro:        Got it. Got it. So I guess in your case, how do you guys find these investors?

Josh Hix:                I wish there were sort of a simple way. It’s really I think there’s two channels. One was referral from the existing investors so certainly you know once you start having some investors, once you’ve raised all the money that those folks can hopefully refer you to other people. But that’s you know I think in the best of all cases, probably only half or something of the investors you’ll talked to. And the rest is just hustle. It’s just getting out there, asking for intros to people, meeting folks at conferences. There’s no sort of one way at least no one way that we ever found.

Alejandro:        Got it. And I see that after the series A, you go and appear on Shark Tanks. How was this experience for you guys?

Josh Hix:                Yeah. So we actually filmed Shark Tank very early on so that was before series A. We filmed Shark Tank maybe nine months after we’ve launched the business, something like that. And then it aired probably nine months later. At first it was great. I think so I think first and foremost you know you got to have fun with all this. If it’s not fun, you’re probably not going to you know you’re not going to make it all that long. It’s challenging and for sure there are stressful days but hopefully you can find some ways to have fun with it. And so with Shark Tank, first and foremost, it was just fun. It was a great experience to go out and sort of you know meet them, etc, not that we got to spend a lot of time with them on the day of the filming but you know still great to meet them and talk to them and just go through the experience, the lights and the cameras and the whole thing was a lot of fun. And then from a business perspective, I think people sometimes under appreciate just how big of a media platform the show is. I think when we were on which was we aired in 2014, I want to say the number back then was 11 million household tuned in on Friday night and I don’t know where it is today. It’s probably only grown. But 11 million household is a lot. There’s only roughly only 110 million households in the US so roughly 10% of households were tuning in live. And then you know a lot of folks are watching it on DVR or the reruns which they do throughout the summer, etc. So a lot of people see it. And they’re paying attention, right. It’s not like a commercial where you tend to ignore them or at best watch it passively while you’re on your phone or your iPads while on the couch. People tuned in to watch because they do a good job, kind of curating the products and the companies so you know it’s a lot of people watching deliberately all of which you know it’s just part of what you get by taking in an investment from them, so it’s a great experience and it was great for the business.

Alejandro:        Yeah, I mean I actually saw one of the screenshots that they were sharing with like over 10,000 people on Google Analytics on your website. Did you experience like any type of issue fulfilling all these subscription that you are receiving?

Josh Hix:                We did. Aside from the fact the website went down for a few minutes on the night of the airing which is a good problem but it’s still a real problem. We had to spread the new customers out over a couple of weeks because we couldn’t fulfil it all in, in one week which hopefully most customers had a good customer experience with us or patient with the wait but as much as you wanted to fill the orders immediately, we weren’t able to.

Alejandro:        Yeah. No, I hear you. I hear you. That’s as you say a good problem to have. So switching here a little bit. How did the acquisition of Plated by Albertsons come about?

Josh Hix:                We very early on got some I think very, very great advice which was to get to know all of the different companies and leaders in the industry. So we tried to make a very deliberate effort. Once a quarter, we’re going to reach out to a different company and just build a relationship. We were actually trying to sell our meal kits through our grocery stores for years really and deals with big companies just take time so you know it’s not a bad thing per se but we had spent reaching out to all the major grocery chains along with a lot of other food industry companies. And so you know last year when Amazon bought Whole Foods, I think was a big part of it. There was overnight a lot of activity in the space, right, in the food space, in the grocery space and a lot of people re-evaluating their strategies in pretty quick fashion. And so it quickly became obvious to us that the best company, the best meal kit experience for the customer was going to be one where you could go in to a store and buy the kit or you can have it delivered on demand or you can subscribe probably at a discount and really just meet the customer everywhere that they want to be met. And that’s what the deal allowed us to do. So you know I was very happy when it came time to make a decision that we had built relationships with all these folks so it didn’t have to be sort of an awkward auction. It didn’t have to be a scramble to get in touch with any of them. It was easy to just reach out and restart conversations that we had been having for years and talk to folks and do it in an orderly sort of respectful way that had a great outcome for everybody.

Alejandro:        Of course. And I think that that’s a very good advice because people in many instances they wait until the last minute to really build those relationships and they take time. So I think the fact that you guys did that is really fantastic.

Josh Hix:                Yeah, I mean it’s you know people use the marriage analogy. It’s probably overused but you know getting in to business with somebody is a big decision. And so we wanted to make sure that we knew our sort of future business partners and vice versa. I think [good viewers 24:29] want to know the people they’re getting in to business with and you can’ t do that in a matter of days or even weeks really, not in the same way you can if you’re doing it without the pressure of sort of a deal or competitive you know auction situation. I don’t think anybody like their first call to be you know, “Hey, we’ve gotten a bid from another company and you have 48 hours to respond.” I don’t think it’s the best way to maximize value or set the business up for long term success.

Alejandro:        Got it. Got it. And I believe the terms are public. So what was the transaction?

Josh Hix:                Well, the terms had been reported. They’ve never been confirmed. The headline media number has been $300 million.

Alejandro:        Got it. Got it. And obviously I don’t want to dig in to that because I don’t want to get you in trouble. But how do you keep your investors in the loop through the M&A process?

Josh Hix:                Well, we had a very active board as all well run companies do. So our major investors, investors who had invested the most were on the board and so throughout the deal process, we were having regular board calls and board meetings. So like most companies prior to that, the board meetings were quarterly but as we moved in to a mode of considering selling the business and it’s always a process, we started having calls. I mean it was probably you know once to twice a week to keep everybody updated. I think we’re sort of putting it out there that I think communication is one of the biggest jobs of CEO and leadership even when it can be tiring. Having the same conversation with 10 different people so that you’re giving them the chance to ask you questions privately and sort of respecting the fact that they’ve invested in your business can be tiring when you need to have those over and over but it’s important.

Alejandro:        Yeah. So did you have like any learnings? Because I’m sure that going through such a stressful moment in the business right because doing a transaction of this nature is not easy but I’m sure you learned a ton from a corporate structure perspective and really from having a really good solid board. So what were your biggest learnings throughout this experience with Plated of having an effective board of directors?

Josh Hix:                Yeah. I think you know like a lot of things it seems so obvious in hindsight. I guess I find that a lot of the most you know powerful sort of lessons are things that are probably ultimately simple and straight forward. So you know it turns out it matter a lot that you have good people, people that are just good people who want to be involved with you for a long time, right. They think long term rather than short term. They’re not trying to take every last penny off the table and neither should you. I don’t think it’s the best way to build long term relationships. Folks who you know have some sympathy for the long hours. I mean we had a standing call with our lawyers I think at 11 pm everyday for months, and then back in the office bright and early and call to go very late. I think having people, just good, decent people sounds obvious but isn’t true for everyone, that was important. I think the other big lesson was being very deliberate through the years of building the business and making sure that everyone’s incentives were alive. And what I mean is every time you go to raise money, especially for a sort of a venture capital back business, you’re negotiating terms as much as you’re negotiating the price. And the price is what gets reported but there’s sort of an old saying, almost old cliché with [28:37] you set the price, I’ll set the terms, which is sort of a snarky way of saying the price almost doesn’t matter because I can structure terms around it. And I think that it turns out to matter a lot and it can get kind of technical and dry but you know things like the valuation that you choose to raise at matters a lot. I’ve had friends and seen other entrepreneurs go through situations where you know they raise at some giant number. They raise a billion dollars and then Amazon will show up and say, “We love to pay you 800 million for the business,” which should be a life changing outcome for everybody involved except for those last investors who would lose money and their fudiciaries of their investors, right, will tend to be teachers’ pension funds and you know certain individuals and lots of other folks. And if you do that, you know, you set yourself up to be in a position where you’re at odds with your investors which is certainly not fun and really not a great outcome where you kind of created a situation and you’ll never have full control of these things but you do have a reasonable amount. And so you’ve created a situation where you’re you know at logger heads with your investors. So we always try to make sure to the extent that it was possible to do so attempt to build our capital structure, to raise money at terms that were straightforward, that didn’t create sort of complicated incentives for people and at fair multiple so that we’re all winning or willing together.

Alejandro:        Got it. Got it. So I guess talking about investors, you’ve dealt with Sharks on TV obviously. Obviously as well off TV. So if you were—you know, I always say and people always that once an entrepreneur you’re always an entrepreneur. So if we were talking about the remote case of you launching another venture in the future and you are looking at perhaps raising money, what would you look for in those investors that you know you would say, “This is what I want these people to have, to come to my cap table”?

Josh Hix:                Yeah, it’s a good question. Again, I think probably the biggest thing is just you know are they—is the person a good person and do you get along with them? Right. It’s a business relationship first and foremost and believe me, I’ve certainly recognized that you don’t always have a choice. We don’t have a choice in what we’re getting. We got very lucky. You know those first investors were phenomenal people and phenomenal investors. You don’t always have a choice and ultimately you care about what you’re building and you need to keep the lights on. But when you do have a choice, that’s probably the biggest thing. And it sounds obvious but I think a lot of people can tend to get enamoured with the big named firm or whatever it is and maybe not pay attention to whether the partner has a good reputation or even more simply whether you just get along with them. There’s plenty of good folks out there that you just may not get along all that well or enjoy spending time with and you will spend a lot of time with them. So that’s the biggest thing. Then I think there’s the more technical detail so making sure the terms are good and produce alignment, not taking the last penny off the table, asking questions around things like where they’re at in the fund light cycle. I mean VCs generally speaking take money from their investors and invest it for 7 to 10 years and then they’re expected to give it back. And so if you’ve taken investment from them, at the very end of that fund lifecycle, it can sometimes create pressure to sell the business or to somehow provide liquidity for them pretty early in your business lifecycle. So I think these are just a bunch of technical factors and then some really important human ones and hopefully you are fortunate enough to be able to make those choices.

Alejandro:        Got it. Got it. And just to close the loop on the acquisition, from the moment that you guys said, “Okay, let’s take a look at this seriously,” to the moment that the deal was closed, I mean was that a long process?

Josh Hix:                It was a pretty quick process for us.

Alejandro:        Okay.

Josh Hix:                It was about 90 days which I think was for a couple of reasons you know. One was I think sort of testament to the quality of our partners in Albertsons. And then on our side of the fence, you know, one, as I mentioned built relationships with all these other folks. So there was no sort of giant process that we have to go out and sort of get introduced and solicit offer from everybody else. It was a professional process that we can run quickly. And then also internally we had invested a lot in sort of our internal controls and stuff. So all the documents were in order, the financials were audited, etc. So a lot of the relatively boiler plate kind of M&A work moved pretty quickly.

Alejandro:        Yeah. Yeah. And that’s great. I mean 90 days is really impressive. I mean typically what I’ve seen and also what I have experienced  my last company, that was like a six-month process to get it to the finish line but I mean 90 days is fantastic. So I know not only from experience but then also from other people that we have on the show, they share how stressful the process is right. And I guess in your end like how did you manage these rollercoaster of emotions during the process?

Josh Hix:                Who said I managed it?

Alejandro:        I mean maybe you didn’t but you tell me about it.

Josh Hix:                Yeah. I mean it is stressful. I don’t think there’s any way around that. I think that’s, it all kind of comes back to the people and that’s where having a great team makes it sort of bearable. And there were long nights and it is very stressful and it’s hard not to read in to every last word and it’s sort of like being in high school and texting this girl you’re interested or whatever it is like you’re reading in to every word and every email. You know they took three hours to respond to that email and is there a hidden signal in there? I mean it’s hard not to sort of play that game. It does become all consuming throughout the process. And I think just having a good team that had experience and you know had good relationships. You know, we got a lot of late nights in the office and the fact that we were tight team and were and hopefully always will be friends I think helped a lot.

Alejandro:        That’s amazing. That’s amazing. And I guess through these process, was it one of you guys responsible for it or was it like you and Nick or who was really like driving this? Who was the one leading it?

Josh Hix:                Yeah, you know, so I think to that last point, it really is a team effort. I was CEO at that point so was leading the effort or sort of kind of quarterbacking it but I mean it really is a team effort. Everyone has big roles to play in these processes and so I think the CEO has the sort of benefit of representing every else’s good work but it really is a big team.

Alejandro:        Absolutely. Absolutely. So I guess it’s pretty amazing journey with Plated, Josh. I mean you’ve seen the full cycle of building, financing, scaling and then being able to do an exit which is remarkable. So I guess looking back now, Josh, what has been your biggest lesson with Plated?

Josh Hix:                Well, first of, thank you. And it’s hard to, I don’t know, it’s hard to pick just one and it seems sort of mundane but I do think it really all does come down to the people you know and the people are the ones that drive execution and I think that’s what wins or loses. So it’s being willing to invest in people because we’re tracking the best people, looking very deliberately for people that are smarter than you, that are good team players, that bring something unique to the table and really just focusing on the team.

Alejandro:        Got it. Got it. Well, Josh, this has been fantastic. What is the best way for folks that are listening to be able to reach out and say hi?

Josh Hix:                I think Twitter is probably the best. I’m @joshhix. And certainly Plated.com is where you can find Plated and we’d love to hear from anybody.

Alejandro:        Fantastic. Well, thank you so much, Josh, for being on the show today.

Josh Hix:                Thank you.

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