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Richie Serna learned the value of hustling early on in life. That has certainly paid off in raising over $100M for his own startup that is fueling the future of financial services with billions of transactions. Finix has raised $102M in financing from top-tier investors like Lightspeed Venture Partners, American Express Ventures, PSP Growth, and Inspired Capital Partners.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Raising a Seed round after 70 noes from investors
  • How to build your network to get funded
  • His top three pieces of advice of other entrepreneurs
  • The five books he recommends that you read
  • Two of the most important questions he asks when hiring

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For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).

Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

About Richie Serna:

Richie Serna is the CEO and co-founder of Finix, a company that gives other companies more control over their payment processing and helps give them a greater share of the processing fee that merchants pay.

Finix helps businesses earn 0.4% more on every transaction procession compared to other traditional processors. Finix has over 50 customers one of which includes Lightspeed.

Richie Serna began his career working as an Investment Banking Intern at J.P. Morgan. From there, he went on to be a consultant for Booz & Company, a finance director and co-campaign manager for Emanuel Pleitez for Los Angeles Mayor, and has previously been an engineer for Balanced before starting Finix.

Richie Serna has earned his A.B., Cum Laude, in Government from Harvard University. Richie Serna has been featured in outlets such as Inc, Forbes, and Medium..

Connect with Richie Serna:

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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW:

Alejandro: Alrighty. Hello everyone, and welcome to the DealMakers show. I’m super excited about the guest that we have today. We’re going to be talking about scaling, financing, building, growing, you name it. I find that his story of going from corporate to startups is super remarkable – from humble beginnings to now having been able to build something for himself from the ground up. I think that we’re going to enjoy, very much, his story. So without further ado, let’s welcome our guest today, Richie Serna. Welcome to the show.

Richie Serna: Thank you for having me. I’m really excited.

Alejandro: So originally, you were born to immigrant parents, parents that came from Mexico to here, to the U.S., to look for a better future for themselves, for their family. I’m sure that has been quite inspiring for you and, obviously, not very easy for them at the beginning when they had to move here to the country.

Richie Serna: Yeah. My parents’ story is absolutely foundational to who I am, to my work ethic, to the way that I approach life. One of the things that I start with in every single interview whenever I bring on a new candidate is that I ask them, “What’s your story, and how did that shape you in your life?” For me, it was definitely my parents coming to the States. My mom immigrated here in the ‘60s and my dad in the ‘70s, and they met here in Santa Ana. It’s part of Southern California in Orange County. It’s very different, though, from the OC that you see on MTV and other TV shows. This is definitely the real OC where I’m from, with 80% Mexican immigrants. I have 40 to 50 first cousins that still live there. My parents were tirelessly hardworking immigrants who came here to really provide a better upbringing for myself and for my brother. My dad’s a bus driver for OCTA, Orange County Transportation Association. He actually just won Employee of the Year last month. So, across all the bus drivers in all of Orange County. I think that’s exactly where I get my work ethic, and my hustle is from him.

Alejandro: That’s amazing. And your mother, very early on, she knew that she wanted to provide the absolute best future that they could for you, and she fought hard to make sure that you had access to the best education. So, what did she do?

Richie Serna: Yeah. My mom is a fighter, first and foremost. She actually dropped out of school at a young age so that she could raise her five sisters, and I think that’s just always who she’s been. She fights for the people that she loves, and she fights to give people a better chance than she had. When I got into elementary school in the city that I come from, Santa Ana, there are some of the worst schools in the state. Most of them are taken over by the federal government. To get into the better schools, which are still not as good as some of the best public schools in the state, she had to camp outside the school. This was an elementary school where she camped out to make sure that I could get the best lottery possible. Then, in high school, when our school was in Santa Ana and didn’t have better opportunities, she went to Irvine, which is a neighboring school district, and they are, I think, the second safest city in all of America. It’s probably the best suburb to ever live in, and it’s one of the best public educations. She took my test scores to every single principal, walked in, and just said, “Will you take my son?” No, after no, after no, until finally, someone said yes. It’s the same thing with pitching. Right? You just have to get to that first, yes, and my mom had that same mentality.

Alejandro: That’s amazing. Obviously, that was the segue to get, for the first time, into an airplane that would land you into the campus of Harvard.

Richie Serna: Yeah.

Alejandro: What an incredible transformation. I’m sure that when that was being the case, your parents probably had tears of joy.

Richie Serna: My mom didn’t believe me. When I got into Harvard, I remember, I went home. They sent me an email, and usually, they send you a big packet and stuff like that. I was like, “Oh. If they send you an email, that’s a rejection notification.” They’re not even going to put that on paper. So, I opened up the email, and it was like, “Congratulations, you got in.” I just sat there by myself, in a dark room, completely quiet, and was like, “This can’t be real,” like five different times. Then I called my mom and said, “Mom, you’re not going to believe this.” She’s like, “What?” I was like, “I got into Harvard.” She goes, “Shut up. No, you didn’t.” [Laughter] So, we all read it together, and absolutely tears of joy came across. My grandma, who doesn’t speak English and didn’t know at the time what Harvard was, she was like, “Why don’t you just go to Santa Ana Community College? It’s right across the street.” [Laughter]. I was like, “It’s a little different, Grandma.” I ended up flying out there. Students who couldn’t afford to fly out there, they actually paid for you to fly out there so you could attend and see the weekend. It was like a scene out of a movie where my hands were like this against the taxi window seeing the beautiful brick stone architecture of Boston and just being completely in awe of the architecture, the culture, everything that was there. It wasn’t necessarily like the awesome welcoming experience when you go on the campus. You’re like, “Oh, everybody there seems like they’re working insanely hard and aren’t that happy.” For me, I was like, “If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere.” I knew that was going to be a place that pushed me to move across the country, to not have family out there, and it was, honestly, one of the best experiences of my life.

Alejandro: It’s very interesting because after Harvard, basically, you did a couple of internships. You did investment banking. Then you went into consulting. But it’s interesting because some of the best founders that I interview, they’ve either been investment bankers, or they have been consultants. In this case, you have two very critical ones. Obviously, the other one is the VC or private equity guy turned into an entrepreneur, as well. So, those are the three ones that I see often, but you have two of those. That mentality and that mindset, why do you think it makes such great entrepreneurs, like either former consultants or former investment bankers?

Richie Serna: Actually, I had a third internship, which was completely different from those two experiences. I worked for the mayor’s office in LA. This was before my investment banking summer in the office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development. So, that was something that was definitely a passion for me and something that really hit close to home given my upbringing. During that summer internship, we were literally putting resources to the nine most dangerous parks in all of LA that had the most gang violence and putting on programming to reduce the amount of violence. We didn’t have a single murder or a single shooting during that period, which was something that we took a lot of pride in. It was the first year they had ever done it, and it was the first type of program like that in the entire country, and they’ve now expanded it. Definitely, it had some very unique and interesting experiences. I think each one of them has been absolutely formative. If you’ve ever seen the movie Training Day, there’s a scene where they are flying pigeons when the cops come to the location. We were working in that real location. So, I think, when you’re in that type of environment, there’s really not much else that can scare you. That was something that was really formative for me, and seeing that and experiencing that. Then, going into investment banking and seeing an entirely different side of the world was entirely new to me. I think that was formative in terms of how hard can you really push yourself? Are you willing to work 100 hours a week? You realize that your body can actually do that for longer than you expect. Consulting, I think, was very formative in terms of how to think in terms of frameworks and structures. I tried to take as much as I could from each of those experiences.

Alejandro: I like how you always put in parallel your own life experiences to movies that we’ve all seen in the past. One of those movies that reminded you of where you were in your life, you had, not really a midlife crisis, but you were in your mid-20s core life.

Richie Serna: 25

Alejandro: Yeah, 25, so let’s say 25. All of the sudden, you remind yourself of the movie Fight Club. Tell us why Fight Club? What was reminding you of that movie?

Richie Serna: Yeah. There’s a really famous scene in the beginning of it where Edward Norton is sitting there, and he’s complaining about his life and how his life has basically become him looking at the IKEA catalog and thinking about the different things that he can buy and what else he can do for interior design to numb the fact that he’s not very happy. There was a moment when I was watching that movie and just sitting there, and it was kind of like office space was a lot of my experience in consulting. We were staying at these five-star hotels, the W, the Ritz, and things like that. We would have $100 a night per diems, so eating steaks and things like that, which was completely foreign to me in what my upbringing was. I remember sitting there in the office. It was during – do you remember Occupy Wall Street?

Alejandro: Yeah.

Richie Serna: That experience where people were protesting that these big banks had been bailed out while the rest of the population hadn’t. I was just sitting there, and realizing, and staring at that clock, and just watching it tick, and being like, “That clock is going so slowly; it feels like it’s in slow-motion.” And just realizing, “This is not the life for me.” I learned a ton in those two years. It still wasn’t what I wanted the rest of my life to be. There had to be something else; there had to be another meaning. Don’t get me wrong. I have tons of friends who are still in consulting, and it’s an incredible place to learn as much as possible from different industries, but that wasn’t really what made me hungry for life. So, I started thinking about what those other options were. What else could I do? I thought about going into private equity, and I started thinking about interviewing at hedge funds. I interviewed at a bunch of these places and kept getting these final rounds and kept getting rejected. Actually, one of our current investors rejected me after 12 to 15 rounds of interviews, and I joke with them now that they could have had me for a lot cheaper than what they ended up investing in the company. [Laughter] As I spoke to my buddies who were in D.C. and shared some of the ideas that I had, they were like, “Oh, your ideas are pretty good, but you’re 25, and you never coded. Your parents aren’t rich. They’re not going to fund you, and you’ve never worked at a rocket ship startup. Who is going to give you cash?” They’re like, “Maybe you should just try something else.” I think looking back, I was like, “Well, I’ll probably have plenty of time to go and learn software engineering. So, I moved to San Francisco. This was back in 2013 – just to completely start fresh.

Alejandro: And what a turn. You went from having your $100 per day for steaks to going to $30 a night on a Hacker House and probably switching to noodles.

Richie Serna: It was a lot of Chipotle.
[Laughter]

Alejandro: Good stuff.

Richie Serna: I think when you grow from a humble background like that, you realize, “I was happy before I had those things. I was happier before I had those things. You go into the hotel the first time, and you’re like, “Wow!” I remember the first time I went into the W Hotel. I recorded it, and I sent it to my brother. I was like, “Oh, my gosh! I feel like I made it!” Then, after the fifth time of being there, like, “This *****. This is not where I want to be. I want to do something else.

Alejandro: So, tell us about, now, doing the shift and going to the Hacker House there in San Francisco. And even earlier than that, what was that thought process that you came up with the decision that “I need to move, and I need to go to San Francisco, and I need to study or really get into this engineering”?

Richie Serna: As I said, looking at that clock, I was definitely in a period of my life where I felt like I was in a rut, where I felt like I was stuck. I did go to a lot of movies growing up. That’s what we’d do on weekends. Did you ever see that movie, Up in the Air? It’s like that’s where I was living. It was just some plane, and that wasn’t fulfilling either. When I told a few buddies about my startup ideas, someone was like, “You should pay a bunch of international contractors to build the software for you and get started off that way.” I was like, “I don’t know anything about engineering. How am I going to know if I’m getting the right product? I feel like I have to go and learn it.” I started thinking about people who learn computer science in college. Typically, if you think about it, it’s a four-year college degree, but 50% of your classes are in computer science, so it’s really a two-year endeavor. I was, “Well. If it takes me two years to learn the skill set that I’d have for the rest of my life, it makes sense for me to go off and try it.” I ended up reading an article in the New York Times about hacker houses and people learning to code. Then someone sent me an article within the next week of people learning software engineering and getting jobs at these incredible startups. I was like, “This is a sign. I’ve got to go.” So, I told the firm that I wanted to go and do something else and just left. A lot of people thought I was having a mid-life crisis too. All my friends were trying to convince me not to do it. “You have this incredible job. Why would you leave it all and start over?” Going back to my parents’ story, that was real risk-taking, immigrating to another country, starting completely fresh. Starting a new job, starting a new career, that wasn’t really risky to me.

Alejandro: Yeah. In this case, you moved to San Francisco. You went to the Hacker House, $30 a night, and then you ended up landing a job for this company, for this startup that was like your way into the venture world. What was that experience like for you?

Richie Serna: Yeah. I got introduced to this guy by the name of Jareau Wadé. He’s actually now our Chief Growth Officer at Finix, and he was one of the founders of Balanced. I didn’t know anything about payments. I didn’t care anything about payments. It wasn’t interesting to me, but someone said there was this “really hot startup that you’ve got to go check out, and the best engineers were working there.” I met him, and we immediately hit it off. He’s a Black guy from Tuscan. All his friends are Mexican. I’m Mexican, and all of my friends in college were all Black, and we were just like, “Did we just meet our best friend?” We had similar stories and upbringings. I knew at that point that it didn’t matter what he was doing, I wanted to work for him, and I wanted to learn from him. We found the email that I sent to him where I begged him for a job, and I was like, “I will work for food. Just pay me anything that you can, and I will be there.” That was back in 2013, and so it was an incredible experience. They basically gave me a laptop, and they’re like, “Go sit over there. Set up your virtual machine and start fixing this SDK. You’re going to manage all of the developer integrations. You’re going to do all of the support engineering.” I was the first one in and the last one out. That’s the investment banking mentality. That’s what I told that team: “I’m going to be the first one in and the last one out every single night.” And I did for two-and-a-half years. I tried to soak up as much as possible.

Alejandro: And there, in Balanced, as well, you were able to learn the transactional side. The company went through an acquisition via Stripe. Actually, when that happened, you got access to two things: one was being able to see the full cycle, maybe like the stuff that you were seeing more on the investment banking side, but more from an operator’s mindset. But also, what you were really exposed to was perhaps the vertical SaaS-type of thing, and that all happened when you were doing the transitional work. Tell us about this.

Richie Serna: Yes. Just a little bit of history. Balanced was basically the first payment [17:05] after marketplaces. If you think about most payments, like a store like Nike, they’re a sustainable merchant. But payments for companies like Uber, Airbnb, eBay, Amazon is a very different payment model that really hadn’t been solved for until Balanced came on the scene. At the time, we were really focused on marketplaces, and when we were exiting, we didn’t do a lot of focus on the vertical SaaS space, but one of our customers, at the time – I was leading all of the migration of our customers over to Stripe. That customer raised a massive round through a very well-known VC fund, and I knew that they weren’t doing that much volume. So, I went into our database. It was late at night. I was the only one in the office. I wanted to see how much volume and what their growth was. I was like, “This is insane that they raised this kind of cash.” I looked at who our actual fastest-growing customers were and who the biggest customers were in terms of volume, and it wasn’t any of the Silicon Valley household names. It was all these vertical SaaS platforms that we, as consumers, don’t even know are powering these types of businesses. One, for example, was a software provider for vineyards in Napa. If you think about it, every single vineyard in Napa has the same requirements. They need a landing page. They need to process payments. They need an eCommerce experience. They need a CRM tool. They need logistics to be able to ship the products. They’re not going to hire an army of engineers to build that out. Instead, they license this out from this vertical SaaS platform. Another company was doing that for [18:27], so every single time you go to [18:29], they were providing this other software for them to run the day-to-day operations. Another one was doing travel bookings. This was a lightbulb moment. We were going after the wrong market. Now, with the rise of vertical SaaS, every VC talks about it and is looking into it and they see this massive potential, but that was the first proof point that these vertical SaaS companies were differentiating based on payments and other financial services.

Alejandro: Got it. So, obviously, here, you have that breakthrough moment, and you realize, as well, that perhaps it’s time for you to go at it on your own and build your own baby. How was that process of you incubating this and bringing it to life?

Richie Serna: I think a lot of it is just kind of inertia. It’s just these little milestones, these little baby steps that start to snowball into something. When the TechCrunch article went out that we had exited to Stripe, a bunch of these vertical SaaS companies started reaching out to us, saying, “We really love what you built back at your last company. What if you came in-house and did that for us?” We weren’t looking to go in-house, but if someone is willing to pay us for these services, what if we start looking at this like a new innovative approach to payments. We’re not the payment company. We’re helping them stand up their own payment businesses. We’re helping them turn this historical cost center into a profit center. During that process, I think, how do you turn this into something real? The way I share it is it’s like thinking of creating a song or painting a picture. It’s never going to be perfect on your first try, but you’ve got to put that first brushstroke, make that first note, write that first line of code, start pitching, creating your docs, creating your decks, and just trying. Asking people, talking to customers. In the same way that my mom was getting all those noes until she got that first yes, that’s our first customer. We probably got rejected from every single – nobody would talk to us. I went to Money20/20 for the first time and was just walking around to random people trying to see if they would listen to my pitch, and eventually, that’s how I built a network. I was an engineer at a payment startup. It wasn’t like I built this massive payment network. I didn’t know those industry insiders, so how could I break-in? It’s just going and trying and not being afraid of people shutting you down.

Alejandro: So what ended up being the business model of Finix Payments?

Richie Serna: We have a very innovative approach in that we license out our software to these vertical SaaS companies at a fixed price. It’s a very classic enterprise SaaS model as opposed to the traditional approach that other payment providers do. Most payment providers will charge you a number of base points, 2.9% plus 3 cents per transaction. Once you really start to hit scale, that becomes prohibitively expensive, and they start looking for other options. Rather than these companies outgrowing these types of developer payment APIs and then having to build their own army of engineers, which is what LIP did, they can now come to Finix, and we can provide them all the payment APIs and infrastructure to stand up their payment business. It’s a far more scalable business model.

Alejandro: Got it. How much capital have you guys raised to date?

Richie Serna: We’ve raised about $102 million.

Alejandro: I know that the seed round was quite a challenging moment. I think that you guys pitched like over 70 people, so how is that?

Richie Serna: Over six months, I pitched over 70 people until I got my first term sheet. It was tough. It was that persistence and that grit to get through it. If I go back to that time, this was 2017. This was during the craze of Crypto and Bitcoin. Bitcoin, I think, was trading at $20,000 a coin, and everybody thought that the Crypto world was going to destroy the legacy financial system. They were going to destroy the need for payments and Visa and Mastercard. Every single VC just said, “Isn’t Bitcoin just going to make this useless?” I’m like, “No, it’s not the way that payment systems work.” Going against that kind of trend was incredibly difficult, and finally, we got our first term sheet, and it’s all history from there. That’s a false statement. That’s when the hard work begins. Yeah, you can go off and pitch and pitch and pitch, but pitching and raising money isn’t really the achievement.

Alejandro: Right.

Richie Serna: It’s actually going off and building that company and building that vision of what you’re taking to the market.

Alejandro: Absolutely. Financing is not a milestone; it’s a stepping stone. In your case, you got great investors. You got Sequoia, Lightspeed, Bain. Talking about someone that came from a completely different sector that goes into building his own company and lands the absolute best. How do you think about networks because you’ve come from nothing? Your family has come from nothing. You guys built everything yourselves, and here you are, you land the absolute best in the industry, coming out of left field. How did you manage to do this, and more importantly, how do you think about networks and building those around you?

Richie Serna: Yeah. When you first start off your company, everybody tells you to go and do a friends-and-family round. It’s kind of tough if your friends and family don’t necessarily have a massive net worth. That was something that was off the table, to begin with. I think breaking into that network and breaking into that industry is difficult. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was easier based on the college that I went into and having the connections that I had built throughout that period in time. One of my college professors, whose name is Robert Putnam, has this course in a book that he wrote called Bowling Alone. Basically, what he said was that if you actually look at people’s net worth and the best and strongest indicator or correlation of someone being successful is actually the size of a Rolodex. Nowadays, people don’t have Rolodexes, but the concept still remains. Building networks takes time, and I think doing it from a place where you genuinely are interested in people and you’re not just transactional. That’s how you build a powerful network. I’ve never gone around and said, “What can you do for me?” It’s just these are fascinating, interesting people, and I want to have conversations. I want to get to know them. I think when it comes from that place of sincerity and authenticity, that’s when people want to help you. That was something that I’ve always taken that approach. I think I picked this up from my mom. She is a people-person. She has the gift of gab, and she loves to make people feel good, and she likes to bring people together. I think I’ve always had that approach. When we went out to our fundraising round, I basically dumped my LinkedIn from the folks that I knew and just reached out to people and said, “Hey, I’m starting my own company. Do you know people in the industry who could help?” One thing leads to another, and that’s how you end up getting your first check. There was a candidate who I worked for. I worked on a Mayoral candidate, and I reached out to him for help, and he introduced me to the VC who gave us our first term sheet. So, it’s these kinds of per-chance interactions that can have profound impacts on your life.

Alejandro: Absolutely. In this case, for Finix, is there anything that you can tell us about where you guys are at today, the amount of employees or the size of the business, or anything?

Richie Serna: Yeah. It’s exciting to know that we are processing billions and billions of dollars all around the world. At this time, I’ll share that we were 15 people as of 2019. I think we just crossed 100 people last week. We’re planning a double-head count over the next year, so a lot of growth and a lot of hard work. If anybody listening is interested, we’re always hiring.

Alejandro: And you have a bunch of books behind you.

Richie Serna: [Inaudible 26:18] On the Zoom background. [Laughter]

Alejandro: The people that are listening aren’t able to see it, but just the people that are watching. As a founder, and you were just talking about that incredible growth from 15 over 100, I’m sure that for you getting access to the right knowledge and the right tools has been critical. Which three books would you say have had the biggest impact for you as an entrepreneur?

Richie Serna: I try to read as much as possible, and I wish I had read it earlier, back in my early days of starting the company. I think the first year or two, I was reading the 900-page PDFs of all of the payment processors to understand how they all connected together. I’m still reading, it was just something more the technical aspects and leadership, and there are so many incredible nuggets. I ask executives when I interview them, “What’s your favorite book? What book really helped shape you?” And I’ll pick them up and read them. My three favorite books, the ones that really shaped me over the last year or two, are: 1) The Score Takes Care of Itself, by Bill Walsh. If anybody at the company is listening to this podcast, they’re going to laugh because I quote that book all the time. It’s about the former 49er’s coach and how he turned their team from the worst record in the league to being Superbowl Champions in 18 months, and how formative culture is in building excellence, in building toward excellence. That was something impactful. 2) The Checklist Manifesto is an incredible book in terms of how to think about problem-solving. 3) Playing to Win is also a great book in thinking through strategic decision-making. 4) Extreme Ownership is about Marines and how they think through leadership. I could go on and on. Oh! My favorite book recently is The Dip. It’s an 80 to 100-page book that someone shared with me recently about how the greatest gains in excellence and growth in any company come through ruts of the company. That’s where you define yourself, and that’s where growth comes from. It’s a short read, and I suggest everyone reads it.

Alejandro: Is that Seth Godin?

Richie Serna: Yes.

Alejandro: That’s a good one. Very good books. If you had the opportunity to go to sleep tonight, Richie – and you seem a quite active individual. Let’s say you go to sleep tonight, and you wake up in a world five years later – a tremendous snooze. You’ve been able to recover all the loss of sleep of building and scaling a company. You wake up in a world where the vision of Finix Payments is fully realized. What does that world look like?

Richie Serna: We have become the operating system for Fintech worldwide. We’re processing a significant chunk of the world’s economy in our systems, and that’s really the part that’s so exciting about being in payments is that it’s one of those products that everybody touches multiple times per day, but really, no one has a deep appreciation for the complexity that goes on behind the scenes. That’s what we want to be able to create – a world where you can launch any type of payment or financial services product faster, cheaper than ever. If we can provide a world where that exists, the true beneficiaries are the consumers, the merchants, the people who are getting the best commerce experience as possible.

Alejandro: That’s amazing. One of the questions I typically ask the guests that come on the show is if you had the opportunity to go into a time machine, and you go back in time, and you have a chat with that younger self, that Richie that is coming out of Balanced and is thinking about doing your own thing. If you could have that ear of that younger Richie and give yourself one piece of advice before launching a company, what would that be and why, given what you know now?

Richie Serna: I’ll say two-bit pieces. One is learning to ignore the noise and really focus. I think a lot of people talk about focus on thinking on all the things that you will do, but focus really comes down to the things that you won’t do, and really being disciplined about that as well. It’s so important when you’re getting started as a company. The second piece there, I would say: invest in your own leadership training. Very few people are taught how to be great leaders. Very few people are taught how to be great managers, and investing in yourself, especially the founders, as early as possible is incredibly important. I was lucky enough that I was able to get an executive coach once we could afford one, and it’s been transformational for me getting to know other founders, as well, to learn from their lessons of leadership and how they can communicate with their teams and lead them. Those are things that are absolutely part of the job and part of the role.

Alejandro: Absolutely. Now, imagine that we are able to go even earlier in time. We go back even before you were accepted into Harvard, and perhaps you were in Orange County. As you were saying, not having access to a lot of the stuff that you have access to now, what would you tell your younger self?

Richie Serna: Trust your gut. It has never led me astray.

Alejandro: I love it. Well, Richie, for the folks that are listening, what is the best way for them to reach out and say hi?

Richie Serna: TikTok. I’m totally kidding.
[Laughter]

Alejandro: I was like, Wow! I wonder if he has dance moves? I want to see those dance moves.
[Laughter]

Richie Serna: I don’t even have a TikTok. Yeah, LinkedIn is the best way.

Alejandro: Amazing. Well, Richie, thank you so much for being on the DealMakers show today.

Richie Serna: Thank you for having me.

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If you like the show, make sure that you hit that subscribe button. If you can leave a review as well, that would be fantastic. And if you got any value either from this episode or from the show itself, share it with a friend. Perhaps they will also appreciate it. Also, remember, if you need any help, whether it is with your fundraising efforts or with selling your business, you can reach me at alejandro@pantheraadvisors.com.

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