Cary Jenkins was behind one of the biggest tech exits in recent Columbus history. His company of TopNoggin, the producer of the innovative pension management software platform: Bluefin, was recently acquired by The Hartford Financial Services Group. Cary continues to believe that the IT departments of large companies are not designed to innovate; after TogNoggin he has continued to seek out technology needs with other ventures including Visible Equity and My Financial Guard.
As far as the Cullman lunch series goes, Cary was on the informal end of the spectrum. He spent some time demonstrating the Bluefin product and tried to let our questions lead the discussion.
A few themes that I picked up on:
- “Bullets in your gun” when brining in partners. Cary highlighted two selling points when trying to recruit partners away from lucrative corporate life: fun and a potential lump sum. When our group discussed our reasons for wanting to start a company, we boiled it down to “we just want do something different” and “fun.” Cary also pointed out that most millionaires become millionaires as the result of a lump sum (i.e. it is very hard to become a millionaire through a salary)—and by taking equity you create this potential.
- Be honest with your talents. Some of the first people Cary brought on when he started TopNoggin were a domain expert (an actuary) and a president. While Cary is very talented in crafting and selling a product, he is first to admit that general management is not his forte.
- Flexibility and Adaptability of new ventures: Cary took us through the startup history of TopNoggin and Visible Equity. Both companies began by doing something else and the economic situation (e.g. Housing Market Meltdown, Dot Com Bust) and customer needs led their products in new directions.
Reposted from aaron360.com.