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EO 360°, a podcast by Entrepreneurs’ Organization, explores entrepreneurship with a wide perspective, moving beyond business to those insights not often shared by high-profile thought leaders.

Host and serial entrepreneur, Dave Will, leads in-depth interviews, whose featured guests include: Gazelles founder and CEO, Verne Harnish; popular podcast host and founder of Genius Network, Joe Polish; award-winning entrepreneur, Zahra Al-Harazi; and more. Tune into this top podcast made by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs.

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Jul 25, 2017

Have you ever thought about bringing an outside company on as an investor in your business? If you have, then today’s episode of the E.O. Podcast isn’t one you want to miss. Meet Andy Steggles, president of Higher Logic, a cloud-based community platform that serves associations, non-profits, businesses, and member-based organizations, and author of Social Networking for Non-Profit. Today, Andy will tell you how he strategically took on a BIG investor without relinquishing any control of the company, and explain how you can do the same.  

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:37 – Dave and Andy go back a long way
  • 02:08 – Dave did a Google keyword search on Higher Logic and results show a number of marijuana-related sites, to be clear Higher Logic is not about weed
  • 02:59 – Dave last saw Andy in Frankfurt at the EO Global Leadership Council Conference
  • 03:36 – Andy is originally from Birmingham, at the age of 15 he joined the Navy and stayed there for 9 years
  • 04:27 – Andy met his wife in Hong Kong when he was based there with the Navy
  • 04:46 – When they went back to London, he got into computers with the goal of being an entrepreneur
  • 05:04 – When they moved to New York, Andy was planning to start his own .com but then the bubble burst
  • 05:33 – Dave says the .com bust is actually what opened the doors to become an entrepreneur for him
  • 06:26 – Dave asks Andy about his childhood
  • 08:15 – Andy’s dad quit driving busses to become a physics teacher (more money) even though driving was his passion
  • 09:03 – Andy’s mom was a cleaner—that’s where he gets his entrepreneurial passion
    • 11:34 – His mom would do everything she could to earn money
    • 12:08 – She got great deals for food and other everyday essentials
    • 13:03 – She pushed Andy to get every job he could and helped him understand to get the most out of whatever was in front of him
  • 14:20 – Andy created during the early days of VRBO or but AirBnB has already disrupted the space
  • 15:08 – He never made a penny from the business but is emotionally attached to it
  • 16:14 – Higher Logic is a community—a combination of Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and a little bit of Twitter, it helps you leverage opportunities for engagement in a private, secure manner
  • 17:02 – For example, the American Bar Association uses Higher Logic and has different sections for people including “committees, events, experts and members”
  • 17:56 – There are over a thousand organizations that use the platform with over 50 million users
  • 18:35 – Higher Logic caters to organizations big and small
  • 19:51 – Higher Logic started 9 years ago and they now have 185 employees
  • 20:34 – Private equity contributes $55 million to Higher Logic
  • 21:06 – Andy says they did not give up control of the company
  • 21:22 – Dave says this means less than 50% of the company was sold for the $55 million putting them at a $110 million valuation
  • 24:28 – The quotes Andy received were insane
  • 25:37 – Narrowing down the private equity companies to fit their criteria
  • 27:14 – Do NOT overstate your numbers
  • 30:05 – Play good cop bad cop in asking for a bigger offer
  • 32:31 – The HIGHEST offer is not always the one you should take
  • 34:11 – “What is the best thing for me to do to help build value for the company?”
  • 35:37 – Before he hired someone else to do his job, Andy was asked four questions – (1) how much are you learning on a daily basis, (2) how passionate are you about it, (3) how much value are you bringing to company and (4) is it replicable
  • 36:36 – Andy realized other people can do the job better than him and he has since focused on evangelism, thought leadership, publishing, and speaking
  • 39:45 – Changing the numbers is a very dark, dangerous path to go down
  • 40:40 – Dave says it’s hard to bring different organizations’ cultures together
  • 44:32 – By mid-February of this year, Higher Logic had already acquired two new companies, hired additional employees, and had a company retreat
  • 45:30 – They also got a $20 million line of credit from the equity company that invested in them for $55 million
  • 47:03 – Dave introduces the new lightning round called “Boxers or Briefs”
  • Mac or PC – PC
  • iPhone or Android – iPhone
  • Coffee or 5-hour energy – coffee
  • Tesla or Porsche – Tesla
  • Dre or Dr. John – Dre
  • Power boat or sail boat – sail boat
  • Paper back or Audible – Audible
  • Gym or outdoor fitness – outdoor
  • Beer, wine or whiskey – beer
  • Jeans or khakis – jeans
  • 49:12 – Andy has been accepted to Harvard’s OPM or Owner/President Management course next year
  • 53:16 – By and large, people are inherently good and will do the right thing
  • 55:05 – Connect with Andy thru his email or at LinkedIn
  • 55:20 – Dave closes the episode and encourages you to visit his website

3 Key Points:

  1. Never surrender control of your process unless you are absolutely sure it is the right thing to do.
  2. A mentor or a business coach is something you must take on in your professional career if you want to reach the next level.
  3. The BIGGEST offer is not always the BEST offer.

Resources Mentioned: