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September 24, 2019

One Company’s Journey From Family-owned Business to Private Equity-owned Entity...And What They Learned Along the Way

GUEST: Gary Walter, President and CEO of InfutorB2B_Revenue_Executive_Experience-Gary-Walter-02

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On the latest episode of the B2B Revenue Executive Experience podcast, we spoke to Gary Walter, President and CEO of Infutor Data Solutions, to find out what it takes to go from a family-owned business to a private equity-owned entity.

Infutor is a company focused on data driven customer identity management. And don't worry, we'll get into what that means in a bit. On the show we talked about a variety of topics from sales process to effectively scaling a business.

Here’s what Gary had to say.

More about Infutor

Everything they do is around consumer identity management. 

So, what exactly does that mean?

Well, by leveraging data to provide real-time identity attribute insights, they’re helping companies achieve better customer engagement.

Ultimately, their vision is to transform data into insights so that brands and platforms can better identify, find, and delight their customers.

From family-owned business to private equity-owned entity

“I'm a firm believer that no one should fight a battle alone.”

Gary Walter, President and CEO of Infutor Data Solutions.
 

Infutor started off as a family-owned business when Gary’s dad founded the business in 2003.

Then, in 2016 they sold a good portion of the business to venture partners to help accelerate its growth. 

At least in my experience, it’s a bit unusual for a family-owned business to make that move willingly. 

So, what was the strategy behind this move for Infutor?

Gary describes the business as having three versions. 

During version 1 of the business, Infutor had a great foundation and a moderately good growth rate. 

Then, during version 2, just by putting some more formal strategy and structure in place, they doubled the size of the business in three years. 

It was this version 2 growth that made Gary realize they could supercharge the business. He knew they could be a big company that provided a lot of value in the marketplace. But he also recognized that to get there, they needed some additional capital and to really professionalize what a family-owned business would be with process, procedure, frameworks, strategy, and execution.

So, Norwest Venture Partners stepped in to partner with Infutor. 

And since then, they’ve doubled the size of the business...once again. 

That’s pretty incredible growth.

So, what did they learn along the way?

“Having people that you can drive through the trenches with is incredibly important.”

Gary Walter, President and CEO of Infutor Data Solutions.
 

The company has a pretty unique story. 

So, what are some key takeaways they’ve learned along the way?

Here are their top two.

#1: You can’t do it on your own.
  • Find a team of people that you trust. 
  • A team you can collaborate with and build upon.  
  • You can't do it all on your own. And even if you could, doing it all alone doesn’t scale. 
  • So, surround yourself with really good people and work together.
#2: When it comes to vision, make sure you and your investors are on the same page.
  • Where do you want this company to go? 
  • What do you want to accomplish together?
  • Everyone faces trials, tribulations, and successes, failures, and all those things. But if you can articulate what your vision is, why you’re doing something, why something has been successful, or what you’ve learned from a failure...it really makes a difference.
  • Make sure you establish that guiding light and that you always keep it in focus.

We Ask Every Podcast Guest These 2 Questions: 

“If you're really confident in you, you will always be successful.”

Gary Walter, President and CEO of Infutor Data Solutions.

 

What's effective in earning 15 minutes of your time?

“On one end of the spectrum I like is when people make a personal connection. So, they see I'm an outdoor advocate and then they connect on that and tie it back to the product they're selling. Establishing that personal connection is really important.

And then on the opposite end of the spectrum, I also respect someone says, ‘Hey, I have this, this, and this. Do you want it?’ I really respect someone who does that, too, because I can say yes or no really quickly.

So, those are opposite ends of the spectrum, but I respect both approaches.”

Your grandest piece of advice for a sales or marketing professional?

“The common denominators for people who've been successful with us are process and confidence. If you're willing to trust our process and follow it, you're going to accelerate and do very well. 

And then on top of that, if you're really confident in you, and in the data, products or services we're providing, you will always be successful. 

Finally, inclusion of other team members is really important, too. I'm a firm believer that no one should fight a battle alone.”

This blogpost includes highlights of our podcast interview with Gary Walter, President and CEO of Infutor Data Solutions.

If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, you can listen to every episode here.