In upcoming months, Arkansas Money & Politics will catch up with the founders and entrepreneurs featured in the “Fortuitous Foundings” story from our May/June 2014 print issue. We’ll see where they are now and what they’ve achieved in the years since they first appeared in our magazine. Click here to read about more of these leaders.
Randy Walker, Kurt Lind and Calvin Goforth, all featured in the “Fortuitous Foundings” story in Arkansas Money & Politics in June 2014, have each seen continued success.
Walker, founder and CEO of Harvest Data Corp., which specializes in retailer data software, says sales dipped a couple of years ago but his company has seen 45 percent growth since that time.
“We have kind of made a foray into the cloud. Some of our software and services have been focused on being able to provide cloud-based solutions to our customers and that’s helped us out a great deal,” Walker said.
Walker remains the sole employee of the company, using contractors and hiring short-term employees to handle heavy workloads. His clients include big companies like Hormel and ConAgra.
Lind, CEO of Overdrive, says that company finished 2014 with $2.95 million in volume, 2015 with $8.6 million and 2016 with $13.7 million. The company’s projected volume for 2017 is $20.8 million.
His partner, Overdrive President Jack Sanders, who started the company in his garage in a Chicago suburb in 2003, maintains an office in Illinois and there is also a location in Fayetteville. Overdrive has outsourced personnel in Texas and Pennsylvania.
“We’re focused on talent and culture above all else,” Lind said. “We just put in the right people – identify the key things in the company that need to be done and going out to find the people with the talent to get those things done.”
The company has added about five employees since 2014.
“We didn’t want to be like a lot of companies that go out and hire a bunch of people and then later have to lay off or be in a predicament where we can’t afford those people, which we’ve seen,” he said. “We didn’t want to be a company that just grew topline and didn’t produce profit and we’ve been able to accomplish those things.”
Calvin Goforth, VIC Technology Venture Development’s founder and CEO, says his company has expanded in the last three years.
“We’ve opened up branch offices in other locations. Recently we’ve opened up a San Diego branch office and we’re in the process of opening a Dallas branch office,” Goforth said.
That will make five branch sites for VIC and Goforth expects to see two or three more added in the next three years.
“Of the companies in our portfolio at least seven of the 16 have a realistic chance of being acquired in the next three years and that will be [an] obviously big event for us because it will start to bring significant sums of cash back to our investors and it will help create excitement for follow-on investments,” says Goforth. “We’ve been adding one to two new companies per year and we plan to grow to be adding 10 new companies per year by 2020. That’s our goal as opposed to the one to two companies we’ve been adding per year.”
It has taken VIC longer than he expected to reach that point.
“That’s a pretty common thing. It usually does take people longer to get these things done than they expected,” says Goforth. “There have been a lot of changes over time to get better and better at what we do and that includes the branch office model and it includes adding this thing we have called the VIC Investor Network that automatically puts the first $250,000 proof of concept capital in every new company that we form. There have been about six or seven key additions and changes to our business model that have allowed us to dramatically reduce the time that it takes to push these companies forward.”
One of VIC’s portfolio companies, SFC Fluidics, was also featured in “Fortuitous Foundings.” SFC Fluidics has narrowed its focus from creating new treatments for traumatic brain injury and diabetes to drug delivery for diabetes.
“That company is at a pretty exciting stage,” says Goforth. VIC is the largest founding shareholder of SFC Fluidics as it is of every other company in its portfolio. “It’s got a very innovative drug delivery device targeted for the diabetes market with a lot of large company interest. It took that company a long time to get there, too, and part of that time was due to not having the right business model and we’ve led that company for many years but they are poised for big success, I think.”