Dinova’s platform brings together companies and restaurants to deliver choice and control over business-related dining.
Business is personal. For all our reliance on advanced communications and technology, relationships are still stronger when people meet in person. And what better way to do this than sharing a meal?
Dinova’s platform gives business diners access to a 20,000+ restaurant network offering rebates linked to how much they spend. They get enhanced visibility into precisely how much they are spending on dining and employees get rewards too, encouraging them to stay within the network. For their part, restaurants get the opportunity to become the preferred destination for valuable business diners across the country.
Q&A with the CEO
Alison Galik, Dinova
What advice would you give other leaders who are joining an existing growth-stage business?Don't rush to conclusions. Give yourself time. Too often executives jump into businesses and bring a lot of big ideas from their previous companies—this is how we should do things, here's my playbook.
But each company is its own unique being. You have to spend time identifying the people who are going to propel the business forward. It’s important to get behind them as well as bringing in new talent.
How did you come to join Dinova?I joined Dinova as a President after Frontier’s investment (this is actually my third Frontier company).
Vic Macchio, Dinova’s founder, was heavily involved in choosing me to take over as CEO. Vic is still involved in the business—he is on the board and has a minority investment. I regularly meet with him and he does the orientations for our new hires. The fact that we have such a great relationship is a testament to how Frontier handled the whole transition.
What has been the biggest result of the partnership with Frontier so far?Frontier has helped Dinova reach levels of growth and success we would have never reached on our own. I believe this is the result of Frontier helping us find the people we need at the executive level. This talent is raising the bar on performance within the company which then translates into results.
We have been far better able to attract talent with Frontier behind us—particularly at the executive level. That's been critical to me. When you get the right executive talent in, there's just a domino upgrade effect on the rest of the business. I’ve hired a CFO and a CRO, and Frontier was right by my side in helping me identify the right people.
How have you used Frontier’s Operating Partners to help you address key challenges?When I first came into the business, we had challenges with developing the right metrics and KPIs to measure success. While I eventually hired a new CFO and CRO, Frontier’s Operating Partners helped me bridge the gap.
After that, I started to look at customer success and how we could get better with retention and customer engagement. Again I brought in a Frontier Operating Partner with specialist expertise. She worked with my VP of Customer Success to build out a state-of-the-art program.
We then turned the focus to learning and development. When you're a 65-employee company, you don't have a specific division helping you improve your employees’ skills and career paths. So I used an HR Operating Partner to help me invest in our employees, their skills, and their careers.
As you can imagine, being a CEO can be lonely at times. You can feel like you're living on an island all by yourself. I don't have all the answers, especially when entering a new growth stage for the business. Frontier’s Operating Partners feel like my colleagues. They're right alongside me helping me tackle challenges and make the company better. This collaborative approach is truly a game-changer.
What would you advise other businesses in a similar situation on finding the right growth equity partner for them?I've worked with three different equity firms in my career. I think a founder or CEO needs to find a financial partner who they trust and where both are committed to building the relationship.
In some ways, finding the right partner is very similar in finding the right college for your child. You're evaluating whether it’ll be an environment where they’ll learn and grow. Will they be set up for success beyond what you can provide? And ultimately, will they thrive and increase their value in the market?
When you can answer yes to all those questions, you have the right fit.
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