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PowerDMS

Q&A with the Founder

Josh Brown

Josh Brown

Founder

  • Before partnering with Frontier, what were your ambitions for the business?

    We had already had some interest from potential acquirers that were more competitive, but I wanted the company to continue on its mission and vision. So I wanted to find a financial partner that could allow me to stay invested in the company but also to transition the business from its bootstrap stage into a new phase.
  • Was there any sort of inflection point that made you seriously look at investment?

    It was realizing that the company could go in a different direction than simply selling to a competitor. My CFO had connections within Frontier and we got a sense that they would pretty quickly connect with the value we offered and be able to get a deal done efficiently.

    We wanted the process to be well-organized and to see that there was a mutual understanding of what long-term value there was. The inflection point came pretty quickly once we started getting connected to how Frontier saw the company.
  • What did you expect going into the deal and how did the reality compare?

    This entire journey for me has been one of learning something new every day, experiencing things that I never thought possible. I didn't have a tremendous amount of expectations other than hoping the process would be efficient and that Frontier would make good on some of the initial conversations.

    From my early meetings, I had a sense that these guys were the real deal. I didn’t want to see anything change from what we verbally agreed to do once we started getting into a formalized process. And in reality, it played out that way.
  • What made Frontier stand out?

    We did have some conversations with a couple of other private equity firms in the very beginning phase. What accelerated the process with Frontier was once we started getting a sense that this could be a path that we could pursue quickly.

    This was important as it can take up a lot of bandwidth and you still need to be running the company while it is happening. I felt confident pretty early on that this was going to move forward. And ultimately it did.
  • What were the main business challenges that the partnership with Frontier helped to address?

    Firstly, we were only going to be as great as the quality of talent we could bring into the company. We needed seasoned experienced people if we were to scale. The vast network that Frontier offered meant we could find the leadership talent we required.

    Another thing was the rigor and the operational discipline that Frontier brings to the table. My leadership style has always been more about taking a creative, curious approach. As we’d grown and built the software to scale to many, many customers, we knew that we needed a certain amount of rigor and discipline, especially on the sales and operational side.

    I also wanted to see if we could accelerate our growth. As much as I appreciated the level of progress that we had made, I never wanted to find myself in a space where we couldn’t acquire market share because we weren't hustling after it.
  • What’s changed at PowerDMS since the deal? What hasn’t?

    In general, there's the challenge of getting caught up in patterns and routines that are not as helpful as they used to be. You need a fresh set of eyes, a new perspective drawn from companies that have had similar experiences with scaling. Gaining that perspective had a big effect on the way the company operates today.

    While a lot has changed, the business still has the same values and culture that have made it one of the best places to work for many years. That’s something I’m really proud of. It's still very much the company I founded many years ago, true to its roots but growing in a way that it's never grown before.
  • What’s the key to hiring great people and developing a strong culture in the business?

    I feel that when it comes to the part of life's journey that is work, there is a natural desire to be a part of work that's authentic and real. One that feels like you're able to express your talent and efforts within a team but in a way that is uniquely you in a company that embraces that.

    At PowerDMS, I certainly felt that building a company that is true to itself and authentic and which embraces a culture of vulnerability has been key to keeping quality talent for as long as we have.
  • What would you say is the biggest result to date of the partnership with Frontier?

    I think the biggest result is an accelerated pace to market, the growth rate has been astounding. That's very rewarding to see. Plus, the company has been able to scale technology investments in projects I started before the deal and which they’ve carried across the line since.

    The company is operating and executing on a level that is just great to witness and as efficient as it's ever been.

    From a personal perspective, it's allowed me to focus and engage in projects I’ve had on the backburner for a while. It’s been a rewarding personal process.
  • What would you advise other businesses like yours to focus on in finding the right growth equity partner?

    Man, at the end of the day I'd say trust your gut.

    Do your diligence and certainly understand what matters to you in terms of outcomes. But it really comes down to a very personal fit, especially when that company is your baby.

    It's a part of a major life project that you're now handing on to another partner. So this is a very personal endeavor that is certainly connected with a lot of thought. But ultimately you just have to go with your gut and not look back.
  • What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were a startup?

    Starting any business is a constant realization of things you wish you knew.

    At the startup phase, something that I was certainly not aware of was the different nuances of how a company can scale and the right sort of investor partnerships for each type of growth strategy.

    Something that would have been really empowering to me at the time was having more foresight of the options. Given the immense addressable market that the company has, I think I could have structured the business differently to be more efficient in its capital partner process at all stages of scale.

    Ultimately, we got where we are today through an iterative learning process. But it would have been nice to have had some of that insight into how to grow a scalable business at an earlier stage.

What They Do

Content management and compliance

Headquarters

Orlando, FL

Status

Active since 2017

News

  • January 25, 2018

Frontier Announces Significant Equity Investment in PowerDMS

Frontier has had a busy start to 2018! We are announcing a new equity investment in Orlando-based PowerDMS, a leading provider of compliance and content management solutions. This is our third investment announcement in 2018 following our announcements of investments in Igloo Software and MediaRadar. PowerDMS is the second…

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