Get to know Jim Stallings
We are kicking off 2023 with a conversational blog series that will allow you to get to know the PS27 Team and learn more about the individuals behind the mission. Get to know PS27’s CEO, Jim Stallings.
Jim Stallings, tell us about yourself –
I’m a former Officer in the US Marine Corps, where I served in Asia and Washington, DC. I also worked in a variety of international sales and operational roles and was General Manager of several software and hardware divisions at IBM. Ten years ago, I started PS27 Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund that invests and works with founders to accelerate growth. I enjoy reading, running, golfing, and hanging out at the beach with my dog Bentley.
Tell us about your work at PS27 and why you love the company.
Our team spends our days working with the founders on their most challenging problems. Most discussions are around sales and marketing and how to grow faster. Many conversations are about the team building key roles, how to set up hiring for the future, and creating a strong culture with positive values. I enjoy the variety of challenges across the companies; none of them are the same; every day is different, and every problem requires creativity, an open mind, and powerful listening skills. After all, we are working on the founder’s dreams, not ours. It’s invigorating to see them mature and then look back and realize we’ve had an impact.
Favorite memory in the innovation ecosystem so far?
The highlight for me is when one of our founders achieves a major success and realizes their dream with a big exit. Just recently, Neal Anderson off OnPay Solutions spoke to a large gathering of founders and shared lessons learned as a CEO over several years. He reminded all of us it’s about adding value to clients, not about making money.
Tell us about your vision for the future and Jacksonville’s innovation ecosystem. Hopes and dreams for 2023?
Jacksonville is just getting started as a destination for tech innovation. The pandemic highlighted Florida as a destination for tech workers. We’ve now emerged as one of the few “untapped” communities for young talent because of our proximity to major universities, low cost of living, and high quality of life. We now have several new investor groups willing to seed investments in startups, including JaxAngels and our new Rhea Fund. I expect Jax will become the next Atlanta and is clearly an alternative to the high costs of other markets such as San Francisco.
What’s your favorite thing about startups you’ve discovered so far, and what do you want to see next?
The most exciting aspect of working with startups is discovering new uses of technology and learning about new markets. Before we invest, our investment team has “deep dives” on new technologies and how a particular market could evolve. We spend hours with subject matter experts, studying competitors, and reading books to get grounded in the market. In very short order, we have to become comfortable enough to make a good decision for our investors. This is the work I enjoy and look forward to the most, and then working with a new founder to make it all come true.
What’s the best thing startups can do to help build the innovation ecosystem, and why should they do it? What’s the benefit for all?
The best way to build a strong ecosystem is to have successful companies and exits. Success in a market is based primarily on your track record and what comes after the investment. The more our region can point to success stories, the more we will attract success stories.