A little about Steve Sahd:
I’ve always been a problem solver and someone who builds strong relationships with the people I work with. Stephen Covey emphasized the importance of building trust in all his works, especially “The 7 Habits” and “The Speed of Trust.” I’ve been fortunate to have had a long and varied career and the pleasure of working with many effective teams and incredibly talented professionals. The experiences gained are now being shared with extremely talented and dedicated founders to help them grow their businesses more efficiently and effectively.
My primary strengths are in financial and business analysis, sales strategies, operations, financing, cash management, leadership, problem-solving, and decision-making, and I am able to call upon numerous professional contacts domestically and internationally. I also pride myself on my communication skills, especially for fundraising presentations.
Tell us about your work at PS27 and why you love the company:
It’s all about the people. Some of us go back decades, and some of us go back for just a few years, but we have a great team and a culture that emphasizes openness, respect, teamwork, and excellence. We attract like-minded founders looking for venture capital funding, and the result is everyone is pulling in the same direction. So much of a startup company’s success is based on its founders, and this is clearly the case with PS27.
Most of the credit goes to our CEO, Jim Stallings. Everyone’s contributions are valued, and we bring out the best in each other. Most people stay, and this continuity has had a very positive impact on team productivity and the value we provide to our startup founders and their companies. I’m part of the team that focuses on the company’s operations, especially sales and cash management. We spend 30 minutes with each team weekly to talk about their sales attainment, business challenges, and go-to-market alternatives, as well as being sounding boards for any key business issue they are facing. This enables us to gain and maintain a strong working knowledge of each business in fairly quick order.
Favorite memory in the innovation ecosystem so far?
One Spark. You have to give the founders of One Spark a lot of credit. They were visionaries.
Tell us about your vision for the future and Jacksonville’s innovation ecosystem. Hopes and dreams for 2024?
My vision for the future and Jacksonville’s ecosystem is national prominence. Jacksonville has the potential to become a leader in innovation and a place that draws dynamic entrepreneurs. Great infrastructure, a great lifestyle, affordable living, and a great quality of life will draw top talent from across the country and internationally.
Advice for young professionals hoping to get involved in venture capital?
The opportunity is there, but do your homework. Obviously, an internship would be a great way to gain first-hand experience to help you decide. This is a career path that requires skill and dedication to be successful. There are not many “overnight success stories,” so have the right mindset.
What’s your favorite thing about startups you’ve discovered so far, and what do you want to see next?
Energy, passion, and resilience. It’s great to be smart, and they are all very bright. But it’s these three qualities that distinguish them the most. What we want to see next is the ability to know exactly the right time to share some of the decision-making… bringing more talent to the leadership team. Doing it too soon can waste money and slow you down. Doing it too late can cost you the company.
What’s the best thing your startups can do to help build the innovation ecosystem, and why should they do it? What’s the benefit for all?
Achieving success and sharing their story is the best thing they can do. Nothing attracts attention more than success. Many founders are happy to share their stories, and a lot can be learned from both success and failure. You can make a huge impact by sharing what you’ve learned with founders who are in the “middle of the battle.” It sets a great example and can provide timely insights, which can end up being the difference between winning and losing. You can never have too many good role models.
To learn more about Steve Sahd, connect on LinkedIn here.