237. Jeff Gardner, Author of Love Your People

VC Minute
SpringTime partner, Jeff Gardner, released a new book, "Love Your People" that shares his insights through years of successful startup growth, turnarounds, and exits.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better

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Rich Maloy:

This is Rich Maloy with SpringTime Ventures, bringing you the VC Minute, quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better. Welcome back, everyone. I’m a little delayed getting these episodes out as I’m still recovering from a nasty cold that I just could not seem to shake for days. Funny enough, I tried to use the AI-generated voice, and it was unsettling to hear. It sounded like me, but completely wooden and without any inflection. So instead, you have my slightly stuffed-up and slightly deeper-than-normal voice for this intro.

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For the next two weeks, we’re going to feature SpringTime partner, Jeff Gardner, as he shares his wisdom from his recently published book, “Love Your People.” Jeff is not the guy that goes from zero to one. He’s the guy that takes a company from 10 to a thousand and then sells it. He has three exits under his belt, all for companies that he didn’t found. He’s also a wonderful human being who loves his people. Take it away, Jeff.

Jeff Gardner:

My name is Jeff Gardner and I get to work with SpringTime Ventures. My background is interesting. My father was an entrepreneur, and he struggled to make payroll and all the things that go along with bootstrapping your own business. So his dream for me was to go work for big, safe companies. I started out with GE, did the stint there. I worked for a very large telecom company and also Avaya. And it was at Avaya where I got my experience to start an incubator group where I got to start new businesses. We bought, started, and built four businesses. And that’s really where I got the passion for building and growing businesses within the safety of this larger company.

Then we did PaySimple, which was a Denver-based payments company now traded on NASDAQ under EverCommerce. And then did a turnaround for a private equity group. Then spent a lot of time as CEO of a company called Zen Planner, which was boutique fitness software. Now I spend my time as exec chairman on five different software companies. I just released a book called “Love Your People, A Guide to Entrepreneurial Leadership.”

As I was working with CEOs and helping them grow their businesses, we came across different topics that we would discuss and they said, “that’s great, would you write that down?” And so I started building modules of information that was helpful in really short form for CEOs to build out their business. And then ultimately sort of organized it into a book. And it centers around the people aspect. Because at the end of the day, as an investor, we invest in the people and not the product or the industry. And we want to make sure we’ve got the right people that we’re putting our money behind.

We found there’s a set of dimensions or criteria or behaviors that we see in successful entrepreneurs. Fundamentally, the belief behind this is if you take great care of your people and you set them up for success, they will take amazing care of their customers. And it will be a successful, profitable business. And everybody gets outsized returns in those situations.

About “Love Your People” by Jeff Gardner
Love over fear is the key to exceptional leadership. ‘Love Your People’ shatters conventional wisdom by advocating for a love-based approach that sparks unparalleled organizational success. Through gripping narratives, bold insights, and disruptive guidance, this manifesto redefines love as a strategic weapon, unleashing innovation, autonomy, and transparency. It challenges fear-driven leadership paradigms, igniting empowerment and championing personal growth and collaboration.  

Pick up your copy of Love Your People – An Entrepreneurial Leadership System at Amazon

About AVL Growth Partners
AVL Growth Partners, founded in 2009, is the leading fractional Finance and Accounting firm supporting organizations in pivoting from growth to scale. AVL brings an experienced team of CFOs, Controllers, and Accountants to your organization, delivering transparent, strategic actions for short and long-term success. Transform your financial approach affordably with AVL, supporting companies coast to coast – get to know AVL Growth Partners at avlgrowth.com. (Sponsored)

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