Yeah, I know. This is a true WTF moment. I’m as shocked as you are. Never would I have expected to sit here and tell you that I sold my baby; that I made what people like to call an “exit”. On April 4th 2014, Blue Track Media was officially acquired by Karlani Capital, where I am now a managing partner. This was a long time in the making with the constant back and forth battle in my mind over the question “are you sure you want to do this?” I built Blue Track Media from the ground up. There were countless nights during my 4 years at University of Texas at Dallas where I would stay up and work until the sun came up. Why then would I sell my baby when all that hard work is finally paying off? I’m sure there are going to be a lot of questions asked about this acquisition so I made a list of the most common ones along with my answers.
However before I do, I want to thank first and foremost my mother and my sister for the tremendous amount of support and inspiration they continue to give me. I don’t think I would ever be here today without both of you, thank you. I also want to thank the rest of my family, friends, mentors and anyone who has helped me along the way. It means a lot to me that all of you believed in me, even when the world was against me.
Why did you sell Blue Track Media?
That’s an easy one. I sold it because online advertising wasn’t going to be the end of my dreams and goals - it was merely a beginning. The end goal has and always will be to impact the world in a meaningful way. With Karlani, I’m convinced that’s where we are headed. It’s not every day that you come across a group of such a highly talented and intellectual group of individuals that believe in your abilities and are there at a drop of a hat to supplement your growth. Five months (unofficially) of being a key part of Karlani has already paid out ten-fold with the amount of knowledge and experience I’ve acquired. Imagining where I’ll be in a year from now, it’s unbelievable. This is the type of stuff they don’t teach you in college. This is the type of stuff you can’t just learn on your own. This is the type of stuff you learn when you are surrounded by people who share your vision and passion as well as push you everyday to reach new heights.
As much as this acquisition is about personal growth and goals, it’s just as equal if not more about the growth of Blue Track Media. With the backing of Karlani Capital, Blue Tack Media will continue accelerating its growth at a fast rate and take on new avenues that weren’t possible before.
Who is Karlani?
If you look at the website, you’ll see that Karlani is a Venture Capital firm that “builds, buys, and invests in fast-growing, technology-enabled companies that serve and enrich humanity.” Put another way, Karlani is a operating firm that invests in passionate entrepreneurs with exciting ideas.
If you look at the team, it’s full of what I like to call an “all-star” cast:
- We got the “Grand Poobah" Rudy Karsan, who is the Founder and CEO of Kenexa, which he took public in 2005 and then sold to IBM for $1.3 Billion dollars. That’s “billion”, with a “B”.
- Up next we got the “Silent Assassin" Donald Volk who is one of the best financial minds in the country. He’s the one that makes sure you’ve got enough money in the bank to support that high-growth phase of your company. Oh and he’s pretty funny too.
- Then we have the “The Closer," Nyla Koncurat who we have the up most confidence in getting the deal closed. She has vast experience ranging from her time at JP Morgan to her time starting her own restaurant and private event facility in Argentina. She’s hella good with numbers and executing deals. I like to call her my side-kick.
- Going forward we have “The Alchemist" Bob Aglira who is one of the best strategic minds in the country. He’s the guy that effectively figures out how to get you to the next level.
- Lastly we have “Shaaazam!" I’ll let you make your own judgment about him and his credentials.
With the amount of capital available today, worthy entrepreneurs will find people or VC firms to invest in their ideas. Karlani can do that as well but we offer something more unique. We offer this all-star cast of individuals who are expert operators. While everyone else will throw money your way, we’re the guys that will help you build your company from 0 to 1000 employees. We’re the ones that will help you out of a rough patch and “go into the bat cave” with you to brainstorm (as one of our entrepreneurs says). We’re the ones who will help you take your company public or plan out your billion dollar exit strategy.
That’s who Karlani is.
What is your new role?
I thought “Shaaazam!” was a role? Well technically I’m a Managing Partner at Karlani. But I like to think I’m just the guy who “Shaaazam!” Gets shit done.
As managing partner I’m responsible for:
- Sourcing deals (finding new companies to invest in)
- Accurately assessing deal flow (doing research on all the companies that want funding)
- Casting my vote (yay or nay) on new investments
- Using my expertise to help our current portfolio companies achieve success
This is all in addition to my CEO role at Blue Track Media as well as my Founder role at Plugged Inc.
What happens to Blue Track Media?
Nothing really changes. Blue Track Media will still have the best technology, team, and support in the industry. I’m still the CEO and now we have strong backing. With that backing we can continue to grow as we dabble into new areas of digital marketing, such as mobile. You can find more information about it on the BTM blog. The future is pretty exciting!
What about Plugged Inc.?
As of today Plugged Inc. is not a part of Karlani. I am as much a part of Plugged Inc. as I ever have been and it’s still a huge focus and passion of mine. We will do big things and I’ll be right in the trenches every step of the way. This is another company of mine where I can confidently say that I’ve surrounded myself with a badass team that’s capable of immense success.
How do you find the time to juggle 3 roles?
Well I can’t say I’m as amazing as my idol Elon Musk at juggling so many roles. But I like to think I’m doing an okay job so far. As Rudy says, we look for the types of people that get shit done regardless of what obstacles come in their way. If they have to they’ll pull all-nighters to get it finished.
I consider myself one of those people.
How did you get to this point?
If you look at my life, at my blog posts, at my sayings, etc., you’ll see how I got to this point. To put it blunt, I worked my ass off. I chose a lifetime of happiness instead of 4 years of enjoying college. I made big sacrifices which secluded me from the world for what at the time seemed like a very long time. I dropped the people in my life that brought negative energy, envy, and doubt. I traveled far away from my bubble in Dallas, TX. I made sure to meet as many people as I could and help them out as much as possible (pay it forward). I surrounded myself with people I look up to and who push me to be the best possible version of myself. I hustled every single day of my life. And last, I refused to fail as this was never really about me, it was about my family.
And though I phrase all that as the past, it’s still how I am presently. That’s how I got here.
Great question. Is “change the world” a good response? No? Okay.
I was told by a very wise man to imagine myself as a running back playing on a team without any blockers. Even without them, I was able to score touchdowns. Now imagine the amount of touchdowns I’ll score with a legit group of blockers. The possibilities are endless.
People in the startup world would consider this an “exit,” but as I said, I’m not taking it as one. This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I haven’t even relished in this moment yet. I haven’t had time to breathe and really articulate this monumental point in my life. I never thought that I’d reach this point in my career so fast. I was always planning on getting here when I was around 40 years old. It came very fast, but I’m very excited and ready for this challenge. I believe I have a lot to offer the world, and if I can’t find an idea to change the world myself, I’ll be more than willing to help and invest in a company that does.
One thing I do know is that nothing has changed. I’m still the guy I used to be. This DOES NOT mean fancy cars and “money to blow” type of mentality. I’ll still wear socks and sandals as well as the same t-shirt multiple days in a row. I’ll still answer your texts, pick up your phone calls, and answer your emails. I just might do all those things very slowly. I promise that I’ll always be there to support and help as my time and energy permits. I’m more than happy to have a conversation and give advice where needed. I just ask that you value my time as I will value yours and do any research necessary before our conversation.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m my biggest critic so I’m not going to bust out with the Drake remix to “We Made It” because with the goals I’ve set for myself I’m far from that. But I’m getting there. However I will bust out with the song below which is what I think our team at Karlani will do.
Que my man Kanye West.