PDA Q&A: Van Conway, E-Interview

Interview with Founder and CEO of Van Conway and Partners in Birmingham.


DB: Where are you?

VC: Atlanta, then Dallas, Phoenix, and northern Florida. I’m on the road raising funds for a health care opportunity. I can’t say what it is exactly due to a confidentiality agreement, but things are going well.

DB: What’s your strategy?

VC: On a capital raise, you can bill (a client) by the hour or do it as a success fee. For larger firms, an hourly rate often makes more sense because it’s steady income. For a success fee strategy, you take less in the beginning but the upside at the end is much greater. We are a smaller firm, so we will have our strikeouts, but we’ll also have our share of homeruns. In the long run, we felt we will add more value to our clients and bring in more for the firm by going with a success fee strategy.

DB: Is that your set game plan?

VC: Each deal is different. Traditional bank funding (for a capital raise) is more challenging with Dodd Frank. So you look at equity funds, hedge funds, investors, and family foundations. Given I’ve been doing turnaround management and capital raises for more than 40 years, we have a large list of potential investors.

DB: How’s the lawsuit going against your former firm, Conway MacKenzie?

VC: We privately settled in December. I didn’t violate any of the noncompetitive clauses in terms of hiring their employees or going after their business, but people come to me and I can’t stop that from happening. As part of the settlement, I agreed to the non solicitation of their employees, and that’s the same for them. That burns off in February.   

DB: You launched a radio show?

VC: Yes, a monthly show on News/Talk 760 WJR focused on small businesses, which make up 99.7 percent of all businesses in the U.S. (up to 1,500 employees). Our plan is to syndicate it nationally. We want to add value and help companies grow in a smart way.

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