Jim Jonassen Talks About Matching Venture Capital Companies
Jim Jonassen is the founder and Managing Partner of Jim Jonassen and Associates, a business that provides key revenue solutions to Venture backed and growing companies. Jonassen talks about what kinds of clients he looks for and the types of challenges he solves in his unique field.
Jim Jonassen: Once the word gets out that we represent good clients and interesting opportunities then we do get great referrals so three out of four people that we actually place are referred to us by a trusted source.
Zorianna Kit: Hi! And welcome to Dog and Pony. I’m Zorianna Kit. Jim Jonassen is founder of Jim Jonassen and Associates, an executive placement firm for technology and media businesses. Jim welcome. Tell me about your firm?
Jim Jonassen: We are an executive search firm. We are five people. We specialized in ventured back companies in technology and digital media, consumer and net mobile. Most of our practices focus here in Southern California. And we worked exclusively with number of venture capitalist that fund start ups in emerging growth companies and work along side them to build management teams.
Zorianna Kit: So, were you like a head hunter for firms?
Jim Jonassen: That’s exactly what we are. We’re head hunter for firms. And typically, we had introduced those firms by their investors. We typically work on four, five assignments at a time and that’s the right amount so that we can operate at the capacity.
Zorianna Kit: Does that make you guys internally competitive because each employee has maybe their own assignment?
Jim Jonassen: We work together on every assignment. So, we work the portfolio assignments that we're working on as a team. We’ve got research and we’ve got recruitment and we've got the kind of the front end managing the interviewing screening and the expectations of the client and candidates we’re looking at.
Zorianna Kit: How do you compete with larger firms that have five times as many people doing the same thing?
Jim Jonassen: We really don’t. We try to be selective with the number of you know with the clients that we worked with and the venture groups that we worked with. But larger firms typically are looking to work for larger companies. For example, a company that we work with an early stage start up mainly have one or two searches a year, so that might not be attractive to a big search firm.
Zorianna Kit: So, what company types then are attractive to you?
Jim Jonassen: Companies that have an ability to scale. Companies that have a core management team and culture that we think we can bring people too, companies that are targeting large markets. And companies that have some kind of secret source or innovation that really distinguishes them from a crowded category.
Zorianna Kit: Can you give me an example of a firm that you’ve kind of work?
Jim Jonassen: One is a company called rich local in Woodland Hills. They are involved in local search. So, if you think of Google for a national kind of search, big companies will advertise there to try to get you to buy their products, what rich local does is they go in and they get a garage owner or a dry cleaner in a particular municipalities, a cover city so that when someone types in cover city dry cleaner, they’re going to be able to serve that add to a local customer. They’ve go through explosive growth and we've just found the chief financial officer, is they’re probably going to head to the capital markets with an IPO sometime in the next year.
Zorianna Kit: So, do you guys have a huge role with potential names then that you can draw upon to place them at these companies?
Jim Jonassen: It’s three buckets. We’ve got a huge database so that’s kind of inventory. So, we’ll initially do a search and say what CFO’s do we have with public company background. The second thing is we have a network so we’ll get the word out to people that we know to get referrals. And then the third thing we do is we’d work with the client to identify particular companies that we want to go in and do recruitment from. We call that kind of surgical extraction. So, we're going then go in and impeached CFO’s or VP’s of finance and particular companies tell them about rich local and try to get them excited about the opportunity.
Zorianna Kit: Do people come to you and say, “Oh hey, can I be in your database? I’ve done this and I’m looking to be place somewhere.”
Jim Jonassen: We find people for jobs not jobs for people. So, we don’t really take a candidate and introduce them around but once the word gets out that we represents good clients and interesting opportunities then we do get great referrals. So, three out of four people that we actually place are referred to us by a trusted source.
Zorianna Kit: Okay. What’s the most unique thing about your company? What separates you from the other ones?
Jim Jonassen: We really worked with early stage companies. We have a great affinity for entrepreneurs and worked in a long side of the venture capitals to build. You know build teams that will scale, to kind of finish the founding in some of these companies.
Zorianna Kit: But that’s hard though because startups are brisky. I mean some may never come through so how do you convince somebody to live maybe a cushy job that they had to go work in a place that is maybe a little bit more uncertain?
Jim Jonassen: You know a lot of people that we move from larger companies are smaller companies really have to have an entrepreneurial spirit. They’ve got to be resourceful. They’ve got to be able to kind of figure out and get it done without a big brand, without a lot of resources and maybe without the kind of capital behind them that it would take so it’s a very special kind of individual that’s going to be attracted to it but when they are, they’re often times very tired of the bureaucracy and the meetings and the committees and the lack of decisions and in taking risk. So, you’ve got to find the match.
Zorianna Kit: All right, so we're going to play game called None of your Business. I’m going to ask you a series of questions and you can either answer them or tell me that it’s none of my business. First question, how much money do you make?
Jim Jonassen: I don’t make enough to stop next year but I do pretty well.
Zorianna Kit: Any opportunities you regret passing up?
Jim Jonassen: I’ve done two startups to software company CEOs. I’ve taken enormous risk and none of them have come to the kind of big IPO or the big payoff that could have but I have no regrets in doing those things because of the things I learned and the people that I met along the way.
Zorianna Kit: Who in the business world do you envy or admire or would like to immolate?
Jim Jonassen: I met some folks outside here that are doing some really interesting things in the non-profit world providing micro financing to people third world countries. I do my own thing to help the boys and girls clubs here in LA and I think the executives and entrepreneurs and people that I meet that are about given back to the community, they are the ones I envy the most.
Zorianna Kit: Thanks for playing None of your Business. Jim Jonassen, founder of Jim Jonassen and Associates. Thank you so much for joining us. If you have questions, comments, or ideas for guests, please email us at email@example.com. I’m Zorianna Kit, thanks for watching.
Jim Jonassen Talks About Matching Venture Capital Companies
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