Member and Partner Profile: Ollen Douglass

Ollen Douglass, Managing Director, Motley Fool Ventures Motley Fool Ventures is an early stage, technology-focused venture fund focused on Series A companies.Ollen Douglass, Managing Director, Motley Fool Ventures
Motley Fool Ventures is an early stage, technology-focused venture fund focused on Series A companies.

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Prior to joining the Fund, Ollen was CFO of The Motley Fool Holdings, Inc. for 14 years. During that time, he was responsible for the overall financial health of The Fool and helped guide the company through periods of major growth, contraction, and market volatility. Ollen’s oversight duties included The Fool’s finance and accounting groups as well as legal, benefits, sales, business development, real estate, business intelligence, international and asset management. His financing experience spans the full spectrum from bank financing to venture financing. During Ollen’s management of the pilot program, Motley Venture Partners, he and the team compiled a portfolio of private companies that will be contributed to the Fund. Today, Ollen serves on the board of Eyrus, InHerSight, and Young Artists of America. He has been a recipient of the Motley Fool Founders’ award and Favorite Fool award. He was twice nominated for Greater Washington CFO of the Year and is a member of the 2019 class of Greater Washington Minority Business Leaders. Prior to joining The Fool, Ollen worked in mortgage banking, focusing on mortgage servicing, fair lending and risk management. He was also an auditor for KPMG and is a CPA (inactive). Ollen graduated from the University of Baltimore with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and lives in the Washington area with his wife and three sons.

CEOC: What recent success are you most proud of?
OD: I’m most proud of the launch of The Motley Fool’s inaugural venture fund. We made a conscious decision to turn the typical venture capital playbook upside down, and instead of courting large investments from a few institutions, we leveraged The Motley Fool community to raise relatively smaller amounts from a large number of retail investors. Launched in 2018, Motley Fool Ventures went on to raise $150 million from over 800 investors (or “Limited Partners”/”LPs”) in approximately eight months. The fund exceeded its $100M target by 50%, was over 80% larger than the median new fund in 2018, and was raised 40% faster than the average fund. We have LPs in 45 of 50 states and have close to 200 women LPs. Motley Fool Ventures is believed to be the largest debut fund ever that was led by an African American.

CEOC: What’s your motto?
OD: At The Motley Fool, we have six core values. The first five are the same for everyone: collaborative, innovative, fun, honest, and competitive. The last is “Motley,” and each employee is encouraged to choose their own as a way to personalize the core values. Mine is “purpose and profit.” I am energized by seeking to do good and do well, without compromising either.

CEOC: How do you keep your company in front of trends, customer needs, and your competitors?
OD: Motley Fool Ventures is a strong believer in community and interacts with our customers through regular digital communications, surveys, and live events. With a stakeholder approach, we focus on collaboration and building win-win relationships with our customers, employees, business partners, and shareholders. That approach exposes us to a wide spectrum of priorities and perspectives. We believe there is room for many in our space, which diffuses the need to focus on companies as competitors—there can be many winners.

CEOC: Is M&A part of your innovation plan?
OD: As a new and lean organization, Motley Fool Ventures is very open to an objective view on build versus buy decisions. We are more likely to acquire technologies to accelerate growth than to acquire fund assets. One of the many benefits of operating in the startup world is being surrounded by innovation, which makes the difficult seem doable and the “never been done” feel like the next logical step.

Join CEOs like Ollen at the 2020 Convention to discuss this and other pressing topics. 

Member Highlight: Scott Jackson

“Every child—whether in the United States or in less developed countries—deserves to have a fighting chance in life. You have the choice to live your life in a way that will change another person’s life for the better … and maybe transform yours own along the way.”

Excerpt from Take Me with You, a book written by Scott Jackson

Scott Jackson's Book - Take me With You

In 2017, Scott Jackson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Global Impact, wrote Take Me with You as a call to action to help those in need, especially children. And nobody knows more about helping others than Jackson, whose personal philosophy involves living life in a way that improves the lives of others. 

 

“My purpose in writing the book and sharing my story was to hopefully inspire people to find the charity within, and to recognize the difference they can make in other people’s lives,” explains Jackson. “There are so many people in need around the world and so many wonderful organizations working tirelessly to improve conditions and contribute toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. I hope this book brings additional visibility to some of those organizations and is a call to action to everyone who reads it.”

And developing calls to action are what Jackson does best. 

A leader in global philanthropy, he is well known for his vision, leadership and compassion for others. At Global Impact, Jackson oversees all facets of the organization, which has raised more than $2 billion since inception to help the world’s most vulnerable and needy. 

A global development, fundraising and marketing veteran, Jackson has held leadership positions in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, including the global health and development nonprofits PATH and World Vision.

With Jackson’s personal background and professional expertise, it was no surprise that he delivered the 2019 Mid-Market Convention session Social Impact. 

In this session, he discussed the CEOC Wharton Social Impact (CSI) student-consulting program, which helps mid-market companies incorporate social impact programs into their corporate strategy. In addition, he shared valuable information on the best ways to combine innovation and scale in your CSI program, as well as how to successfully integrate social impact into your business strategy and measure the power of CSI activities.

For Jackson, helping others realize their full potential and contributing to a better, safer world is crucial:

“My goal is to offer a message of hope and encourage others to embark on their own journey to serve others and spark positive change – in whatever way they can – because every life matters and there are so many in need around the globe.”

Join CEOs like Scott at the 2020 Convention to discuss this and other pressing topics. 

Member Highlight: Sharon Watkins

Sharon Watkins, CEO, RadiusPoint

Sharon Watkins, CEO of RadiusPoint

Sharon Watkins is the CEO of RadiusPoint a 27- year-old telecom and utility expense management firm. Sharon founded the company in 1992 and manages the sales and marketing aspects of the company. She has been instrumental in working with the software development team to create ExpenseLogic, the telecom and utility expense management software that has less than ten competitors worldwide.

From Sharon’s experience with clients, the software developed into the tool that can satisfy the needs of any organization that has multiple sites and numerous employees to manage. Sharon has successfully signed and retained Clients ranging from Fortune 50 to small local County governments.

RadiusPoint and the employees stand apart from competitors by achieving ISO 9001 standards in September of 2002. RadiusPoint is SSAE 18 (formerly SAS 70) certified and continues this certification with an annual audit. RadiusPoint also was awarded a GSA contract vehicle in 2018 for Schedule 70 IT services.

RadiusPoint, formerly TSG Enterprises, LLC, won the prestigious Top 50 Minority/Women Owned Businesses in Tennessee and was named a Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies by Fast Company Magazine. Sharon received the 2006 Enterprising Women of the Year award, and RadiusPoint was named one of Inc 5000 fastest-growing companies in 2015. The Orlando Business Journal named Sharon Business Owner of the Year in 2015 and CEO of the Year in 2019. Sharon has been a Premium Member of CEO Connection since September 2018.

Interview:

CEOC: What recent success are you most proud of? 

SW: There are a few recent successful milestones that I have accomplished at RadiusPoint. First, we celebrated 27 years in business in January of this year. That’s phenomenal for our industry. Second, we were awarded the GSA Schedule 70 IT Contract vehicle which is a government contract award that is very hard to achieve. We actually achieved this in record time—5 months. The GSA told us that it would take over a year to get this award if we were awarded. Third, we just rolled out our eighth generation of ExpenseLogic, our proprietary software which continues to aid in client retention.

CEOC: What action did you take early in your career that you feel most helped you obtain your CEO position you hold today? 

SW: Vision in 1996 to create a software that did not exist for an industry that was just starting to emerge, Telecom and Utility Expense Management.

COEC: How do you start each day? 

SW: Exercise, I like to go to the gym for a few minutes of peace and quiet on the elliptical machine. I love to clear my mind so that I can better focus on any tasks that emerge throughout the day.

CEOC: What do you foresee will be the biggest challenge to CEOs of mid-market companies in the next five years? 

SW: Keeping up with the constant changes in technology and retaining exceptional talent.

CEOC: How do you keep your company in front of trends, customer needs, and your competitors? SW: Research, research, research. You have to be able to cut through the mountains of information to identify what is truly going to retain your clients and keep them satisfied.

This article was previously published in the CEOC Magazine. You can read the magazine here.

RadiusPoint is part of our Member-to-Member Discount Program.

Olu Beck

Olu Beck

Olu is the CEO of Wholesome Sweeteners Inc., the #1 Natural & Organic, Fair Trade sweetener brand in North America. Olu is a Board Member of Big Brothers, Big Sisters Northern New Jersey and on the Advisory Board of Morristown Medical Center.

Adam Warby

Adam Warby

Adam Warby joined Avanade at its inception in 2000, and currently serves as their Chief Executive Officer. Adam led Avanade’s worldwide sales and marketing teams, and set the vision and direction for Avanade solutions. Adam is currently chairperson of CEO Connection’s European Expansion Committee.

As one of the founding members of Avanade, Adam was instrumental in building the company and shaping its culture. A senior leader, Adam has significant experience managing and growing Avanade’s business operations, having served as General Manager and Senior Vice President for the company’s North American and European operations during his tenure.

Adam on LinkedIn

Jostein Solheim

Jostein Solheim

Jostein Solheim has served as CEO and Vice-President of Global Brand Development at Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. since 2010. Jostein is a devoted advocate for diversity, environmental conservation and social justice issues, and is currently chairperson of the CEO Connection Social Impact Committee.

In his current role, Jostein is particularly involved in Ben & Jerry’s social mission, which focuses on changing ways to improve the quality of life on a local, national and global level.

Founded in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s grew from a single ice cream parlor in a renovated gas station, into one of the most recognized and socially responsible ice cream brands on the planet. The company is now a wholly owned autonomous subsidiary of Unilever but, in keeping with its history, its acquisition came with strings attached that required the company maintain its philanthropic ways.

Solheim manages a team of 100 at the corporate offices in South Burlington, Vermont along with his international teams based in London and Singapore. Ben & Jerry’s also employ around 380 people at their two manufacturing sites in Vermont. Ben & Jerry’s now operate in more than 35 countries around the world. Jostein is also on the Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors.

Jostein on LinkedIn