When Sunny Vanderbeck set out to create an investment firm with his co-founder, Randy Eisenman, he did it with a specific purpose in mind: to make the world better by making business better. He knew that building conscious companies did not mean accepting less in terms of financial returns – in fact, it was quite the opposite – but he also knew the investment community would need some convincing on that score.
Sunny was no stranger to proving out the principles of conscious capitalism. He had already done so in his previous business venture, which he founded after serving as a Section Leader in the U.S. Army’s 2nd Ranger Battalion and leading a team at Microsoft. Data Return, the managed services and utility computing company he launched in 1996, sustained 40 percent quarter-over-quarter growth for more than three years and reached a $3 billion market capitalization, making Sunny one of the youngest CEOs ever to lead a NASDAQ company. Just as important, it had reached those milestones while serving all of its stakeholders, nurturing a conscious culture, and maintaining a long-term perspective on success.
It was the experience of selling Data Return that partly inspired Sunny’s book, Selling Without Selling Out. After selling the company to a strategic acquirer in a deal that looked like a success from the outside, Sunny soon noticed signs that he had sold to the wrong buyer. A year after the sale, when the acquirer went bankrupt, Sunny bought back his own company and started again. When he sold the business a second time four years later, he had learned the lessons to do it right.
With that business successfully sold, Sunny and his co-founder believed they could help other companies flourish. Their vision was to partner with the leadership teams of the companies they would fund to create enduring, industry-leading businesses that embraced the tenets of conscious capitalism. In doing so, they would fulfill their firm’s purpose: To create, fund, and inspire businesses that elevate humanity.
The firm they founded, Satori Capital, has invested in manufacturing, finance, medical supply, technology, fitness, and food companies, among others. The firm’s investment team keeps the tenets of conscious capitalism uppermost in its thinking while sourcing, analyzing, and managing its portfolio companies, believing that the mission, leadership, and culture of a company dramatically influence whether it will merely survive by chasing profits or thrive and create real value.
In addition to his work through Satori, Sunny also regularly speaks publicly and advises businesses on topics such as business strategy, capital allocation, and conscious capitalism. He is regularly interviewed about conscious capitalism and often points to data that show companies with a stakeholder-centric approach outperforming the S&P 500. He also actively develops awareness and support for sustainable business models through the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), showing CEOs and business owners how they can achieve success without sacrificing their values.
With the publication of Selling Without Selling Out, Sunny hopes to help even more entrepreneurs and CEOs learn how to find the right buyer or capital partner, without sacrificing what matters most.
Selling your business or taking on a capital partner is one of the biggest decisions you will make as a business owner – and there’s more at stake than money.
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