As entrepreneurs, we are tirelessly looking for ways to improve ourselves and stay ahead of the game. Many of us have turned to books, videos and podcasts to quench our thirst for knowledge, but there’s one method that people are really starting to recognize as being one of the best ways to improve as an entrepreneur. Getting the knowledge and wisdom directly from someone who has already done what you are trying to do is an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs and businesses everywhere.
If you want to build a business quickly, a mentor or coach may be the most effective way to do just that. In fact, a 2011 report by the Startup Genome states that Silicon Valley startups with a mentor, raise seven times more money than those without. Being intrigued by this information, we set up an interview with mentoring and coaching extraordinaire, Mark Rowland, who’s helping the 150 startups and small businesses under Tony Hsieh’s VegasTechFund excel.
Mark runs an exciting business called Roceteer, which is focused on providing companies with mentoring, coaching, training and consulting. In our talks with him, he told us what it takes to run his operations in a city with a very ambitious plan.
CG: Mark, tell us about you.
Mark: Well, I was born in England and attended the University of Manchester before moving to Australia. From there, I spent ten years consulting with companies on matters of management and strategy. It was a ton of fun as I got to travel to six different countries while working with some really cool companies.
After that, I took a general manager position with the largest retail owner in Australia. We owned companies such as K-Mart, Target, Shell and OfficeMax. Unfortunately, the culture wasn’t for me, so I left to become the CEO of a restaurant chain. This also turned out to be less than ideal because it was a lonely job with nobody to turn to for direction. So, I hired a coach, which is what led me to do what I do today.
I also launched an online retailer in Australia, which I exited just prior to coming to the US. That experience is truly what I am using to support and help grow many of the tech companies in Las Vegas.
“I learned from my coach and now here I am with Tony and my group of Roceteers, where I focus on bringing a happy culture to other businesses, as well as my own coaching company.”
CG: Are there any recent updates with Roceteer?
Mark: We’ve only recently gotten funding within the past two months, and we are now fully funded as a separate entity. The first order of business was to put together a team and then decide what our core business objectives were going to be. We’ve hired four people for the team, and with this group we have the combined experience and skills to offer high-value coaching, mentoring, training and consulting.
We’ve now got team members who are experts in finance, technology, marketing and business development. As for myself, I am the guiding force of the virtual team we have here at Roceteer. Our physical location has been established in Vegas, but we communicate virtually with our network of teams. We are very excited to have such great team members, one of which who actually built Evernote. All of our team members have been through their own entrepreneurial journeys and they always are on-call, providing invaluable knowledge for the cost of the time that it takes to pick up the phone.
CG: So your network of mentors, advisors and trainers is now fully assembled and ready to go?
Mark: Yes, we’ve assembled our team mainly through the connections of our funder, Tony Hseih. His portfolio of small businesses and VegasTechFund companies gave us plenty of good candidates to become a part of the team. From there, it was just a matter of finding the ones that I thought would be a perfect fit for Roceteer.
CG: To give our readers a clearer picture, what exactly would an entrepreneur or company use Roceteer for?
Mark: We help businesses prepare for investor meetings, pitch presentations and strategy sessions. We serve to help Tony Hsieh’s VegasTechFund investment portfolio of 150 companies. Our job is to make the biggest impact possible on this portfolio, which involves figuring out which ones require face time and have pressing needs.
If a company in the portfolio has a gap they need filled, they simply come to us with their needs. In essence, we try to maximize the value of our time by determining where we can make the biggest improvements in each company, as well as the community and portfolio as a whole.
CG: How do you manage that many companies with so many hours in a day?
Mark: To provide more convenient services to each company, we have been developing tools and training videos so we can cut out smaller issues and focus our time on bigger problems.
CG: Outside of Tony Hsieh’s ecosystem, is anyone else allowed to use your services?
Mark: Unfortunately, most time that is spent with companies outside of our portfolio is my personal time. However, a company who really wants guidance from us may eventually end up in the VegasTechFund. We have the power to bring them into the ecosystem if we see that they have something positive to offer to the community and portfolio. If an outside company that really helps us within the ecosystem, then we will reach out and guide them for the betterment of our community.