1881 – Buy-Grow-Sell SaaS Companies with Alex Minicucci

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the CEO of RELENTLESS Venture Studio LLC, Alex Minicucci.

Minicucci Wide

Alex introduced the concept of Relentless Venture Studio as a partner that provides more than financial support. They offer a comprehensive package that includes financial management, sales process development, and technology oversight. This holistic approach helps entrepreneurs thrive, not just survive.

Alex's enthusiasm for SaaS businesses was evident, highlighting their scalability and long-term engagement. He emphasized that beyond the business model, Relentless Venture Studio is defined by the philosophy of building relationships and fostering community-oriented values. Their approach centers on investing in the success of others.

Alex also discussed their equity-sharing model, where Relentless Venture Studio takes a minority stake in the companies they support. This arrangement aligns their success with that of the entrepreneurs. Additionally, they utilize an extensive network of partners, service providers, and private equity connections to facilitate growth and potential exit strategies.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Relentless Venture Studio's specialization in buying and selling SaaS companies
  • Alex Cook's background in building and selling software companies
  • Challenges faced by entrepreneurs in building and scaling their businesses
  • Relentless Venture Studio's support in finance management, sales process development, and technology oversight
  • The unique model of offering both capital and sweat equity to partner with entrepreneurs
  • Targeting companies with momentum in the market, typically at around a million in annual recurring revenue (ARR)
  • Passion for SaaS businesses and the scalability and long-term engagement aspects of the model
  • Equity-sharing model and minority stake in the companies they partner with

About Alex Minicucci:

Alex Minicucci is a notable figure in the tech entrepreneurship scene, originating from San Luis Obispo, California. His journey began with an ambitious leap, leaving his mechanical engineering studies at Cal Poly merely six months in to venture into the technological realm. This daring move proved fruitful as Alex sold his first business within 18 months, embarking on self-employment and successful ventures in the tech industry. His dedication and innovative spirit have not gone unnoticed, as he achieved a position on the INC5000 list, a remarkable feat he accomplished while managing the responsibilities of a full-time single father to two daughters.

Beyond his personal business triumphs, Alex has significantly contributed to the broader tech entrepreneurial community. Recognizing the challenges and opportunities in the startup landscape, he authored the SaaS Startup Playbook to guide growth-stage companies towards successful exits. His commitment to fostering entrepreneurial success led to the creation of RELENTLESS Venture Studio. This initiative serves as a centralized resource and advisory hub, offering partnership opportunities and expert advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and established businesses, further cementing his impact on the industry.

About RELENTLESS Venture Studio LLC:

RELENTLESS Venture Studio, based in San Luis Obispo, California, stands out as a beacon for entrepreneurs and subject-matter experts within the Software as a Service (SaaS) sector. By adopting a hands-on approach, RELENTLESS offers more than just financial investment; it provides comprehensive mentorship and access to essential in-house resources. This support structure is designed to transform promising ventures into successful, scalable businesses, highlighting the studio's commitment to not only fund but fundamentally nurture and guide the growth of its portfolio companies.

A personalized approach to acceleration and mentorship is at the core of RELENTLESS Venture Studio's philosophy. Recognizing the diverse nature of entrepreneurial talent and business models, the studio eschews one-size-fits-all solutions in favor of custom-tailored guidance. This strategy ensures that each founder's unique passion, creativity, and vision are effectively harnessed and augmented with strategic leadership, sales, and business management systems. By doing so, RELENTLESS aims to optimize the trajectory of each venture, making a significant and measurable impact on its success and sustainability in the competitive SaaS landscape.

Tweetable Moments:

04:37 – “Experience matters, and in tech, time matters. There isn't a lot of time to go through this guess and test, figuring things out. That's why so many of these companies fail.”

13:38 – “I realized early on how important it is to find those connections, find those resources, and cultivate those relationships over time. I think it's good business.”

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out RELENTLESS Venture Studio LLC’s website at

Check out RELENTLESS Venture Studio LLC on LinkedIn at

Check out Alex Minicucci on LinkedIn at

Check out Alex Minicucci on Instagram at

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Josh (00:00:04) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence. Com and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence. Com and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now it's Alex. Alex, you are the founder and CEO of Relentless Venture Studio. Your website is be Alex, thank you so much for joining us.

Alex (00:01:12) - Hey Josh, thanks for having me today. Appreciate it. Absolutely.

Josh (00:01:15) - So I'm really interested in learning about what Relentless Venture Studio does because it says right here you buy and sell SaaS companies.

Josh (00:01:24) - Please tell me more.

Alex (00:01:27) - Yeah, I'd be happy to. You know, it starts with my origin building software companies at an early age. I've gone from ideation to platform to getting these things out and, you know, making a few million dollars to exit. So I've, I've understood and developed a life cycle of build and sell companies for the last 25 years. And I was approaching 40 years old in 2018. I said, oh, how am I going to take my game to the next level? And how can I give back to other entrepreneurs that struggle with that life cycle? As most people know, nine out of ten startups fail. It's a terribly high failure rate, very hard to get through that process. And most entrepreneurs are trying to solve a problem or passionate about a certain widget, this thing that they want to do, fix or build, but they're not great at building business. It's like being a great chef, but trying to run a restaurant. There's a lot of that other stuff that's involved in successfully going to market.

Alex (00:02:22) - So I created Relentless Venture Studio as an effort to partner with entrepreneurs or passionate about building a great product, building great widget, but need help and help in a different way than just check writing. You can give capital, but it's actually a lot of risk in trying to deploy capital. trying to find great sales manager salespeople, CFOs. If you're a tech wizard, finding, hiring, managing these people has a lot of risk and it has time involved. So what we did is, is we thought, well, how can we create an efficient way to help entrepreneurs both time and cost effective, while creating some economies of scale and staying truly, fully engaged with these entrepreneurs as they move forward? So that was our relentless venture studio model. So what I do is I try to find entrepreneurs that have got some momentum in market, but need help supplementing the rest of their business and taking it to the next level. I come in and partner with some capital but also sweat equity. Our team comes to the rescue.

Alex (00:03:24) - our CFO comes in and helps manage finances. My CRO helps develop sales process, my CTO helps oversee DevOps and building tech. So all the you know, instead of raising 3 million and trying to deploy capital for all these resources, we give them a million. And then do you know, 80% of the things that they would spend the money on for them as an active and experienced partner in their business? So it's a it's a different model. It's not for everybody. But we find, our experience and ability to execute quickly has created a great partnership for the right kinds of companies to come on board. Yeah.

Josh (00:04:01) - I mean, for the right person. I mean, how perfect for them, right? Because they just, you know, again, if what they love more than anything is software that solves a problem in the market, but they're not necessarily I mean, they could go through the effort of hiring a fractional CFO. They can hire a fractional CMO, they can dump a bunch of money in ads.

Josh (00:04:21) - They could do a lot of experimenting and absorb a ton of risk or partner with you. And they don't have to worry about all that. Stuff like that part of is is solved for them. If I if I'm understanding this correctly.

Alex (00:04:37) - Yeah, 100%. I mean, we, we use the mantra experience matters. And and so, you know, you're learning on the job, you're learning with other people's dollars oftentimes. And in tech time matters. So there isn't a lot of time to go through this guess and test, figuring things out. that's why so many of these companies fail. And there are great programs out there that are incubators that try to help and support groups and other organizations, and all of those are meaningful and great in their own respect. But I think a lot of times you've got a founder entrepreneur who's really passionate about product, and then you've got all this other infrastructure required, has very little to do with product, and has to do with outbound selling, scripting, hiring salespeople, KPI measuring, right, like, you know, the admin side, running payroll, having the right insurance, no right, the right legal stuff.

Alex (00:05:28) - So now your tech guide, you know, it's trying to deal with all this other stuff and learning what kind of media do I use, what a contract I put for my clients. I've got a privacy policy. Do I use what kind of backup systems am I using? And password protection for my staff. And they're not working on product. They're figuring all this other stuff out for the first time and it just becomes a mess. So, trying to streamline that model and have founders do what they love and focus on great product, great customer experience. While you've got an admin team that's shared amongst multiple companies, creates a economies of scale and efficiency for them. So it just kind of works out as a win win for everybody.

Josh (00:06:04) - Yeah. and so Alex, you typically are working with companies at at what stage. And I think, you know, I'm obviously I'm looking at the, your front page, your website, and you kind of have this matrix of kind of startup to 5 million. And then your sweet spot is somewhere in the middle, the mine talking just a little bit about stages and kind of where you typically love to come in.

Alex (00:06:26) - You know, we we like to come in at about a million an RR where there's a viable product that usually needs to be tuned up for scale. We can put some real energy behind scaling a sales process as opposed to discovering it, so we can provide some advisor on that. But once you're at a million an hour and we kind of know the target market, who we want to go after, and usually that's where the entrepreneurs struggle with customer engagement, lifetime value and scaling a sales team. And so that's where we really shine. We come in and say, you've got a couple salespeople. You've managed to get to this point. Now that's quite some infrastructure. But we're going to have 15 salespeople and we can really scale. But usually at that point I've got the hole in the bottom of the bucket. What are we doing to keep customers happy, improve lifetime value, making sure that you're not churning as fast as you're growing. So that's where we like to put a lot of energy and emphasis and ongoing education and customer engagement so that they're utilizing the product, get great value from the product.

Alex (00:07:25) - we look at ways we can tune up the technology to make it a little easier for onboarding UI, UX improvements and make it simple to use, based on feedback from customers. So at about a million Rs. Where we've got enough of that data, we can come in and deploy what we do and, and start building some infrastructure to help that business get to five and 10 million an hour.

Speaker 3 (00:07:46) - Yeah. And what do.

Josh (00:07:47) - You like about SAS?

Alex (00:07:50) - you know, as, as a software guy by nature, I mean, I love where software can help, create scale, kind of duplicate process, create engagement with customers that has a more long term vision behind it. I'm a relationship oriented by nature, and that's what I love about you and your podcast. And you're very relationship with the way you try to help and work with people. So SAS kind of a more implies a longer term engagement and, and relationship building and solving people's problems over time. So I think by that the nature of that model, as opposed to being really transactional, it suits my personality.

Alex (00:08:28) - And from a business economic standpoint, you kind of build an annuity as you build a SaaS business over time, where you really get to where you you have a predictable inbound lead flow. You know what your customers need and continue to refine and add value and then work towards that longevity and building that relationship with your clients over time. So I just I love that ecosystem and life cycle of the customer journey on almost asked businesses.

Speaker 3 (00:08:53) - Yeah.

Josh (00:08:54) - Can you tell me a little bit more about the obviously let's say someone saying, well, I wonder if I would be a good fit. And I'm kind of curious about the models. Obviously it sounds like they're sharing in the equity of the company. Do you mind maybe just kind of sharing a little bit more about the model?

Alex (00:09:12) - Yeah. You know, I mean we're not for everybody. And so we, we, we see almost a deal a day. We bring on, you know, 5 to 10 a year. So, we're pretty selective on, on what the fit is.

Alex (00:09:21) - And we have to be the right fit for somebody else. So. So yes, we do take a piece of equity. We don't do much work for hire. the way I've always looked at it is, is one, you know, for myself. And I think of this conversely, with who I work with, you want people to really have some skin in the game and that, participate in the success of your company. So when you, when you just, you know, hire somebody out. I mean, now, there's anything wrong with that, but when you ask somebody out of me, they're going to get paid to deliver their service. And and, you know, there's no real upside for your success. So we come in and if I say, well, you know, for half a million, I believe I can transform your business, then forget the half a million. I want a piece of me transforming your business. So, we typically come in and take an equity stake, use a minority stake, choose around 20 or 30%, depending on the level of engagement.

Alex (00:10:08) - So what we do is we assess what that business needs. We assess whether we're the right fit for that business. It all starts there. in some cases, you know, we don't solve the problems that that entrepreneur has. and so we will, you know, either refer people out to our network of partners. We will we do a lot of pro-bono, just coaching work. Sometimes I say, you know, I think I can help you, but I don't think I do enough to warrant owning a piece of your company. So let's just. Do, you know, a call for, you know, an hour or two and once a month, see if I can give you some advice. I'm happy to help the entrepreneur community in whatever way I can. So we try to make time for that. We need to. So bow out and just help out. in cases where, you know, we think we can be some value but not huge value, but we're going to roll up our sleeves.

Alex (00:10:53) - we'll look at, you know, we'll create a formal engagement. This is what we'll do for you. What are you going to expect from us and hold us accountable? in exchange for that, we're going to value business and take a certain piece of the equity. And and now we're to partner in that business. And at that point, the relentless team becomes their team. Alex becomes their partner. And, and we're off to the races working together.

Josh (00:11:15) - Yeah. so obviously there's risk involved for relentless as well. So, you know, you certainly know what your own superpowers are. And aside from kind of the all star team that you're being able to bring in, it looks like you guys are pretty well set up with lots of partners that that you can bring in to solve issues.

Alex (00:11:36) - Absolutely. We we have a great network, and we spent a lot of time in networking with different, service providers, different incubators and groups, handful private equity. So sometimes we help build them up and then we have the right kinds of partners that are buying companies so we can help facilitate an exit.

Alex (00:11:51) - Yeah, we try to just participate the entire ecosystem. And, we actually actually host an event in my home, every three months. We call it the Relentless Insiders. And we usually have 80 to 100 people, usually mostly in California, based in California. So from the Bay area, LA, coming to my home, we we have we have sushi and wine, and then we actually have a Shark tank style, section where we let companies pitch, and we've raised on the spot $1 million for early stage companies. We've helped people get financing, we've connected people, and we don't take anything of this. We we we know we're not paid for it. We don't get a piece of it. We just love connecting people and helping the entrepreneur community. It's so hard trying to build a business, and I think you do create a community around that effort. So we love to help out where we can. So even if if we can't help directly, you know, to roll up your sleeves model, we do whatever we can to try to connect people, to get them the resources that they need.

Josh (00:12:45) - And I appreciate that. You sound like a man after my own heart, man. Just, you know, you do good in. World. And, you know, you keep doing good, you know, especially with the right folks and the right crowds and stuff. And, you know, I truly believe you get to a point where you're not able to outlive the market, right? Because you've already just shown yourself. Can I just ask you a final question? Can I just ask you about that type of philosophy and why you believe that that's just such an enjoyable I'm editorializing here why you choose that way of doing business.

Alex (00:13:15) - But, you know, I appreciate you asking. I grew up in a small town. I'm an Eagle Scout. I was an altar boy as a kid. Like I did all that kind of stuff. And I'm very community oriented. And when I was approaching 17 or 18 years old and thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, you know, the resources weren't abundant here and there wasn't a lot of people just connect with and, and, and talk to you about this.

Alex (00:13:38) - So I, I realized early on how important it is to find those connections, find those resources, and cultivate those relationships over time. I know I met some people early on, were very trans minded and and it's short lived. If you say, I want to be in business for the next 30 or 40 years in some capacity, 50 years, I mean, well, God willing, I do this until I drop dead when I'm 90. I love what I do. I would hope that I would have some relationships where people know that they can count on me to be reliable, to follow up, to connect. I don't always have my hand out trying to grab money out of their pocket like it's you can give a little and then when it's time to come back around, people reciprocate. and we, as I say, a rising tide raises all ships. Right? So, somewhere in there with my I think my community oriented upbringing is really giving me a love for that longevity. I think it's good business.

Alex (00:14:32) - for me, I love what I do, which means there's a there's a personal element to the relationships that I build. I love seeing people, develop success, whether I'm directly or indirectly, a part of it. I think that it helps everyone. So, Yeah, just somewhere in there. It's. It's just been part of my DNA to to try to invest in those around me and help out. And, and I've been very fortunate in my business career as a result of that and in some way, shape or form.

Josh (00:14:58) - All right. So, let's talk about who needs to get to be relentless. Com and what their next steps would be.

Alex (00:15:07) - Yeah. yeah. Visit the site. Be relentless. It's be You can learn a little bit about what we're doing. We've got our portfolio companies out there. you can submit on the site or find me on LinkedIn. We do a lot with LinkedIn. So you can connect with me on there and follow up. I'm looking for, you know, where I can help out.

Alex (00:15:24) - Most are SaaS based companies that have the 1 to 5 million RR that are looking to scale the team, build things out so you know how what's the vision look like to get this to 30 million an hour? And, and there are some, some real milestones with respect to building on infrastructure, building out managers, measuring your performance. You start spending a lot of money on ads and retention and things like that. So, you know, we like to work with those kind of companies to help them get to the next level. So that's I think, where we add the most value.

Josh (00:15:55) - Yeah. Excellent. Excellent. Again be Alex and Cookie. Did I say that correctly. Yep. Founder CEO thank you so much for joining us.

Alex (00:16:06) - Yeah Josh thank you. It was a pleasure. Thanks for having me on today.

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