Friday Nooner: Talking Tech IPOs (Or Not), Guest Mark Self Of Brit Import mpro5

Although this week’s Friday Nooner took place on Friday the 13th, surprisingly the episode brought more good news than bad—the eagerly awaited return of Pete (no offense, Joe), a new Star Wars-esque intro, and Joe’s birthday! The bad news? Pete’s power went out overnight, though he still somehow woke up on his own at 4:38 a.m. without needing the alarm that had been set for 4:57 a.m.

After some discussion about Pete’s breakfast routine and a serenade of birthday wishes for “JC”—not Jesus Christ, rather Joe Colopy—the gang talked about Spiffy’s recent announcement that they have hired an “IPO-ready” CFO, Brad Schomber, thus publicly floating the potential of an IPO somewhere down the line. Joe provided his own opinion on Triangle tech IPOs, arguing that oftentimes it’s better for startups to wait so they can gain as much momentum, scale and funding as possible before an IPO so that when they do go public, they can stay public.

Following a minor screen-sharing oopsie (you’re better than that, Pete), the crew welcomed Mark Self, CEO of Raleigh-based mpro5 North America. [Editor’s note: We wrote about mpro5 last October.] Minus Mark’s captivating office tour (you’ll have to watch the episode for that), here are some highlights from his interview:

  • After securing a job with IBM following 12 rejections—the 13th try really is the charm!—to start his career, he later became acquainted with the startup world. His departure from IBM launched him into the business and marketing realm where years later he met Barrie Whipp. The two struck a deal in which Mark would spearhead the expansion of Whipp’s UK company, the publicly traded Crimson Tide PLC, into North America with its base in Raleigh. Mark sees mpro5 as a startup within a startup; the workflow, automation, and management software is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Crimson Tide. The reason they didn’t use the Crimson Tide name in America? Too strong an association with the University of Alabama’s sports teams, a decision that LSU fan Pete (Geaux Tigers!) applauds.
  • mpro5 is a B2B workflow automation software company which, among other use cases, both tracks data for retail outlets and allows stores to alert other employees of issues. For customers like UK grocery giant Tesco, this type of software allows avoidance of legal situations and expenses due to aisle spills and other potentially sticky (pun-intended) situations. Employees can use the software to communicate about store problems before they cause a lawsuit.
  • Mark’s advice to young professionals entering the startup realm is to get some real world experience as soon as possible—whether that’s through a job, internship, or mentorship. mpro5 recruits business-interested individuals from both Cary Academy and Northeastern University, and Mark said he thinks working for a small company, like mpro5, allows young people to produce work that will actually be used rather than run around taking coffee orders for a larger business.

You can watch the full episode on LinkedIn here, or on Facebook here.

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