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“Some of the things that keep me sane are afternoon runs” with Mitch Russo & Theron McCollough

You are running a marathon, not a sprint. Sure, I work late and take calls at 10:30 PM. I am also up by 5 am and I love what I do, and don’t feel dread about the work I need to accomplish. I think some of the things that keep me sane are afternoon runs […]

You are running a marathon, not a sprint. Sure, I work late and take calls at 10:30 PM. I am also up by 5 am and I love what I do, and don’t feel dread about the work I need to accomplish. I think some of the things that keep me sane are afternoon runs — which I’m a fanatic about, and keeping yourself physically and mentally aware.


As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SAAS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Theron McCollough. Theron is an accomplished entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in addressing the behaviors that promote company value, help startups reach strategic goals and increase venture success. Having sold his first company in 2010, Theron’s knowledge and proficiency in business development, content creation, product management, sales and marketing is unparalleled. He focuses on business development and sales for technology and SaaS companies selling to the enterprise. He worked at Pivotal Software (PVTL) to develop the Pivotal for Startups program and became Head of Startup Growth. Following Pivotal, Theron earned his investment stripes as an investor and operator with Acceleprise Accelerator and fund, a B2B SaaS firm. Most recently he was a Managing Director with Silicon Valley Bank where he managed 61% of their global early stage ecosystem. In 2019, Theron founded fiifi, a system of record for all startup investments that allows angel, VC and early stage investor to dynamically view their startup portfolio on a near real-time basis.


Thank you so much for joining us Theron! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Acouple years ago, I saw a problem with the early stage investing ecosystem. There was a ton of companies coming to investors, but it was very difficult to manage this flow. About a year later, I found the same problem while working at a technology bank. I started asking colleagues and friends to see if they were dealing with the same issues, and I got enough “yes’s” to seek funding.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

I was religiously using the same three or four tools to accomplish my tasks. I thought to myself, “this has got to be easier,” but it wasn’t. I could not find a solution for what I needed, so I finally got to a point where I needed to build a solution for myself and others who were facing the same difficulties.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

There are plenty of hard times when you start a company and the pressure to give up will always be there. I guess what keeps me focused is when I ask myself, “When I look back will I regret starting, trying and failing, or not starting at all?” The answer for me is that I’d rather fail trying then not try at all.

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Success is relative, ha! My grit has helped me hire more engineers and raise a bit more money. We will see what success is when I get there, my new project is only months old and I’ve just finished my alpha version. So far people like it and are excited to use it — that is all I can ask for.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

I think one of the biggest lessons I have learned is that every time you start a company it is like the first time. You have similar struggles and worries about product and delivering something to your customers and investors.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think that what most makes my company stand out is that now is the right time for a product like this. We have seen a flux in the stock market, technology companies going IPO and not doing so hot, and big questions as to where a person puts their portfolio money. I feel more of us are looking for ways to invest in the private market and away from banks and Wall Street. People look at companies like Uber and want to get involved early but don’t always know how.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

You are running a marathon, not a sprint. Sure, I work late and take calls at 10:30 PM. I am also up by 5 am and I love what I do, and don’t feel dread about the work I need to accomplish. I think some of the things that keep me sane are afternoon runs — which I’m a fanatic about, and keeping yourself physically and mentally aware.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My wife and family. I left my job to work on this product, we moved away from San Francisco and chose a better lifestyle for ourselves. For me to make these drastic changes I could have only accomplished with the support and encouragement from them. But it can’t go without saying I’m grateful for all those I am able to surround myself with.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful app or a SAAS?

  1. Are you the right person to build it and why?
  2. What is the problem I’m trying to solve?
  3. Does the market need this product more than what they are currently using?
  4. Is now the right time in the industry and why?
  5. What is my competition like?

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Follow me at @theron on Twitter and LinkedIn

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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