The FORT Podcast: Michael Arrieta – Founder of Garden City – Buying & Growing Great Companies with Permanent Capital
Michael currently serves as the Founder and CEO of Garden City, a purpose-driven holding company that buys, grows, and permanently holds family-owned companies. Once acquired, Garden City seeks to grow them through culture, technology, and sales.
Most recently, Michael was an early employee & executive at DocuSign, serving as Global Vice President, General Manager, and Chief of Staff to the CEO. DocuSign has now achieved a $30B market cap with 5,000 employees. In 2016, he founded MAV Ventures, a venture capital group that has invested in over 100+ companies and multiple funds. Michael also co-founded New Story, a non-profit that has built 2,000+ homes in developing countries and is recognized for creating the world’s first-ever 3D Home Printer.
He graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management, and he lives in Atlanta with his wife and three children. Mike is a follower of Jesus and seeks to honor God in everything he does.
On this episode, Chris and Mike discuss:
- His story and how he learned to be world-class at sales. (He was the #1 CutCo Knife salesman in the US)
- How Garden City values and ultimately transacts on businesses.
- How Garden City creates value for the companies they acquire.
- Why he chose a permanent capital structure.
(2:10) – Michael’s career and background
(4:51) – What did you do that made you the top Knife salesman in the country?
(9:45) – What can get someone to believe in their product or company?
(12:46) – What does a Chief of Staff do?
(16:58) – Why do you have an affinity for boring SMB’s?
(19:50) – What led you to the realization that you wanted to start acquiring businesses?
(23:30) – What are you tangibly doing to make people the focus of the businesses you buy?
(29:21) – What’s your filter for red flags in businesses you look at acquiring?
(32:19) – In what capacity do you want the previous owner involved after an acquisition?
(33:49) – What do the first 90 days look like post-acquisition?
(37:11) – How do you find the line between letting the business run and being very hands on as owners?
(40:20) – When an owner doesn’t stay on, how quickly do you have to get on with replacing the CEO?
(43:06) – What are most of these SMB’s lacking generally from a technology standpoint?
(46:17) – How do you find someone who is going to be really accountable for making sure tech is adopted?
(48:50) – How do you approach Sales training?
(53:45) – Why did you choose to pursue Permanent Capital?
(57:01) – How do you think about the platform of being able to help people when you’re a business owner?
(1:00:58) – Is it possible to instill this mindset in an already existing business?
(1:02:33) – How does Permanent Capital work?
(1:04:46) – How do you think about cash flowing out of the businesses you own?
(1:07:06) – Do you have an example of a Christian Business owner who is killing it in both their career and their faith?
Sacred Pace by Terry Looper: https://amzn.to/3qxTMtV
(1:10:17) – Why did you consciously decide to slow down? What have been the consequences of that decision?
Becoming a King by Morgan Snyder: https://amzn.to/3Lq7GYV
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer: https://amzn.to/3ddXrtR
The Fort is produced by Johnny Podcasts