Kevin Nagle was able to swing by Startup Grind Sacramento and enlighten us with heartwarming tales of his past that contributed to who he is today. Co-founder of Envision Pharmaceuticals and co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, Kevin gained recognition as Sacramento's Executive of the Year. He's also the lead investor in Sacramento Republic FC and on the board of Moneta Ventures, the Sacramento region's biggest early phase venture fund.
Born in Minnesota and raised in Long Beach, Calif., by a single mother in what he said was "borderline poverty," Nagle’s ambitious attitude took shape at the age of only 6 years old. With his father out of the picture, he would collect golf balls from a nearby golf course and sell them to golfers in need. He had a plethora of jobs that he said all built character and humility. Kevin even recalls ducking out of sight when the popular kids were his customers when working weekends at Jack in the Box. As Nagle grew older, his entrepreneurial spirit sharpened. He discussed how he strategically maximized profits from his older sister's paper route, and that laid the foundation for his future empire.
"Have Passion and Obsession"
On the path to becoming a successful entrepreneur, Nagle said that a passionate attitude is mandatory. A personal example of how he demonstrated passion early in his career: At the time, he was working in corporate America making more than $500,000 year with a grip of stock options. However, these perks did not fill the void in his heart, and he abruptly quit shortly after entering into a three-year employment deal. He has had passion for every endeavor he embarked on which, in most cases, required him to make sacrifices. Still, he understood the importance of “diversifying your lifestyle” and always made it to his family's special events.
"Carving the Market, Staking your Claim ... and Thinking of the Next Generation"
Nagle’s medical background started in pharmaceutical management benefit services, where he sold his own Integrated Pharmaceutical Services (IPS) for $200 million, and it eventually turned into CVS Caremark. During the week of 9/11, there was limited airfare and he was stuck in Las Vegas planning for the next generation. Comparing his approach to Tom Cruise in the movie Jerry Maguire, Nagle wrote a white paper outlining the vision and how his firm would be disruptive, transparent and competitive with the big players on Wall Street.
The early days of Envision aimed at bringing transparency to its customers and had a concept so disruptive that bigger companies falsely claimed their business models were identical to that of Envision. Fortunately his organization was well capitalized and able to sustain the competition for two years, although it suffered severe losses. Refusing to throw in the towel, Nagle stayed the course and, by focusing on his target market of senior citizens, increased his revenue from $5 million to $78 million within a year.
"Biggest Deal Killer Is Not Being Overprepared"
Nagle reminded us of the competitive, overzealous nature of today's market. Being able to articulate your idea in a clean and concise manner is so important to at least getting your foot in the door. He cited Costco as an example and how that company allows startups only eight minutes to pitch their business idea and determine whether or not it should be on store shelves. Similarly, Nagle firmly believes that aspiring entrepreneurs should constantly “shine their deck” and make it presentable to anyone under any circumstances. This aligns with his core principles of passion and obsession and how that will catapult you into a heightened degree of success.