One of Birmingham, Alabama’s most skillful entrepreneurs, Shegun Otulana, sold his company Therapy Brands for a hefty sum, $1.2 billion.
According to Otulana, over the next decade, he plans to create 40 new startups in Birmingham–with an aggregate value in the billions of dollars.”
“It took us about seven and half years to take our prior startup to a company worth north of a billion dollars,” Otulana adds.
“But I project we can build 10 companies over the next 10 years with the insights we’ve learned and with the support of a lot of people in our community.”
During an interview with ComebackTown, Otulana said being capital efficient was instrumental to building his brand.
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“We became very profitable very fast. We did not raise a lot of money. My company was very capital efficient and built a company that became profitable within its second year. This is certainly not the norm, but being capital efficient has become a best practice.”
He adds: “If we can bring the capital, create the right teams, and find the right partners, we can significantly increase chances of success.”
Otulana moved to Birmingham from Lagos, Nigeria, to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he majored in engineering and management information systems.
Shortly after graduating in 2004, Otulana launched his first company, Zertis.
Then, in 2013, he created TheraNest, serving as founder and CEO of TheraNest and its parent company, Therapy Brands, which provides software solutions for mental and behavioral health providers. As of May, Therapy Brands served more than 28,000 practices nationwide.
Otulana plans to use what he learned from creating TheraNest and Therapy Brands to build Birmingham’s economy. With his new entity, Harmony Venture Labs, Otulana’s goal is to create software as a service, specifically B2B SaaS.
“HVL takes a venture equity approach to building companies. Venture capitalists and private equity people take a lot of risks, so they are more interested in companies that are very capital efficient and very profitable,” Otulana told ComebackTown.
“My experience is that those companies actually have a better chance of succeeding in a place like Birmingham.”