Doing it in NJ: Starting, building, and selling a business
I’m honored and excited to be a speaker at the Jersey Shore Tech Meetup. I’m from the Jersey Shore, born and raised in Atlantic City, attended Rutgers College, and currently reside in Short Hills.
My dreams of entrepreneurship started on the boardwalk in Atlantic City while riding my tricycle with my dad on our Sunday morning rides, and seeing “Neil the Balloon King” selling big bright balloons in front of the Steel Pier with a money belt around his waist and a fist full of bills. I remember thinking Neil must be the richest most successful guy in the entire world, and some day I want to have my own business too.
It took 20 years, but in 2000 I started two businesses in NJ, a SaaS business and a fashion accessories business. I raised $5mm of equity capital for the SaaS business and sold it seven years later, and raised $4mm of debt capital for the fashion accessories business and continue to operate it profitably going on 14 years.
I helped start SecondMarket in 2004 as a founding Board member and I've been the CFO for the past 3.5 years, but currently winding down my work as CFO at SecondMarket to launch a new SaaS business in NJ.
During our Jersey Shore Tech Meetup I plan to share more of my background, why I stayed in NJ for my startups, some lessons learned, and to meet some great Jersey Shore Tech folks. Thank you for having me.
About Greg Besner
Greg has been the Founder and CEO of two successful companies in addition to serving as President, COO and CFO for several successful venture-backed companies. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at New York University teaching a class called “Ready, Fire, Aim”.
Greg is currently the CFO of SecondMarket Holdings, Inc. He joined SecondMarket’s Board of Advisors in 2004 as the company was being founded. Greg is also the Founder and CEO of PUNCHCASE, a fashion accessories company that he and his partner founded in 2000. Prior to joining SecondMarket as CFO, Greg led a group of private investors in the Series B funding of House Party, Inc., a growth stage digital media company, where he served as COO from 2009-2010. Prior to joining House Party, Greg was the Founder and CEO of Computershare Executive Services, a SaaS fin-tech company formally known as Restricted Stock Systems, Inc. (“RSS”), from 2000 until 2009. In 2007, Greg sold RSS to Computershare Limited, a public company based in Australia and he remained as President until January of 2009. During his tenure as CEO of RSS, Greg was named the Ernst & Young 2003 Entrepreneur of the Year in New Jersey.
Greg is also an active investor and consultant for numerous successful companies and start-ups. Of note, he was an investor and consultant for Zappos.com starting in 2005 until Zappos was sold to Amazon in 2009. Greg currently serves on the Board of Directors or the Board of Advisors for ten privately held companies as well as his family foundation, the Willa’s Wish Foundation, Inc. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Young Presidents’ Organization (“YPO”) NJ Chapter.
Greg attended The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania earning his M.B.A., and he earned his B.A. from Rutgers University.