In this the latest of a series of stories profiling presenting companies at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s annual Tech Venture conference,  Frank Gozzo talks about Noverant {/a}}, which he acquired in 2006.  

Gozzo, the chief executive officer of Noverant, was with IBM from 1985-1995 where he served in various leadership roles including member of the President’s Technology Advisory Board. From 1995-2006, he held executive and board roles at Bell & Howell where he led the privatization, turn-around, and subsequent sale of the business. Since 2006, he has been involved in multiple successful angel investments, including the acquisition and turnaround of Noverant. He earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Rensselaer as an IBM Ph.D. Resident Fellow and is an SEC-qualified financial expert.

What is your “elevator pitch” you will use at the CED Tech Venture Conference?

Noverant helps clients in regulated or training-intensive industries to: manage their critical information; train their employees and partners; and efficiently provide evidence of compliance to internal and external inspectors.

What is the “secret sauce” of your firm that sets you apart?

Noverant’s secret sauce includes three unique ingredients:

1 – Ability to deploy our government-approved solution in either traditional (license) deployments behind a client’s firewall, or as a web-based service offering (SaaS).
2 – Proven technology and infrastructure which allows tremendous scalability, ranging from a small physician practice with only a few employees to international pharmaceutical firms.
3 – Seasoned management with a relentless drive for customer-driven research and development.

Do you have a motto/slogan that you feel captures the energy/mission of your firm? If so, please share with us and explain why you feel it is appropriate.

“Information. Training. Compliance.” Noverant began as a traditional learning management system focused solely on the pharmaceutical industry. As we expanded beyond pharma, we found many additional applications and corresponding industry-unique terminology. Today, Noverant is best described as a leading provider of information, training and compliance management services to regulated and training-intensive industries.

Who are your “heroes” in business? How are you trying to emulate them?

My heroes in business include: my father, who was the founder of a small accounting, insurance and real estate firm; several senior exec mentors at IBM and Bell & Howell; and industry titans such as Steve Jobs. In all cases, these heroes had an obsession with genuinely understanding market needs and driving customer-driven solutions.

What triggered your initial thoughts about launching a company? How has that original thinking/goal changed or evolved since your launch?

While my career began in big corporations, getting involved with start-ups always seemed appealing, perhaps because I grew up watching my father start and run a small business. Since acquiring and re-launching Noverant in 2006, the original thinking has not changed dramatically, although the market has definitely opened up a number of unexpected opportunities.

Why did you choose to launch a company in what has been a difficult economic environment since 2008?

I fundamentally believe in software businesses and regulated industries, and so investing in Noverant and then buying it out in 2006 made sense. We launched a new strategy at that time:

1 – Offer a web-based version of the solution (in addition to the traditional license version)
2 – Expand beyond pharma to other regulated industries

We have enjoyed revenue growth every year since acquiring the business in 2006 and attribute that growth to our strategic insight and tactical intensity.

What is the business “need” you are seeking to address? What problem do you solve, and for whom?

All businesses today are regulated by one or more government mandates (e.g., FDA, IRS, SEC, SOX, FAA, TSA, DOL, OSHA, etc.) or corporate mandates (e.g., ISO, CE, Board Policy, industry best practice, etc). In all cases, the ability of a business to: efficiently administer revision-controlled information; provide suitable training in blended learning environments; and keep track of critical records in an approved evidence-of-compliance system is a major opportunity in virtually any industry.

What products are you offering/planning to offer? Please describe each briefly.

Noverant offers a complete information, training and compliance management service that is used by clients, regulators and key stakeholders on a daily basis. The solution can be deployed either behind the client’s firewall in a traditional software license model, or via web-based delivery under a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. In addition, the solution can be acquired in one or more modules to better address different customer needs. For example, some clients use Noverant to keep track of a complete blended learning environment (e.g., instructor-led courses, web-based training, online testing, etc.) including financial analytics; others use it solely for online testing and certification of physicians; and others use it for tracking specific content and enabling government inspections via remote surveillance.

Why do you believe investors should be interested in your firm?

Large and growing market.
Proven, scalable services offered in a renewable revenue model
Seasoned management team

How much funding are you seeking, if any, and how would the funding be used?

Funding, if necessary, will be for strategic acquisitions to leverage our success and accelerate our growth.

How much funding have you raised to date?

Noverant is a family-owned business.

Are you hiring at the present time, and if so how many positions are you looking to fill?

Yes. Noverant is looking to fill several positions primarily in sales.