Portfolio Company Highlight: Patrick Fisher of Plazmo

  Omaha-based portfolio company Plazmo Industries  is a manufacturing company providing lamps for LCD applications such as those used for gaming and medical devices, laptops, ATMs, and tens of thousands of other electronic devices. CEO Patrick Fisher has a track record of successful contract negotiation experience with the world’s leading Fortune 500 companies, strengthened by his history of cultivating strong, lasting partnerships with clients, colleagues, and employees. We asked him a few questions about impactful investors and his company.

1) What interested you in joining Plazmo Industries? 
I was looking for a small business that was already past the proof of concept stage, and I wanted to find this business in an industry with real growth potential.  I have been involved in a few start-ups (from scratch) and I was intrigued by this small company founded in Omaha (Plazmo) that had an existing customer base and was ripe for growth.  Also knowing that the probabilities of success are much lower starting from zero when compared to relaunching a business from an existing base, I felt my ability to attract capital in the current environment was better with this type of business investment opportunity.  Risk is always present in small business, but lower when starting with a proven concept. Certainly pros and cons exist for each, but I was impressed with what the founders had carved out in the industry, and also with the potential for growth in the market it serves.

2) Plazmo Industries has grown through the support of several investors sharing in your vision, what do you look for in investors in addition to just providing capital? 
Shared vision and passion.  Investor support throughout the journey is key to success, and so having investors that believe in the business (not only the potential for return on equity) is valuable for the CEO and the management team.  Every investor is different and you can’t expect everyone of them to be as passionate as you are.  Having investors that listen and provide support, in good times and bad, is important to success.  

3) Is there an example that comes to mind of an investor providing over the top value to your company? 
We are fortunate in Nebraska to have supportive angel investors willing to listen and invest in local entrepreneurs.  One example that comes to mind was a time when we needed to raise capital to meet the terms of an asset purchase agreement.  Although we had initially sold debt at an attractive return to raise capital, one of our investors was later willing to invest in equity rather than debt in order to help protect the company’s bottom line and fuel more growth.  We agreed that the business should not take on more debt, but that the equity investment should come with incentive for the investor.  We worked out a fair equity solution that satisfied everyone.  In this case, the investor’s belief in what we were doing with the business was key, and the investor’s team-player attitude went above and beyond what most investors are willing to bring to the table.

4) What excites you most about the future of the company? 
Plazmo serves a niche market that is represented in all of our daily lives.  LCD screens are everywhere in our daily interactions — at the gas pump, at every retail checkout experience, when we travel, at the grocery store, and when we are at work.  Our LCD replacement products help our customers save time & money by extending the life of their mission critical equipment.  Our customers know that visually-bright displays are important to ensure a positive customer experience at an ATM, casino game or self-checkout register — and Plazmo’s products ensure their displays are always performing at their best.  Also by extending the life of our customers’ electronics, we’re helping them to reduce their electronic waste.  For all of these reasons, Plazmo’s value proposition is strong and will continue to be strong for the foreseeable future.