This Birmingham-based entrepreneur just sold his company for $1.2 billion, Black Enterprise reports.
Shegun Otulana moved to the U.S. from Laos, Nigeria to study engineering and management information systems. Soon after, he started his first computer software company, Zertis. In 2013, Otulana launched his first software solution for mental and behavioral health providers, TheraNest. Recently, he embarked on a new journey by selling TheraNest’s parent company, Therapy Brands, for $1.2 billion.
“As an investor, looking at the Birmingham ecosystem and thinking about how I love to build things, I see a future where I want to create multiple startups and help build the technology ecosystem here," he told ComebackTown. “Birmingham has challenges to building high-growth companies...I feel me and my team can overcome these obstacles and turn these problems into an advantage,” he continued. Otulana wants to boost Birmingham’s economy with his latest endeavor, Harmony Venture Labs (HVL), which will launch, grow and support 40 new startups.
“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. My experience is that those companies actually have a better chance of succeeding in a place like Birmingham," Otulana said.
Otulana and his team have already developed six companies. He hopes that in 10 years, there will be multi-billion dollar HVL-affiliated companies all over Birmingham.
“If we can bring the capital, create the right teams, and find the right partners, we can significantly increase chances of success.”
Congratulations, Mr. Otulana!
Photo: Shegun Otulana