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An Accelerant for High Potential Organizations

What We Do

We are an accelerant for high potential organizations. The Propellant Group helps
organizations grow by providing a unique blend of strategic advice and operational
direction at critical times in an organization’s lifecycle. Clients hire The Propellant
Group (Propellant) because we are senior executives who have experience in starting,
growing and running organizations – thus we are able to make critical improvements
within an accelerated timeframe. While the emphasis of Propellant’s experience has
been in technology – Internet, consumer software and enterprise software – we also
have significant experience in advertising, financial services, professional services and
clean technology.

We focus on organizations that need to transition to the next stage in their


development cycle. We help organizations with three important transitions:

The transition The transition The transition


from idea from start-up to to early stage
to start-up significant growth scaling

 Challenge: make the  Challenge: help  Challenge: help


Founder’s vision a organization realize its organization build
reality in 3-6 months potential/solve repeatable successful
problems inhibiting outcomes into
 TPG can augment the growth process
management team as
required  TPG usually  TPG helps
provides three things: companies put the
 Build a beta, recruit 1. Assessment infrastructure in place:
management team, put 2. Action/Operating 1. People
together a business Plan 2. Process
and go-to-market plan, 3. Roadmap to 3. Controls
help secure financing Financing

Why are transitions important? Because it’s during these transitions that
organizations are both the most vulnerable and the most able to capitalize on success.
Along with increased investment comes increased risk. Moreover, it’s when an
organization starts to “produce” more that the bottlenecks are more likely to cause
serious problems. On the other hand, when an organization decides to take the next
step, they are more willing to try things that will make a fundamental difference versus
an incremental improvement.

Because these transitions are both difficult to manage and incredibly important,
organizations often need help in managing this change. That’s where The Propellant
Group comes in.

www.propellantgroup.com | info@propellantgroup.com | 626.689.4791


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Phase 1 Transitions: From Idea to Start-up

We build companies for Founders, Boards of Directors, or Angel Investors by taking


their vision from idea to reality. One of our Managing Partners leads the effort to build
the company working closely with the CEO/Founder/Board. This is an intense,
concentrated commitment that lasts for an indefinite period, one tied to attaining specific
milestones. These milestones typically include defining and launching the business,
guiding the evolution of the business, and then recruiting a permanent management
team that fits the final form of the business (which is often far different than the initial
conception).

We have intense startup experience. The principals of the Propellant Group have
founded, been senior executives of, and been instrumental in the creation of more than
two dozen businesses, including the Automotive X PRIZE, Geocities, , CitySearch, X1
Technologies, and Snap.com. We have built products from a clean sheet of paper;
forged successful business strategies; built departments; re-organized companies;
recruited management teams; created go-to-market strategies and programs; prepared
enough financial models to fill a lake; and raised money from seed stages to IPO. We
have formed the Propellant to apply this collective knowledge to make our partners
grow faster and become more profitable.

Phase 2 Transitions: From Start-up to Significant Growth

Going from start-up to significant growth may be as difficult as starting the


company in the first place. We’ve worked with many companies that have the
potential to succeed, but for a wide range of reasons, haven’t quite arrived yet. Usually,
they need at least three things:

1. Help in focusing on the important initiatives that can be game changers. They
need help in understanding the one or two things that must be accomplished in
order to get to the next level. We call it the “it’s the economy stupid” strategic
clarity.

2. Single-minded ruthlessness in getting operations working efficiently and together.


Companies grow up in a way that allows them to survive, not necessarily to
thrive. Products, organizations, people, financial systems all need to be made to
work optimally to grow. And sometimes, the objectivity of a third party can
provide stimuli for action.

3. Access to more capital to fuel their growth. All early stage companies need
capital to grow. Most of our clients are not throwing off enough cash flow to fund
their growth internally. Hence, they need help in the incredibly important process
of finding the right amount of capital, at the right price, from the right investors.

www.propellantgroup.com | info@propellantgroup.com | 626.689.4791


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Propellant helps accelerate a company’s growth by


“We only take on
providing both strategic insight and operational help in assignments in which we
basic business strategy, product development, marketing, can make a significant
impact by outlining the right
sales, finance, etc. Most often, this help takes the form of a business strategy and then
deep-dive analysis of a client’s business followed by a very playing an integral role in its
execution. In this way, we
specific action plan. But here’s where Propellant is different serve both as an objective
from most consulting companies – we then often sign-up to outside advisor as well as
operating executive held
help execute the action plan because our Partners have accountable for our
hands-on operational experience in a wide variety of performance.”
disciplines.

Phase 3 Transitions: Early Stage Scaling

Successful entrepreneurial companies soon face this question: how do we build


repeatable successful outcomes into our organization as we get bigger? The answer is
people, processes and controls.

We know that not all executives are right for all companies, at all of their stages.
This may be as true for a Founder as it is for a VP Sales. We help companies assess
the type of organizational talent that is required for the next stage of development. We
often get our hands very dirty in this stage, drafting organization plans, job descriptions,
compensation plans and help manage the recruiting function. In some rare instances,
we use our network to match the right candidate with the opportunity.

Scale is not achievable without process and methodologies. It’s a sometimes ugly
fact of success. This becomes critically important at certain events in a company’s life.
An expansion from a headquarters-only operation to a multi-office operation for
example. Or the need to integrate an acquired team/technology/division/ company.
And perhaps the most challenging – a company-wide coherent and rational
compensation plan that can work across all of the company’s groups and departments.

At some stage, you have to be willing to let go of QuickBooks… Without the proper
financial controls and the corresponding metrics dashboard in place, it’s impossible to
scale a company in a financially sound manner. Everything from the proper cash
controls to the right way of capturing costs/revenues needs to be addressed and solved.
We’re not an accounting firm, but we can help guide you in evaluating the myriad
vendors/partners/tools available to assist your company in getting an accurate, timely
picture of its financial situation and the ability to control its financial levers.

www.propellantgroup.com | info@propellantgroup.com | 626.689.4791


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What Makes Us Different

We are deep impact players and we immerse ourselves in each client’s business.
Senior talent, immersed in your business, on-site and on-demand. Every engagement
begins with a strategic assessment by all partners in the firm.

We know how to start and operate organizations. TPG Partners have significant
start-up experience as well as general management experience. Often, we are asked
to help implement the strategies we recommend, thus making us accountable team
members.

We have a broad network of talented people and companies that can help. Over
the years, we have developed a network of trusted partners and individuals that can be
very helpful in forming strategic partnerships, finding the right management talent,
financing, professional services, and new business ideas.

We are purposely very small. Because one of our Managing Partners will actively
lead each assignment, Propellant can only work with a limited number of companies at
any one time. We don’t have, nor want, an army of inexperienced MBAs. Instead, each
of our principals will be involved in each assignment. To make this a reality, we limit the
number of assignments to those in which we can have a major impact and share
substantially in the risks and rewards.

Discreet advice. Often, founders and entrepreneurs need senior level advice — that
they can trust — on a range of sensitive issues. In this case, Propellant principals act
as CEO Coaches, helping them think through their personal goals, exit strategies,
company structure issues, organizational structure, management assessment, and core
business strategies. Part of this role often includes training sessions for the senior
management team on issues that are critical to taking the company to the next level.

Our Clients

www.propellantgroup.com | info@propellantgroup.com | 626.689.4791


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Principals

Fred Walti, Co-Founder and Managing Partner


fred@propellantgroup.com | 323.854.3332

Fred brings thirteen years of Internet entrepreneurship to The


Propellant Group, having founded Full Moon Interactive, an Internet
architect, and LAI, Inc., a consulting company focusing on leveraging
the technology in traditional businesses. Fred built FMI from startup to $25 million in
annual sales with 14 consecutive quarters of profitability. Fred also started one of the
first interactive divisions of a global advertising agency in 1995. Prior to his experience
in “new media,” Fred spent 15 years with global communications companies in various
executive capacities. Fred ran the Apple computer account on a worldwide basis for
BBDO and was GM of their San Francisco office, doubling the billings of the office and
returning it to profitability in 18 months.

Fred has been involved – either as a consultant, principal, employee or investor – in the
startup of several companies. Most recently, he served as COO of Snap.com, a next-
generation venture-backed search engine. Previously, Fred was a Strategic Advisor at
Idealab in which he led the efforts to develop operating plans for a number of their
portfolio companies. Fred served as the Interim CEO for Geocities, helping to author its
first business plan, gain its first round of venture backing, and crystallizing its
advertising-driven business model. Geocities went public and was later sold to Yahoo
in 1999.

Neal Anderson, Co-Founder and Managing Partner


neal@propellantgroup.com | 626.808.5918

Neal has over fifteen years of experience boosting productivity, revenue


and profit for both startups and existing organizations. Neal has a
unique ability to distill an organization’s strategy into its simplest, most
powerful, form. With a clear vision of what needs to get done, he then forms a plan of
attack that almost always gets from A to Z in the most effective manner.

Prior to Propellant, Neal helped to form and launch the $10 million Progressive
Automotive X PRIZE. Neal also achieved an organizational turnaround as President
and CEO of True Floors, Inc., by injecting three consecutive years of double-digit
growth into a stagnant business, culminating in a profitable sale. Earlier, he co-founded
creative agency Ideawork Studios, helping to build a profitable business and award-
winning work for key clients including Yahoo, PBS, Tenet, Ziff-Davis, and others. Neal
has also consulted for several prominent organizations including Stanford University,
Idealab and the City of Los Angeles, and spearheaded one of the first online
marketplaces for government procurement with Visa and Chase.

Neal currently sits on the Caltech / MIT Enterprise Forum Executive Committee, the Los
Angeles Business Technology Center Mentoring Committee, and the board of directors
of Street Poets – a non-profit aimed at violence prevention with at-risk youth.

www.propellantgroup.com | info@propellantgroup.com | 626.689.4791