William Leonard

Hi everyone, my name is William Leonard. Welcome back to the Atlanta Startup Podcast. The story of Atlanta’s latest startup exit is one full of grit, execution, and unconventional strategy incubated out of Atlanta Tech Village. Curricula was acquired in July of 2022 for $22 million by Huntress, which is a Baltimore-based security platform provider. Curricula software helps companies train their employees on cybersecurity threats through a robust storytelling platform. This is Knick’s first time on the Atlanta Startup Podcast but this go-round will dive deep into the early pivots of curricula, and why he ultimately gave their software away for free, how curricula build a moat around selling to small businesses, how and make an approach to multiple acquisitions offers on the table. And we’ll also talk about what’s next for Nick and the team post-acquisition. Let’s jump right into this episode with Nick Santora, CEO of Curricula. Before we dive into today’s episode with Nick Santora, the Valor team has a pretty active week ahead of us. So let’s dive into some of the things that we’ll be doing. Our team is in Nashville this week meeting with founders and investors at the Nashville Entrepreneurship Center. And then, Startup Runway is this Thursday, August 11th, starting at 3 pm eastern, so visit startuprunway.org to register to attend. We’ve got 10 Fantastic finalists that will be sharing more about their startups and three winners will walk away with $10,000 in non-dilutive capital for their startups. And then immediately after startup runway, we’ll be hosting the Georgia social impact collaborative event in our office, right on the Beltline by Krog Street Market. And then lastly, Valor General Partner Gary Peat is in Texas this week for Dallas Startup week, he will be doing a fireside chat with one of Valor’s newest portfolio founders, Taylor Shead of STEMuli. And they’ll be talking about raising capital and lessons learned from the trenches of fundraising. That’s going to be a great conversation. So, it’s going to be a great week ahead for us. Now let’s jump back into the episode with Nick. Nick, welcome back to the podcast.

Nick Santora

Thanks for having me back, William. It’s been what, a couple of years now? A year or two?

William Leonard

It’s been about a year and the circumstances are totally different this go around. For those of y’all who don’t know, Nick recently led Curricula to be acquired by Huntress. Am I saying that right Huntress? One of Atlanta’s newest acquisitions was bootstrapped. Nick, excited to have you on the podcast and talk more about this life-changing moment for you. We’d love for you to just kind of kick it off and maybe give us a brief rundown for those who don’t know what Curricula does.

Nick Santora

The simplest way is we teach companies how to not get hacked by letting them watch cartoons. Sounds silly but that’s literally the gist of it all.

William Leonard

I love it. Tell us more about that approach. That’s certainly not your traditional one-liner or pitch but I would love for you to dive into that a bit more. And then we can talk about the evolution and the growth of the business ultimately to exit here.

Nick Santora

For a lot of organizations, I mean, there are so many perspectives on this but there are bad people out there. There are hackers that are doing anything and everything to steal money and resources, and then make a profit off them in some way. Because of that, there need to be some defenses. When you look at what you can spend money on to try to defend yourself and your business, security awareness or training or education around this topic typically should be top of mind and it mostly isn’t, because a lot of training sucks. It’s just a waste of time. It’s a PowerPoint, no one cares about it. What we built in our ecosystem is a platform that lets small businesses that don’t have the time, money, or resources send out education to all of their employees to learn how to defend against the most common attacks that hackers are using. We do it in a fun way where there are cartoons and heroes and villains and all these stories that get distributed throughout the year, and it’s insightful enough to be not only relatable about what is reality, but also to keep people’s attention along the way. Along with that, there are obviously some other tools and stuff that you can do inside of our platform to make those defenses even better.

William Leonard

That’s such a unique approach when you think about just bringing cybersecurity awareness to organizations and enterprises. That’s not how you think it’s done. When I think about it, it’s traditionally like boring classes, phishing exercises, and things like that but this is interactive, hands-on, and generally intuitive. That’s awesome. I think when we last spoke, we talked about the early days of the business and how you all made several pivots around the go-to-market strategy product. What were some of the early pivots that you all had to make? I was reading that you all decided to launch the platform for free. That’s a huge undertaking. What went into that decision as well?

Nick Santora

I’ll start from the beginning and then we’ll land on what led us to the free because I do think that was a game changer in strategy, and a tough one to decide on for everyone. For everyone that knows or doesn’t know about Curricula, my background was working for the government in regulating the power grid in North America. When we were first coming up with this idea, it was basically to solve that problem specifically for utility companies in North America. I remember the early days, we even met with some angel investors, people that potentially could have given us money. I remember I was just looking at the old pitch deck the other day, and my co-founder, Joe Rucci. I went and met with a group and we’re talking about making this education platform for regulated utilities under the North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC CIP). What the heck is that? Like 0% that anyone was relating to the technical conception of what we were trying to build. I remember that night we went to Lizzie’s here in Midtown and we got some tacos. I was like, “Screw it. I’m gonna take all my money out of 401k. We’re gonna just do this ourselves.” I’d say that was kind of our start. And then very quickly, we realized that that industry and that product were just limited in scope, right? There are only so many people that can buy that. How do we scale? One of our other tougher decisions early on was, how do we get our mindset into what we’re putting in this product out to the masses? Where we landed was instead of just focusing on utilities, why don’t we make some kind of education that’s applicable for every business, that every employee needs to learn how to defend themselves against the bad guys? That’s when we started making our security awareness platform very early on within probably the first six months and that was obviously a necessity. As we kept building that, tons of ups and downs where you think everyone’s gonna use this and everyone’s gonna do this, and then you’re like, crap, we’re gonna probably run out of money. I’ve kept the baby alive for multiple times where I look at it like an airplane flying and it’s about to crash, but then it kind of swooped itself back up after it was about to hit the floor. That ultimately led us to 2019. We actually took a small private equity family office round of funding. Relatively, $3 million is not small but in the big scheme of things, everyone’s raising giant numbers and we were almost unusual for even considering doing something like that but there was a very particular reason that was to maintain control and vision of what we wanted to keep building and not chase the moon. We wanted to just have a lot of stability. That was at the beginning of 2020. And then yes, here comes 2020, everything was like, “Oh, crap, this is the world change.” We were really struggling with figuring out where’s our voice in this market against everyone else that’s trying to compete with us. and what we landed on is that we resonate really well with small businesses. Unfortunately, until you hit scale, that doesn’t pay the dollars in the door. You have to have a lot of small businesses. Summer of 2021, the Biden White House initiative brought in a bunch of people to talk about cybersecurity for small businesses. And they said, we got to get free tools, gotta get back to the community who’s going to help. Not a lot of people stood up to say they’re going to help especially in our industry, the security awareness industry. I sat down, I made a list of just what I would want to do if I wanted to give back on that initiative, and we made a plan. I remember our main investor flew into Atlanta and I just sat down at lunch, I said, Alright, man, I gotta tell you, I got this idea. It’s gonna make a free version of our product to give away to every single small business with up to 1000 employees, and that sounds kind of crazy. I was preparing for it. I don’t know how he’s going to take this on and everyone knew we eventually wanted to do something but I was kind of putting my stamp down saying we need to do this. And I was like, we could do it pretty quickly. I think we could do it in 30-45 days, and we’ll have this thing pumped out live. After an explanation, I think he saw the vision that I saw and said, “This is a long-term play to give back to the community and if we do that, the community will give back to us. I guarantee it.” And we did it. We launched this thing right at the beginning of November and from that moment on, everything changed for the business where it actually became overwhelming. We’ve never overplanned for launches for product features and things but I think this is one that we probably should have. We’re literally getting like 800 signups a month inbound, something like that, and it just keeps going even more and more every month. We didn’t really have the staff to support it

William Leonard

What was the marketing like to get in front of those small businesses? You were having 800 signups, just cohorts of signups, what was the marketing strategy to get in front of those small businesses?

Nick Santora

It probably wasn’t as cool as it sounds. We just basically did a press release and just be authentic. I did a really deep blog about why we decided to do it. I posted on LinkedIn to talk about it and we blast it out on our list, talked to some partners, and got a couple of things lined up. It wasn’t really that crazy of a strategy but I think what the world needed was someone to step up and say, “I’ll do it.” We don’t have the most funding. We don’t have the most employees. We’re not the biggest brand but we have the biggest hearts in this team. We just said, “Let’s just do it.” Let’s start the wave and if people want to follow, cool. If not, no skin off our back. That changed the dynamic of everything right after that.

William Leonard

That’s fascinating. Just to confirm, was the business bootstrapped during the first five years of operation? Your strategy, correct me if I’m wrong, but your strategy is probably wildly different from being venture-backed than being bootstrapped when you think about go-to-market. How did you all kind of manage that balance for the first five years? Ultimately, what was the decision like to take on capital from this smaller private equity family office and then pivot that go-to-market strategy?

Nick Santora

You’re right. We are completely unusual compared to what you see in the news and headlines but this isn’t our first rodeo, right? Joe and I actually started a skateboard company when we were 11 years old. We were just used to doing this. And then prior to starting Curricula, we ran several other online advertising and different apps and stuff. It was basically an ad agency that did half a billion ad impressions a month that were running through our network. We were used to running lean, super lean, optimized teams with no resources and no money. We just made our mistakes and those other businesses and learn how to apply everything we learned to Curricula. When we started Curricula, there was never an intention to just go follow the fundraising path. I actually felt like an outcast compared to everyone that I interacted with because we didn’t follow that path. I think it was just kind of ingrained in our mentality that we wanted to own, operate, and control every decision of what we were going to do for this company, and when we met our CPE equity at the Venture Atlanta show in Atlanta a few years back, they kind of saw it, and they said, “You guys operate like a larger organization that’s kind of like a private equity backed company.” We had everything going for us from operation, experience, responsibilities, and vision. We just didn’t have that extra padding of capital. It was a perfect fit for us. I think it really kept us in alignment. We really liked working with the team. Aureen was was one of our guys that we work with every single day and just like the business. Yes, I think following that path, that’s kind of what led us to where we landed today.

William Leonard

You are bootstrapped for some time, how did you go about choosing the right partner to help give you this small little capital injection and to get to that next step of growth? I’m sure you all were very, very particular about who you wanted to partner with but what was your thought process about, “Hey, we want to partner with somebody who is X, Y, and Z to help us get to these milestones?”

Nick Santora

I guess I was naive in the early days saying everyone loves the business, everyone wants to do this, and apparently, everyone’s getting money. All we need to do is talk to people and I think that couldn’t be further from the truth. Specifically, as I mentioned in the early days, we tried, we said we were going to do and I don’t think there would be a lot of people that would have supported that mission in this world because it’s too complex of a situation. In 2019, I did a lot of conversations. I met with well over 60 face-to-face meetings with VCs all over: big names, small names, every state, international, you name it, and just never felt good. Every meeting was frustrating on both sides, probably. I started to realize that it’s not about just spreading yourself thin and talking to everyone. It’s hyperfocus on the ones that matter and even the ones that matter still didn’t really seem to get security awareness as part of cybersecurity investment. As sad as that sounds, all of the cybersecurity VCs didn’t understand what we are doing, and it blew me away. I just don’t understand how no one really gets this industry. Meanwhile, we have a competitor that raised almost half a billion dollars in funding and was hyper-successful in growing this market, and we still couldn’t get the attention we deserve. I don’t know why to this day but what I realized is if that was when we got to the right fit of someone we were looking for that understood our mission, knew where we fit in a new niche, and had something very special to offer, when you see that ticket and when we had that meeting, and it was you know, we were so used to talking to VCs and kind of pushing them off. And then I had that push-off moment in the beginning until I realized who was talking to, and then it clicked. They were like, “Oh man, this is crazy. These people bootstrapped the company for 15 years and sold it. These are the people I want to work with.” That was how the deal got done.

William Leonard

I love that. You’re right. I mean, not everybody is going to understand your vision, your roadmap, and how you want to execute the business that’s why alignment when choosing an investor, especially in a market as we’ve seen over the last two years where capital has been in abundance is so important to be thoughtful and intentional about who you partner with. That’s a great strategy there.

Nick Santora

The naiveness and be like, “Just didn’t know how to do it.” I’ve never done that before. I’m good at a lot of things but I was not great at fundraising. I’ll just admit it. I mean, whatever I do is just not lined up with fundraising. Maybe that was part of the message to myself, don’t try if it’s not working, do something else.

William Leonard

Was there a point in the business where you felt like it was sinking or swimming without outside external funding?

Nick Santora

Several times. The airplane example, managing a bootstrap company is not for the faint of heart. Instead of achieving milestones and target metrics for a VC, you’re achieving, like, just how do you stay alive for yourself, your employees, and everyone that counts on that paycheck every single week and month? There were a couple of times where early on, I think it was like, 2017, at the end of that year, where the product was looking good and the website was just refreshed. All these things were like, where are all the companies? Why are they not falling in our laps? What we realized is that you got to get in front of people. Imagine a lemonade stand that has the best lemonade in the entire world, you’re 45 blocks off the main block, who’s gonna find you? That’s kind of how we felt. We had this awesome product that we built with no eyes. I remember a time when we were down to like less than a month of survival rate and I’ve put all of my eggs in the basket, my 401k, my last bit of everything, and we were running that ad business. I knew how to run ads really well. When LinkedIn advertising was kind of still new in its early stages, I said, “I got one more credit card with like a $20,000 limit on it.” It was the third time I went all in. We set up the ads and I was a psychopath about like how to do everything, watching every dollar, watching every single thing, and I think it was within three days or four days, we ran our ad. We had a conversion and signed up a customer. I was like, “Whoa, did we just do that?” It’s crazy.

William Leonard

Down to your last credit card, that’s crazy.

Nick Santora

I did it again and did it again and maxed out the credit card, did it again, did it again, and every single week, we were just getting a flow of leads coming in from paid advertising that we couldn’t have done any other way. That was probably the scariest one where I don’t think there would have been another choice.

William Leonard

You mentioned earlier, in that sentiment, how you have to meet these milestones and metrics when you do have a venture investor who’s invested in your business. Did you see a variance in the pace of company building meeting milestones internally versus having an investor, an external investor, kind of working with you on the pace of company building, speed up, slow down, stay the same? What was that like for you all in a team as you all tried to achieve scale?

Nick Santora

It’s like this crazy game that you’re always playing, revenue versus growth versus sustainability, and I tried to go down the growth path pretty hard. But you will realize that if you don’t raise the tens of millions of dollars to continue to go on this path, you got to focus on sustainability. I’d always lean more on that and I think that was a lesson I learned pretty hard. As hard as I pushed, we still had two sales reps. In the whole company, we didn’t have 20 sales reps trying to push this. You can only do so much with the math that you’re given, the number of leads, the price of your product, the conversion rate, and the number of reps, in fewer variable changes, how could you change the math? I struggle with that pretty hard and I think the team struggled with that because we all were just like baffled by how we got to the big numbers. When you realize that you got to just slow the pace down and you got to say no to everything. If you’re kind of in this bootstrap sustainability model and vice versa if you’re in the growth and high growth of VC-backed model, sustainability doesn’t matter. It’s more about you having to hit scale to sustain all of those employees and the dollars that you just took in the door. My mentality has kind of been on sustainability but if we were where I’m today now with Huntress and everything in between, I could see the total difference is about sustainability with a massive growth potential just a machine. It’s crazy.

William Leonard

As you said, it’s about maintaining a balance of both. I want to shift the conversation here a bit. After you all launched for free and targeted the small businesses, was that the point where you all got on the radar of potential acquirers? How does an early-stage company get on the horizon of a potential acquirer to say, “Hey, watch out for us, we’re coming.” What does that process like?

Nick Santora

Something I’ve been good at over the years is just establishing big partnerships and relationships. People kind of knew who we were but we were always kind of the small guy, right? Just like off to the corner until something newsworthy happens and that’s okay. Keep us out of the limelight. We just keep growing slowly and slowly. I think what happened was, we did this right, we announce it, and we said, we’re giving back. We’re the first ones. I think that shifted the mindset of how people looked at us because they’re like, crap, how are they doing this? I don’t know how we’re doing it. We just did it. We just figured it out. The moment that happened, I mean, literally, I think it was the next day, we had a meeting scheduled to talk about an inbound strategy. We flew out there, I think it was literally the next day. But then over those several weeks, people started to see us as like, what are we doing, why don’t we just consider buying these people? One thing I realized about any acquisition, especially at our size, is that companies like us and some others are they’re not sold, they’re bought. You don’t just set up a stand saying we’re for sale, you have to be sought, you have to be sought after, and you have to have something special about you that someone will want. There were several organizations that wanted us and we went down the list. As I was meeting with them, you could just tell I would never give you the keys to the castle here because you’d ruin it. That’s in my head. That was the first thing. I don’t want my legacy and my first giant acquisition to be based on something that I was disappointed by. That’s a good message, I think for myself and for everyone, don’t think that you can just like set up a For Sale sign and you’ll be able to sell your company. It just doesn’t work that way.

William Leonard

That’s a good point that you mentioned. You have these partners who are approaching you, probably some that you were fascinated by, some you were maybe a little bit lukewarm, and some you were just like, “No, this isn’t happening. I’m passing just like a VC would pass on me. I’m passing on this offer.” How does one go about choosing the right partner when it comes to this potential acquisition process?

Nick Santora

The big thing I learned from not only the fundraising and conversations, is what would I do differently if I had to redo that whole thing and maybe save time and frustration along the way. A big core value at Huntress and something that we believe in too is transparency. Don’t hide things if you are adamant about having something a certain way. For some reason, there’s a lot of give and take, as I could work with them and I know they’re gonna do this like that’s okay. If it’s not okay, then don’t even bother having the conversation. I did that the wrong way. I kept kind of hiding things and then we would just change and do this. What I realized is that be as transparent as humanly possible about your future, your goals, and your mission, maybe not the acquisition strategy as much because you can’t predict the future, but more about where you stand, what are your ethics, and ideals, where do you want the company to go, that’s for you to decide, not for the VC and the investor. The investor is there to support that and if they don’t agree or like what your direction is gonna be, it’s never gonna work. The way I can kind of sum that all up is we sell specifically to small and midsize businesses. We were really good at it. Awesome, actually. We kept ignoring that because I kept hearing VCs telling me to sell to enterprises, big business, that’s where you got to go to make the big dollars. It’s like, you’re right but I don’t want to do that. I hate that. I don’t want to change our entire mission, product, and feature set to support that. I want to stay here, even though we make less money. If I was more transparent about that upfront, I probably would just cut a lot of meeting short which would have been beneficial for both sides.

William Leonard

I can only imagine how those meetings would go, if you’re just like, “Hey, we’re not selling to enterprises. We’re sticking with small businesses, take it or leave it. This is our strategy. We’re locked in on it.” That’s interesting. Is there any diligence that you can recommend that a founder do if they are going through the acquisition process? Is there any type of technical diligence or personnel diligence that you would recommend they do before saying yes?

Nick Santora

All of it. We were very fortunate we were super organized from day one. I think that’s just from doing a couple of businesses before and like watching people and learning and listening. I mean, as silly as it sounds, in the early days, people do weird stuff, right? They get help from friends and people jump in or a contractor, all these different things. I think that could be a huge mistake if you don’t look at the future. I remember as silly as it was, on day one, we got a couple of early contractors and we made them all sign confidentiality agreements all down the list and all these clauses and different things. It seems crazy, right? Seems like overkill but you got to look back and like, give me every single person that touched anything in this company. We had every record, every signature, everything documented all in folders. I honestly don’t know how other companies do it when they’re not organized. If it wasn’t us, you’d flop in two seconds if you didn’t have all of these things. That is my biggest piece of advice there and that ripples across everything you do. Obviously, we have a content team, our engineering team, and we learned some lessons along the way, just stuff like how people audit your codebase down the road. They would like to see it in a certain pattern and a certain way. I cannot stress enough, just be frickin organized and obsessive about the organization because it’s going to come to bite you if you’re not.

William Leonard

What are two or three tools that Curricula use that helped you all maintain organization, really, throughout the lifecycle of the business, if you can share?

Nick Santora

Dropbox. In the early days, Dropbox was really difficult. There weren’t a lot of great tools to do storage, permissions, and security things behind that. Google Drive is trying to do stuff. It’s so clunky. We stuck with Dropbox. It was so powerful for us to be able to just quickly get up and running and do things. I’d say Dropbox was absolutely number one. Slack was relatively new at the time. We’re like, “Man, I wish there was something that was like email that wasn’t as crappy as email”. We had awesome things inside Slack. With payroll, we used the Zenefits system in the early days and kept using it until now. That was nice because that kept things organized, contractors organized, signatures, employment records, all of this stuff. GitHub, obviously, some of the other mandatory tools, a password manager, those were our core, just like keeping in rhythm.

William Leonard

Nice. I love it, man. Before we leave this acquisition topic, was there anything I missed in asking you like what should a founder knows about this process that maybe we haven’t talked about yet? Any insight that you can share that would be incredibly relevant?

Nick Santora

I’ll share it from my perspective about this whole thing because I think it is important to hear another perspective not to chase another round of funding mentality. I think it’s important to hear the context of why we landed where we landed. When we did our Series A, it was the same thing. We’re doing great but we just need a little extra padding to get us through there, not giant padding but just enough to kind of get us through this next stage. What we saw right after the launch of the free was just this overwhelming response. Holy moly, this is crazy. The amount to keep up so we talked about this, what do we want to do? Do we want to keep going as is so just stay slow and stressed basically the whole time? Do we want to go raise a VC round big and go crazy with this thing? Or do we want to do some kind of in-between like a growth equity kind of thing again, like another smaller one? The growth equity people were kind of interesting because I think we were still like in a weird part of their strike zone to make any mathematical sense of it. What frustrated me was, if you’re off by $1, if their criteria are you must have 3 million and you’re at $2,999,999, they’re literally just saying, “I can’t work with you.” That just blows my mind. That seems crazy to me but that’s the way the world works. We looked at a couple of these different options. Alright, we will get into the strike zones and we’ll make this next path available for us. What I didn’t consider was as part of a strategic acquisition, for that to be your next round, for that to be the next stage of the business. I don’t think founders think enough about that because I didn’t. What happened was, that you always think of an exit as the end. I think it’s over, I leave, I don’t do anything like I’m gone. My legacy dies with it or something like that. That made me really sad because as I was having some of these meetings with some strategics, I think that was the future, that the product kind of would have died with me. I couldn’t let our customers, our partners down, and myself down to think that that would be the end of all of this. I think one thing that I consider was that when we met with the Huntress team and a couple of others that had some good strategies, I hyperfocused on the Huntress team because it felt like I met myself in an alternate universe talking to their CEO, Kyle, and their CTO, Chris, felt like me talking to myself. It was bizarre but very similar to ideals, values, and principles. What ultimately led us to that decision was that we knew that Curricula wasn’t going to die. It was going to be put into the right home for the rest of its life with the right team, with the right ideals, ethics, and values that we believed in. That’s not easy to do, right? I’m not saying everyone can do this but when I realized that there’s a path out there that other founders need to look at that instead of battling the battle by themselves with VCs, consider opening your eyes and looking at what other partners may be out there where you can fight the fight together as a complementary division where Curricula is now a division under Huntress versus us running parallel and trying to solve the same problems on our own. If you open your eyes to that and at least think about it and consider it, there may be other routes and opportunities available that could let you have a piece of the future, let your product live on, and give you the resources to do what you’re really good at and why you started the business, rather than just focusing on everything to run a small business.

William Leonard

It sounds like some of the thoughts that went through your head, and correct me if I’m wrong, is how can I collaborate with an incumbent instead of competing for head-on with an incumbent? How will that manifest and grow my business? Is that along the thought path or trajectory that you all thought about?

Nick Santora

For the most part, I wasn’t even looking at our competitors or anyone that we lined up against. I was looking at everyone else that wanted to tie into this industry that had ancillary products and services, right? That’s what really struck me. You don’t need to go after a competitor because you know what, a lot of them, especially in our industry aren’t really other sketchy. You’re just gonna give them info and they’re gonna demolish you. Instead of doing that, we looked at everyone else. We found such a good alignment between this complementary product and cybersecurity product to help detect when a bad thing is on your network. Here we are helping prevent those bad things from even coming in the first place. Combined, we’re doing what either neither of us could do by ourselves. That’s the way I really thought about the whole landscape of who to talk to and why you’re talking to him.

William Leonard

I love that. As we round out the conversation here, Nick, you’ve just gone through this acquisition, what’s next for you and the team?

Nick Santora

A big part and I had to get ahead of this, is that we’re staying on board. This is part of my baby that is going to turn into something I never dreamed it could have turned into. The whole team is with it. All the founders are staying on for at least a few years to build the strategy, build the vision, build the integration together with this bigger mission and eventually get to this point where although we started it, it can live without us. That is my goal for these next several years, to establish that kind of mentality that there’s a core mission of what Curricula is built for, why it was built, and who it supports. If I can instill what’s in my head and the founders’ head out into an ethos that can live on forever under a new brand and organization, then I’ll feel successful. I’m not going anywhere. I’m gonna just do what I’ve been doing, but hyper-focused on the things that really matter, like building the product, building the training, and building our community even stronger. It’s my favorite thing, I love doing that stuff. I don’t love doing payroll, HR, and taxes, I just don’t love it. Sorry, but it’s something that as a CEO, it comes back on your plate. Now that those are off my plate, I can go back and focus on this. I’m excited to see what the future holds for the Huntress-Curricula combined mission here and then after that, the sky’s the limit. I think my perspective on the future not only has changed, but it’s available. I will be in the community doing this stuff forever, you’ll never see me retire ever till I’m 100+ years old, and I’ll still probably be involved in some crazy amount of stuff.

William Leonard

I love it. I love the energy. You’re right! The sky’s the limit. I’m excited to see what this partnership brings as well. I’ve absolutely loved this conversation from hearing about the early pivots of Curricula, hearing your perspective, and the gutsy approach to launching this platform for free, the strategy to bootstrapping the first five years of the business all the way to how you all chose the right partner to help exit and go on to the next phase of growth for this product. I’m excited that this was another exit for the Atlanta startup ecosystem. I think I’m excited to see you around, man. I know you’re not going anywhere. You’re gonna be boots on the ground, building, paying it forward, and connecting. I’m excited about that, Nick, and really appreciate you joining me here today, man.

Nick Santora

Awesome. Thanks for having me. I agree. It’s a win for Atlanta. It’s a win for the small guys. They don’t get enough attention out there. This is one story that I think should be shared.

William Leonard

It’ll definitely be shared. Nick, thank you again for joining me, man. Cheers!

Lisa

We’re thrilled to have you as an Atlanta Startup Podcast listener to help you get the most out of the experience. Let me invite you to three insider opportunities from our host Valor Ventures. First, want to be a guest on this amazing show. Reach out to our booking team at atlantastartuppodcast.com. Click on booking, It’s a no-brainer from there. Are you raising a seed round? Valor definitely wants to hear from you. Share your startup story at valor.vc/pitch. Are you a woman or minority-led startup valor sister program? The Startup Runway Foundation gives away grants to promising startups led by underrepresented founders. The mission of the Startup Runway Foundation is connecting underrepresented founders to their first investors. Startup runway finalists have raised over $40 million. See if you qualify for one of these amazing grants at startuprunway.org. You can also sign up for our next showcase for free there. Let me let you go today with a shout-out to Startup Runway presenting sponsor Cox Enterprises and to our founding partners, American Family Institute, Truist, Georgia Power, Avanta Ventures, and Innovators Legal. These great organizations make Startup Runway possible. Thanks for listening today and see you back next week.