Today on The Legalpreneur, I am excited to announce our long-awaited interview with George Ploss, the Global Director of the NetSuite Accelerator Program. Oracle recruited George through the diversity hiring initiative that targeted Veterans. He was brought on as a solutions consultant and quickly became the Senior Program Manager at Oracle in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Veterans. George’s commitment to inclusivity led him to his current position in the NetSuite Accelerator, where he helps minority-owned companies like The Legalpreneur grow and expand their potential.
NetSuite is more than a financial planning app, it goes beyond the abilities of QuickBooks. George demonstrates how this unique platform is helping small businesses access enterprise resource planning. In the NetSuite Accelerator, George helps shape founders into leaders to attract venture capitalists so they can get access to the funding they need to revolutionize their industry.
We reminisce about The Legalpreneur’s deal day. George explains how he helped The Legalpreneur master our financials and our pitch before we spoke to any VCs. The NetSuite Accelerator is a game changer for small businesses. If you want to learn more about the world of start-ups, venture capitalists, and the future of accelerators, listen now!
[1:00] George’s start at Oracle
[3:00] Helping startups grow and succeed
[4:00] What is the capacity of Netsuite
[12:00] The Legalpreneur Deal day
[15:00] Investing in the growth of each startup
[17:30] Merging mission-oriented work with profit
[23:00] The flexibility of Netsuite
[25:00] What defines a true startup
[27:30] The Netsuite accelerator
[29:30] Never lose sight of your entrepreneurial passion
To learn more about George, click the link below:
The Legalpreneur Podcast is advertising/marketing material. It is not legal advice. Please consult with your attorney on these topics. Copyright Legalpreneur Inc 2022
Andrea Sager 00:03
Welcome to the Legalpreneur podcast. I’m your host Andrea Sager founder and CEO of Legalpreneur Inc. As a serial entrepreneur and someone that works exclusively with small business owners legally protecting their business. I’m dedicated to covering common legal issues faced by business owners, providing you with the business knowledge you need to catapult your business’s growth and showing you just how some of the world’s most elite entrepreneurs have handled these legal and business issues themselves. In true attorney fashion, the information in this episode is not legal advice. This is for informational purposes only. And you should always consult with your attorney before implementing any of the information in the show.
Andrea Sager 00:47
Hello there, welcome back to the show. I am so excited for today’s guest. I’ve been teasing this for some time now, for the past couple of months. You’ve heard me talk about on the podcast, how me and Caleb and doing this accelerator. We’re always in Austin. And I’ve mentioned a couple of times, George, the gentleman that runs it. And I’m excited to finally have him on the show. We’ve been talking about this for a while. And we’re finally here in Austin at the Oracle headquarters recording, I’m really excited to actually be recording in the Oracle headquarters I go kind of special. It’s all fancy in here, not my normal setup. So George, thank you so much for joining me. I’m so excited. I know the audience is really excited for this. They’ve been waiting to hear from you. So thank you for joining us. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it. Well, thanks for being here. What I usually like to do to start the show is have you introduce yourself, like tell us how you got started. We know you’re not really an entrepreneur, more of an intrapreneur. But I think you have a great journey that the audience would love to hear about. So please tell us how you got to where you are today.
George Ploss 01:52
Sure. Like you said, I’m an intrapreneur. I’m George plus, I am the co director of the Oracle NetSuite accelerator. I started at Oracle back in 2015. As you know, I’m a Marine, served in the Marine Corps for nine years. And in 2015, Oracle had a hiring program for veterans to become solution consultants or solution engineers to terms that are interchangeable in the market. So they hired 33 veterans, and we were sent to then it work was headquarters in Redwood Shores. In California, it’s learning how to do our jobs, how to become solution engineers. And it was a really fantastic program made some really wonderful friends, many of whom are still here at Oracle. And if it wasn’t for diversity hiring program initiative, focused on hiring veterans, I wouldn’t be here today. But you know, taking techniques step back from the Southside of Chicago, Chatham in Hyde Park, Bulls fan and a Sox fan, not a Cubs fan. Those North siders Go ahead.
George Ploss 02:55
And undergrad University Illinois Business School University Illinois, you know, worked with a lot of different companies previous to Oracle, and a core theme of that was always and analyzing and helping companies grow. So, you know, I cut my teeth as a derivative as a commodities analyst on Wall Street. Prior to this, I’ve lived you all around the world. And now I created a program that was launched a little bit over a year ago. And we have some really, really wonderful startups in the program, such as a Legalpreneur. And we met at Capital factories Latinx and Tech Summit last summer, the summer before last was last summer yet late last summer. Capital Factory has been a huge launch partner for ours. So yeah, I think I have the best job in the world. I I get to align and devote resources towards helping startups like yours, grow and succeed. So yeah, I love it. And I appreciate you and your mission of helping underrepresented minorities veterans I don’t. Missions are very similarly aligned. And one thing that I want to get into because I want to touch on NetSuite, the accelerator startups in general. But first touching on NetSuite, what is NetSuite because this was my question. Last year when we met you and Emily, were talking about the accelerator and I knew that we legal partner wanted to do an accelerator. And you mentioned NetSuite and
Andrea Sager 04:22
NetSuite so please tell audience, what is NetSuite? Sure
George Ploss 04:25
so NetSuite is an application, and it’s a particular type of application called an ERP. So enterprise resource planning, and NetSuite was the first cloud company that was launched as net ledger next 98. And our CEO and founder, Evan Goldberg. And Oracle has hundreds of products and services that it offers to a wide range and wide variety of, of companies. Many of those companies are very, very large. But there’s one ERP in one application or portfolio that’s particularly built to help small to mid sized even larger companies. And that’s NetSuite We’ve got 33,000 customers 70% of all tech IPOs since 2011 IPO on NetSuite, and I am a proud user of NetSuite, and I get to evangelize it. Well, I put NetSuite in the hands of founders like yours, along with other entitlements along with the accelerator that come along with it to help you grow.
Andrea Sager 05:18
So for those listening, they’re like, that sounds great. How exactly does NetSuite help small businesses for a small business that maybe bring in maybe half a million to a million? What exactly can NetSuite help them do? Because the way it was explained to me was it’s QuickBooks on fire? Or QuickBooks times a million? Yeah. So coming from that realm, like what are like what are the capacities of NetSuite?
George Ploss 05:41
Yeah, so at its core, NetSuite is a financials platform, General Ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, but as an ERP is also a CRM, also manage inventory, purchase orders, purchase requisitions, you know, when you think of an ERP, ERP, and you think of, you know, the enterprise of a business, and you think of all the veins of everything that comes in the business, you know, when it comes to procurement, when it comes to reselling products, you know, and doors and services and building like services, whether, you know, whether you’re building like tangible physical goods in the CPG space, or whether you’re a tech company, you know, that’s what NetSuite does, you know, for customers and like, so that, you know, there are other programs that are out there that we call point solutions that handle one particular function of the business. NetSuite in its entirety can handle every aspect of your business and can plug in, you know, to over 10,000, Suite apps that are out there, this would have set her out there to extend our functionality. So when you think of, you know, if you’re, if you’re bogged down in spreadsheets, or if you’re if you’re cutting checks manually, and you’re processing, yeah, think about, you know, having the military, right, and the military we had as one was section one or S one, which is administration, you know, like HR onboarding, onboarding, right, as to which is intelligence, you know, which is marketing. But the, the European itself is in the ends, and can handle everything, right? So like your journey off of QuickBooks on to NetSuite was a next step and like the evolution of Legalpreneur, because now you have, you know, now you have the tools and the capacity to expand and everything that you
Andrea Sager 07:09
- Yeah, and well, we really like it for right now, obviously, is our financials, but turning it into a CRM using that as a CRM, because now it’s not just the small businesses that we’re working with and onboarding, we’re also onboarding attorneys. So managing both sides of that for Legalpreneur has been incredible in helping us stay organized. Number one, say that gives me
George Ploss 07:31
that makes me feel really good. Like, gives me a little it gives me a warm and fuzzy.
Andrea Sager 07:35
So so. Okay, so who is NetSuite for what type of businesses what size?
George Ploss 07:41
Yes, and that’s what it is anyone that realizes that like, Alright, I am working at capacity in spreadsheets, I’m working at capacity with these point solutions. And I need to take my business to the next level. And, you know, I need to grow and I need to scale, okay? And that’s what an ERP is for. And that’s why NetSuite is the world’s leading ERP. And doing that, especially for businesses are transitioning off of those point solutions, businesses like yours. Yeah. You know, saw the accelerator but also saw NetSuite, you know, as a path towards growth.
Andrea Sager 08:12
Yeah. And I think that’s really where we were internally at legal prayer. We were at capacity with spreadsheets, we had like millions of spreadsheets everywhere. And it honestly it was Kalish was like Andrew, we cannot have another spreadsheet, like there’s too many spreadsheets. And we had no idea that it was NetSuite that we needed. We didn’t know what we needed. We just knew like, this can’t be a thing. There has to be something that businesses use, like we know, they don’t just run off of spreadsheets, and then y’all came into the picture. We’re like, this is perfect. So we decided to sign up for NetSuite and join the accelerator. So can you please give an overview of what exactly an accelerator is, and specifically, the NetSuite accelerator?
George Ploss 08:58
So an accelerator is a program any? Yeah, there are different types of accelerators, but accelerators really a program where an entity comes in. And it aligns itself with a business or group of businesses, you know, for a defined period of time and help accelerate either like a particular vein or leg of its business or the entirety of his business. So for example, as soon as you’re alive on NetSuite, you know, we benchmark you. And then, you know, at the end of the accelerator, we benchmark we benchmark you there also because we want to see how the accelerators helped you grow. So NetSuite accelerator is a different type of accelerator and a lot of corporate accelerators are out there. We don’t dilute your cap table. We don’t take any equity and how, which is the typical payment model for an accelerator. So what we do is we partner up with organizations like Capital Factory we came through, or like, you know, the veteran funds, vets in tech diving organizations like you know, we’re our partner, silicon Hills capital, and we offer preferred pricing Through specifically for the accelerator. So then we have preferred pricing. So you come towards NetSuite with as a partner, and then after we put NetSuite in your hands, we put our entitlements around you. So you get free office space nationwide, at any NetSuite hub, you get to mentor, an executive and an operational mentor. We’re so aligning your mentors and you get free learning Cloud Support and functional tools that not just help you use NetSuite, but help you use NetSuite, specifically in solving your business cases on our platform, and then you get access towards our networks. So do you remember last February, our venture capitalist today? Yeah, do you want to tell your audience what that was?
Andrea Sager 10:40
So the deal day, basically, Kayla, and I came to Austin, and we were preparing to meet with investors and we had a pitch ready, and which was great, because it was investors that we normally wouldn’t have an opportunity to meet with except for this deal day. So basically, you all had a list of investors that come to these deal days, and you align them with the best fit that you think is best fit into the accelerator, the startups, and we meet, and hopefully, it’s an alignment for both parties. And then the VCs invest in the companies. Yeah, then. So that thing.
George Ploss 11:14
So just being who we are, we have extensive partnerships with a lot of VC firms, you know, across the world. And we were aligning their thesis with who in our portfolio met, like, met the constraints or the parameters of their thesis to invest it. And so as part of our promise in the accelerator, we wanted to make sure that we put you in front of them, and we’re ready to pitch. But then also, let’s talk about what you did two weeks prior, before you were pitching.
Andrea Sager 11:43
Oh, yes. That was great. So in January, whoever could come like that’s part of the accelerator came to Austin or did it virtually. We had an executive pitch events or communications work. Yeah, executive communications workshop, which was incredible. Like after that I was like, this is this just made the whole thing worth it. And because I hadn’t I’ve never had any type of professional communication training other than like, speech in college. And Kevin Galloway, who you said, he trains every employee by the end of it, yeah. Yeah, trains every employee that comes through work or just NetSuite
George Ploss 12:23
right now, just NetSuite trains every
Andrea Sager 12:25
NetSuite employee as they are hired on. And we had two days with him, which was hands down incredible, very, very just beneficial, learning how to pitch how to even craft our pitch and taking questions. And that ended up itself made the whole accelerator worth it pretty much. But that was a huge benefit that I know helped me two weeks later at the deal day.
George Ploss 12:53
So those like to God that executive communication sessions, program, and sessions that we have built out for, you know, the coming calendar year. And those are things that are designed not just to help you grow on the platform, but also help you grow as leaders, like in the markets that you represent, right, and in the spaces that you represent. Because we’re aligning all of our self interests with each other. We know that the better you do, the better legal renewer does, the better the market does, the better NetSuite does. And that’s not something that we want to shy away from. And so the accelerator is an investment. And it’s how we invest in the growth of minority owned women. No, it’s founders who identify as LGBTQ plus indigenous immigrant owned businesses to grow, you know, because there aren’t a lot of, you know, you look at the numbers, you know, we talk about them all the time, you know, the amount of funding, you know, in 2021, went out to women founders was 4% or less, and it dropped in 22. Out of the plus 650 700 billion that went out, and VC investment. And, you know, that’s a lost opportunity, you know, because if we look at communities, it’s markets and the value and the innovation and creativity that each and every community, you know, has a rich history of, there’s no reason why we can’t, why the rising tide can lift all boats. Yeah,
Andrea Sager 14:19
I love that. And I want to take a moment to brag on you for a second. And I know you don’t like to brag or anything, but I need you to take a moment because this accelerator started a year ago, a little over a year ago, because of you. You started it. So please talk to us and tell us how this came about. I know we’ve talked about this a little bit, but I want you to take a moment to help the audience understand even if they are an entrepreneur and they have this new idea or they’re currently at a nine to five, maybe they have a side hustle and they have this idea that maybe they want to take to their company and like you did it and that’s not easy to you know, get the courage to go to your boss or whoever figure out who to even go to. So talk to us about how this came about in your head? And how you went up the chain of command to make it happen?
George Ploss 15:09
Well, you know, I, you know, I think I said to you once or twice, I’m a Marie, right. And I always want to be of service. And, you know, being a Marine in a mission driven organization, or working, you know, in a social impact space in a mission driven organization, those are really wonderful areas to be in they, they bring a lot of personal fulfillment. And, you know, but there’s a reason why those spaces exist separately from like, profit driven organizations. And so I was always, always trying to figure out how to merge mission driven, mission oriented work with profit driven work. You know, we talked about climate change. And we talk about economic incentives to mitigate the effects of climate change, because because those economic incentives help incentivize large sections of our populace to move towards a better outcome. It’s no different than the accelerator, we we need to incentivize. And we need to figure out ways to be creative, and enabling and cultivating the growth of all the markets that we occupy that we exist in, that we purchase from, and so the accelerator was born out of that. So thank you for that. So I came up with the idea. And I came up with the idea for it, and I did some cocktail napkin, math, and, you know, a business plan. And thankfully, I, I work for a really wonderful organization where all my leaders have supported, like, at our they’ve supported innovation and creativity, you know, but then also, I’ve, I’ve had the benefit of being the Mincy of a lot of leaders in your organization who have a lot of access to, you know, the senior vice presidents and global vice presidents, the executive vice presidents who I can just put time on their calendars, no questions asked. So I came up the idea for it, I put time on. Whenever I leaders counters, my name is Julie Dremel out of Chicago, and said, Hey, is this a good idea? She says, Absolutely, you should pursue it. Here’s what you need to talk to. Okay, give me a list of people on that list, was my current boss raka bola, who is our VP of Field Marketing here at NetSuite. And they all gave their input, they gave me some feedback, I implemented that feedback. And it was like playing a video game, right. I just kept leveling up and leveling up and leveling up and leveling up. And then I refined it further defined the scope. And then I spoke with our Executive Vice President and Founder, Evan Cooper. And he loved the idea. And then we launched last February. And I, it was, it was a dream come true. It was incredibly fulfilling, and like having, you know, like, having the kids see me, like, work late at night trying to figure out like, Does this make sense? That makes sense. And then now, you know, they get a chance to see businesses like yours, you know, the fact that my daughter gets to see you. And what did you do? It means so much to me, as I’m getting goosebumps right now. Because of like, it further enables me empowers me, but also makes me more reverent of the fact that I get to be in the audience in the presence of someone like us such a leader like you, you saw your dream, sorry, passion. So product market fit, and you’re like, I’m gonna go for it. So is that too long of an answer?
Andrea Sager 18:18
That was great. That was great. But my my one quick question is, when did you first get the idea? And when did it get approved?
George Ploss 18:26
I got the idea in August 2023. Warren 20. Got the idea in August 2021. And I got approved in December of 2021. And that we launched in February of 2022.
Andrea Sager 18:41
That’s that’s a pretty quick timeline that is pretty quick, especially for corporate.
George Ploss 18:45
Well, so NetSuite. NetSuite was a startup, right? And in many ways, we operate like a startup. Yeah, we can adjust to the market, we can adjust to changing conditions. And we thankfully, you know, our leadership saw this as an opportunity that we can move quickly on, and we were nimble enough. And we are nimble enough in order to do things like that. So
Andrea Sager 19:10
yeah, I mean, I think it’s great. And I feel like even if you’re not officially an entrepreneur, you’re definitely an intrapreneur. Because it very much what you’re doing is a startup within a startup. And you’re how you said you’d like to be at the forefront, you basically get your hands on a lot of different startups. And that’s honestly what I love about my position because we work with so many different businesses, so many different types of businesses. And I get, I get a little taste of everything, and I don’t have to get too deep into it. And it’s like, that’s fun. That’s fun, but I’m glad I’m not running that business. But you get a taste of it. Yeah.
George Ploss 19:46
And you know, I love that aspect of it. So yeah, I work across so many different sectors when I worked in investment banking and and across many different sectors like here at Oracle, right? And then across so many different sectors at Oracle, NetSuite and One of the things I love about the portfolio of all the companies inside the accelerators that you look at just how powerful NetSuite is right? Because, you know, we, you know, we have Legalpreneur, we’ve got the guilty grape, right? You know, so like two very different companies. One’s a wine startup, right. And then here here we are as a, you know, as illegal startup and a platform to bring advice, and lawyer ship and stewardship to entrepreneurs as they grow. And also to connect them with other attorneys who are qualified on your platform. They go into both the marketplace, you know, and it’s also like a really, it’s both a marketplace and a place for entrepreneurs to go in, I need legal advice. So but think of how vast, you know, the chasm is between the two types of businesses. But NetSuite works for both of you. Right? So, you know, whether you’re a CPG firm, whether your products firm, you know, whether you’re a tech firm, whether you’re a FinTech firm, you know, and so, I love how diverse not just from a founder perspective, but from a from a business perspective, our portfolio is, you know, because it really shows the market, just how powerful we are, and what the type of value that we can bring towards everyone.
Andrea Sager 21:09
Yeah. And next, I want to shift into startups in general. And then startups, specifically for NetSuite. So, a lot of the audience, they’re either very early stage startups or small businesses. So what exactly, in your opinion, defines a startup? Because I think there’s a lot of different definitions, I think everybody has a different definition. But in your opinion, what is the definition of a true startup?
George Ploss 21:35
That’s a tough question. So yeah, like, you can go the classic definition of like, the different series of startups, you know, friends and families, you know, precede seed A, B, C, down the alphabet. So what defines a startup? For me, an organization that is lean is driven, is innovative, and is at a particular size. Right? So because the fact you know, by nature, if it was calling a startup, you know, they’re under a certain margin or cap of, of revenue,
Andrea Sager 22:06
specifically for NetSuite, when you’re bringing in startups, because I think, I don’t know if NetSuite is on a rolling basis bring in startups for the accelerator. So what exactly are you and the team looking for when bringing on new startups? Well,
George Ploss 22:21
I saw startups come, you know, that’s, that’s why we lean so hard on our partnerships. So that’s why so you know, with organizations that, that we’ve come across, like Capital Factory, you know, really believes and the mission of the NetSuite accelerator, debunk, you know, short for diversity inclusion, right. Yeah, they’re their mission is to make the playing field more equal and have and give entrepreneurs more access towards gives our viewers are more access towards all the assets and resources that are available out there for growth, and ECL ventures, their impact VC firm focused on blood next diaspora and funding founders. Yeah, that identify as coming from such communities, right? And so we partner with organizations like those and lean on their due diligence to bring their organizations into NetSuite. So if you go to netsuite.com/accelerator, will include the link in the show notes. But also, if you’re a founder out there, and your portfolio company, we’re at any stage, whether it’s, you know, precede C, or we’ve got angel investing from accredited investors, like those, we lean on their due diligence, and then we lean on their mission to extend our mission. Right. And so that’s, those are some of the parameters around the accelerator itself.
Andrea Sager 23:35
Well, George, this has been a lot of fun, very informative. But before I let you go, I have to ask you the same question that I asked every guest on the show. Okay, what is your number one piece of business?
George Ploss 23:47
Oh, I thought you’re gonna ask. So my son is always like, Would you rather be for every dragon? Or would you rather be a blue whale that can like travel, like through space? Once you’re using blue whale that can travel and a dimensionally through space? Obviously, fiber, the dragon is cool and all but like I’m limited to the planet or
Andrea Sager 24:05
choose to have a good answer.
George Ploss 24:07
So the one piece of advice, I worked in retail, when I was in high school, I worked at Starbucks and I worked at Joseph and clothiers and I really loved I really enjoyed. This is gonna sound so cheesy, but like, I genuinely I’ve legitimately and shown it, like, helping someone write. My one piece of advice is to whatever you’re doing as an entrepreneur, remember that you started it. Because you there’s, there’s something about in which you genuinely enjoy doing and you genuinely enjoy delivering value to your customer customers. And so never lose sight of that, because that’s always going to nourish you. And that’s what I think what makes the innovation economy so fantastic. Because you see a problem you See a solution? And then you provide value. And that in that value, like you feed off of that, you know, like, how many entrepreneurs have you helped? 1000s. Right, right. And like how many I’m sure you get, like letters or people coming up to you, like, thank you so much. You know, I didn’t even know that was a problem, or that was a gap. And then because of that, I can now do this and how that makes you feel good, right? Yeah. Yeah. Right. And so then again, it gives you the like, you know, well tingly feeling. Yeah. Yeah. And so I, I love doing that on a tactical level on a one to one level, but also at scale. It’s so incredibly nourishing. So as an entrepreneur, please don’t lose sight of that. And please hold on to that.
Andrea Sager 25:43
George, thank you so much, again, for coming on the show. For those of you listening, make sure to check out the show notes. Check out NetSuite. It really is something to truly help you grow and scale your company and the accelerator if you are truly going into startup mode. If you’re in startup mode, the accelerator is something you need to explore. I can’t tell you how much the Accelerator has already helped us and we’re not even halfway through the year. So check both of those out and make sure to tag us on social media tag at NetSuite, I believe will printer and I’ll see you next time. Here at Legalpreneur, we’re committed to providing a supportive legal community for all business owners. I know how scary the legal stuff can be. If you found this information helpful, I would be so grateful if you could share it with a fellow business owner. And quite frankly, it doesn’t cost anything to rate review or subscribe to the show. Your support helps me reach more listeners, which allows me to support more business owners in their entrepreneurial journey. Have any questions or comments about the show? Feel free to drop me a line on Instagram. I promise I read all of the messages and comments. And if you want to be a guest on the show or know someone that would make a great guest simply fill out our application form and a team member will reach out if we think it’s a good fit. I’ll see you in the next episode.