A newsletter for entrepreneurs and business leaders featuring stories and advice from company founders, industry disrupters, and innovators.

Since announcing Phoenix3 Holdings, I’ve been getting a lot of questions

about what we look for in a potential portfolio company. I want to dive into that criteria and share some insight about the types of partnerships we form at Phoenix3 Holdings.

In this week's interview, I speak with Michael Klong of Infuse Hospitality. Michael is an investor, a founder & CEO, and long-time friend. We talk about entrepreneurship, decision-making, and scaling for success.

I'd also like to share that I will be attending the Leading Age Conference in Chicago this November. To find out more, read below.

Phoenix3 Holdings is a group of business builders, CEOs, and strategic operators who thrive on entrepreneurship, innovation, and creating cultures of excellence at the companies they lead. 

We bring 100+ years of experience streamlining operations, uncovering and maximizing growth opportunities, and expanding strategically while helming best-in-class companies operating nationwide. 

Partnering with Phoenix3 Holdings

We want to work with leaders who have a founder’s mindset - who live and breathe their company mission and values. These leaders are dissatisfied with doing things the way they’ve always been done, and have a vision for their company that encompasses changing a fundamental part of how we live our lives or do business. They are ready to make big strides to take their company to the next level. 

Our approach is hands-on, providing not only growth capital and insight but access to networks of industry leaders, partners, and our portfolio company community. Our goal is to gift the leaders of our portfolio companies the type of foresight you can derive from inveterate, deep knowledge of an industry. As partners, we provide tailored support and rich guidance that can help an organization expand rapidly, sustain their growth, and experience long-term success.

Porfolio Companies

Our partners are smart, forward-thinking leaders who lead by example, grounding their vision in a desire to make a game-changing difference in the lives of their clients and employees. We invest in like-minded leaders who believe in the power of their people and the value of culture and innovation.

Our portfolio companies are growing rapidly and ready to expand further into untapped white space in lifestyle or distributive services with a focus in Senior Living, Healthcare and Corporate services.

These companies generally have: 

• $10M+ in revenue

• 25% YOY Growth 

• Durable Margins EBITDA 

• Clear path to EBITDA breakeven/positive

• Diverse customer base

• Strong Retention 

• Capital Efficient

Equally important to us are shared values. We partner with leaders who are committed to improving the quality of life for their employees, shareholders, clients and communities. We value respect, equality, innovation, and collaboration, and our partners helm companies that are steered by these same principles.

"You want your folks and your team to always be thinking about what’s interesting, unique, and getting excited about what the company’s doing.

I think that's what differentiates Infuse in many ways. The success stories for us have come out of a shift and pivot back to a focus on and a culture driving innovation of entrepreneurs who are looking to create authentic experiences for our customers and clients."

- Michael Klong

Q&A with Michael Klong Board Member, Infuse Hospitality

Tell us about your background - how you got started and how you met Richard.

My background is in coffee and tea - I built a company that we eventually sold and exited to Compass Group called Tradecraft Outfitters. 

Tradecraft was the first of its kind craft coffee and tea distribution and service company. We partnered with all of the best, up-and-coming specialty coffee and tea brands and helped them scale their businesses to distribute and sell into the offices, restaurants, hotels, cafes, contract food service operators of the world.

I also ran other companies in the cafe & restaurant space; one of those is Infuse Hospitality. About three years ago, we asked Richard to join the board of Infuse. It has been great having him as part of the leadership group to help grow and scale the business.

“He’s a good friend and also obviously a partner.” 

I first met Richard at Compass Group. We both sold our companies to Compass and stayed on as the CEOs of the respective businesses that we ran.

We hit it off right off the bat. His entrepreneurial spirit, how he thought about his business and grew it, and how I did with mine - we had a whole lot in common from the onset.

There's a lot there to unpack in terms of what Richard brings to the table in particular to Infuse Hospitality.

You can't ignore the success, you can't ignore the experience that he brings to the table. And his background in food service is broad and vast. In particular, at Infuse hospitality, it's that entrepreneurial spirit and understanding of what it takes to bring a company from startup to the small and mid-size business, to scale up to a hundred million dollar plus business.

So I think it really is that, and whether it's finance, whether it's HR, whether it's marketing, whether it's business development, Richard has intimately played a role in all of those facets within the business that he has grown.

What is it like partnering with Phoenix3?

I love what Richard's doing with Phoenix3 Holdings. There aren't enough successful operator-led family office venture capital companies that are focused on what made the company successful in the first place.

The concept of being focused on delivering and growing results for companies with the expertise of an operator like Richard and the financial wherewithal and dollars behind it is a unique combination. I think Phoenix3 has an advantage in the marketplace for sure.

Many entrepreneurs and CEOs can get a little over their skis and they bring in a bunch of capital to the business and just spend and spend, even though it's not the right spending for the right size that they are. The fiscal responsibility that he brings is key. You have to know how to successfully scale and bring in the right resources at the right time. 

Would you say that's something that you can only get from years of experience - to be able to pick up on those inflection points and make smart decisions?

I think so. I'm an investor, and also operated my own company and ran it for a number of years. You're on the phone frequently with financial folks in the private equity venture capital space that are talking about the numbers, going through hypotheticals. But having the ability to look at some of the numbers and say, “This makes all the sense in the world", or "This is a little aggressive" only comes with experience.

When you’ve been through it you have a wealth of knowledge of how to operate these kinds of businesses. That’s why someone like Richard is so valuable and in high demand. He possesses that knowledge that everyone wants to unlock.

I will be attending Leading Age in Chicago.

Joe Cuticelli, Chief Operating Officer for Phoenix3 Holdings, will also be in attendance.

If you are going to Leading Age and would like to meet with us to find out more about how Phoenix3 can help accelerate your company's growth with operational resources and expertise along with capital please reach out to us to set up an appointment or time to talk.

We would love to connect with you and tell you more about who we are and who we invest in and our plans to change the industry.

Richard Schenkel

CEO, Founder and Managing Director

Phoenix3 Holdings


Joe Cuticelli

Partner and Chief Operating Officer

Phoenix3 Holdings


Next Time

We are accelerating fast!

There has been a lot of movement and growth over the past few weeks. In the next newsletter, we plan to make some big announcements, introduce new team members and share some of the latest developments. Stay tuned.

Contact Richard






Thanks to writer and marketer Val Urso for newsletter content curation and design.

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