Click the arrow above to hear St. Pete Catalyst publisher Joe Hamilton’s interview with Jack Berlin.
Jack Berlin, founder and CEO of Tampa software firm Accusoft, fell in love with digital imaging long before it was mainstream.
In 1991, he founded Pegasus Imaging Corp. – the first name for the company that is now Accusoft – and grew it though several pivots, which Berlin said is just another way of saying “the plan failed, do something else.”
“You always have to reinvent yourself because the tech world moves at light speed,” Berlin said.
Now, the 28-year-old company is a leader in the document and imaging industry and has grown through a steady stream of acquisitions. Berlin accepted money from a venture capital firm in the 1990s in a deal that eventually led to a spinoff of Transflo, a Tampa company with software for the transportation industry.
Today Accusoft is debt-free with no outside investors. Berlin said he learned several lessons along the way.
• Businesses that are started because of a passion should not let that passion blind them to the need for capital and an understanding of the market.
• Before a founder accepts outside money, the founder should know what they will do with the money and spend it wisely.
• A founder should not try to take on all roles, but should hire people who can handle sales, accounting, technical support and other jobs in order for the company to grow.
Finding tech talent is the top problem facing Accusoft as well as other Tampa-St. Pete technology companies. Berlin is a founding member of the Tampa Bay Tech Software CEOs, part of the Tampa Bay Tech organization. The group’s goal is to promote the innovative companies in the Tampa-St. Pete area, which remains siloed, in Berlin’s view.
“We need more regionalization, especially if we want to be a high-tech community,” he said.
In this long form interview, Berlin talks about the mistakes he made and the lessons he learned in building Accusoft, and offers suggestions for growing the tech industry in Tampa-St. Pete.
Click the arrow above to listen.