John Venzon, CEO of Zennergy, which is a GrowFL 2017 Florida Companies to Watch honoree, drew on a wealth of diverse experience to grow and lead Zennergy from startup to a thriving stage two company.
He graduated college with an engineering degree and started working at IBM. But he “… quickly realized there were better engineers,” and moved into sales. His career prospered and became a successful sales executive, leading a $2 billion sales geography. John left IBM and started an internet company that they sold about a year before the internet-bubble crashed. In 2001, he joined Bank of America to build their corporate online banking system. After being an “intrapreneur” for seven years, he retired at 45 to do benevolent work.
However, boredom set in and John became chairman of a small regional cable company. Once back in the market, new opportunities arose. John shared, “A friend asked me to run his environmental services company and I did that for 3 years. Then a former client called asked me to lead a division of a publicly traded company, and I ended up running about 20% of the company. Yet I wanted to get back to leading and running the entire company.”
Through a series of connections, John met the investors who started Zennergy. He joined as CEO. Now he is looking forward to expanding and growing the company. Zennergy manufactures and sells water valves that provide financial and water conservation savings to consumers and businesses globally.
"We have four patents and seven additional patents pending so we differentiate through our technology implementation," Venzon explained. "Our valves deliver flow management and a more consistent supply of water, saving water and reducing bills."
Venzon is grateful for several reasons for the recognition as a GrowFL Company To Watch.
"It’s a great honor," he said. "We know there are many great companies in Florida, so to be recognized is an honor. We value the exposure because it is one of the things small companies can't buy. It is also nice to have the opportunity for our employees to celebrate and network with others. There are things we can learn from each other."
Venzon's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is four-fold.
"Follow your heart first and foremost," he said. "If you feel the calling, don't wait, just do it. It never gets easier as the demands of life get more intense.” Number two is “…realize that cash is king. Bootstrap as much as you can. It always takes more money than you have and you can usually do it for less than you think. Innovation comes with doing more with less.” The point is “Practice delayed gratification. All the people who have built wealth and made a difference were the ones who ventured out years ago and gave up the short term for the long-term prize.” Finally, not every venture is going to be successful. “Remember, failure is an accepted part of the game, but it is much more fun to win!"