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Derrin Hill

Founder + CEO RevRoad City Provo

As Derrin Hill’s friend Tony Allen says, “If you want to start a revolution, start a company.” Welcome to the RevRoad revolution. Derrin and the other RevRoad masterminds all experienced the joys and the traumatic experiences that accompany starting a business. They quickly realized that the entrepreneurial ecosystem could and should be better. With a dismal statistic stating that nine out of 10 funded companies fail within seven years, Derrin says, “We look at that and see a problem to be solved, not a law of nature.” As Derrin and his team began research across the county, they concluded that companies weren’t failing because they were running out of money. “They were failing because they didn’t have the right network, resources or know-how at the right time,” Derrin says. RevRoad slid on a jersey and jumped into the game. RevRoad is a sweat equity partner set on aligning with the entrepreneurs’ journeys and providing them with winning tools and teammates. It’s not a two-month boot camp, but a two-year opportunity to work “shoulder-to-shoulder with business experts.” At RevRoad, the startup failure statistic is inverted: With 80 companies they’ve brought on between RevRoad Venture Group and RevRoad Capital since 2017, only 15 companies have failed. RevRoad is changing the game. 

About 18 months into our business, our greatest source of applicants became referrals, and it has been that way ever since.

Something we’re proud of is that we train our teams explicitly on identifying bias, and more than 40 percent of our companies are led by women and minorities — and we do that without any affirmative action. It’s all based on merit. We have this massive outreach that Amy Caldwell leads. We have proactive relationships with the Black Chamber of Commerce, Latinas in Tech, and over a dozen women entrepreneur and business groups. Our focus is purposeful outreach that involves people who aren’t usually invited to participate at the table.

Probably one of the biggest face plants in my career came in a previous company with five co-founders called Imagine Learning. I’m pretty sure none of us had started a company before, and we were terrible partners with each other at the start. We would get into arguments over things we never should have gotten into arguments over. As a group, we got to that point where we saw each other’s brilliance and respected each other, but I wish I had been able to do that faster. I’m confident that at the end of all of our careers and lives, the things that will matter are people and the relationships we build with each other.

For most of the last century, people focused on IQ. I think toward the beginning of this century, people have focused a lot more on EQ, emotional quotient. As we elevate to the next level, it becomes LQ — love quotient. Do we genuinely love our colleagues, employees, board, investors, customers and even our competitors? We have found that if we can get people who genuinely have that level of care, all the important things work out. At RevRoad, we’ve built this community of people full of LQ — from our investors to our entrepreneurs — who genuinely want to care about each other.

A skill I’ve gained along the way is for sure LQ. I was a highly competitive salesperson, driving for the win every time. I remember sitting in church one weekend and listening to someone talk about what it means to love your neighbor and your enemy. The next conference I went to, I invited my biggest competitor to lunch. We ended up doing projects together and became close personal friends. He ended up accepting a job to join my team as a sales rep (beforehand, he was working as the senior VP of sales for a large company and only saw his family on the weekends). I couldn’t give him the same job title, but I could give him something that he really wanted, which was more time with his family. 
About six months later, they found a brain tumor right behind his ear. He ended up living six more months, so he got about an extra year with his family. We had a lot of talks before he died about how grateful we were that we both decided to love our enemy.

I watch the morning sunrise while counting three blessings every day.

“Multipliers” by Liz Wiseman.

Grant sincerity to everyone involved. Everyone is genuinely doing their best. Take the time to see the world through each other’s lens.