BTU #65 – Mark Frank: Army to Serial Entrepreneur and Founder of Four Companies

“He said, ‘This is where you see what you’re made of. This is either where you fold up and die, or you push through and figure [stuff] out and make it happen.’ And so luckily I was able to keep working through it and keep pushing things forward incrementally, and then recognize that there were some strategic things that we needed to do to fix it. That’s what created Next Oncology, which transitioned a $3 Million a year revenue business to a $7-8 million a year business.”
– Mark Frank

Mark Frank is the CEO and Co-Founder of Sondermind, a startup that is focused on making mental health services more accessible and accepted for everyone. He started out West Point and served as an Logistics Officer in the Army for five years. After the Army, Mark earned both his MBA and Masters of Engineering Management at Northwestern University. After grad school, he an Associate Investment Banker at Morgan Stanley for two years before serving as Founder & CEO at Next Oncology. After six years at Next Oncology, he sold the company in a deal that brought a 12X return to investors. In addition to founding Sondermind and Next Oncology, Mark has also started SafeImageMD and TermScout, as well as served as the Managing Director of the investment company, Goldwing Capital.

The top two reasons to list to this interview are:

  1. Originality: Mark took a relatively non-traditional route to entrepreneurship. He first went into finance at Morgan Stanley, before starting his first company. He talks about how this path helped him on his entrepreneurial journey.
  2. Serial Entrepreneurship: Mark has helped start four companies and sold two of them. He’s got tons of great advice on how to go about starting – and growing – your company

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Show Notes

  • 1:40 – Mark’s background
  • 3:20 – At what point Mark knew he would leave the Army, and how he approached this decision
  • 4:45 – How Mark decided to go directly to graduate school rather than to industry
  • 7:25 – How Mark got his MBA and MEM in two years at Northwestern, and why he would recommend this route
  • 10:19 – What lead Mark to Morgan Stanley for his first job out of graduate school, rather than consulting (as he had originally intended)
  • 14:50 – what family life was like while at Morgan Stanley, while working 100 hours per week, and how this compared to Mark’s time in the military
  • 16:30 – Given Mark’s history in startups, how he views his time in the world finance and would he recommend this route to other veterans
  • 19:40 – The starting point of Mark’s first company, Next Oncology
  • 26:40 – How Mark overcame the security and safety of a great job at Morgan Stanley to jump into the uncertainty of startups
  • 29:14 – The worst moment at Next Oncology and what Mark learned from this experience
  • 33:23 – Mark’s proudest moment at Next Oncology
  • 35:20 – What it was like selling Mark’s first company, Next Oncology for over a 12X return
  • 38:56 – How Mark started SafeImageMD, TermScout and Sondermind while still at Next Oncology
  • 51:26 – Mark’s advice for veterans thinking of starting their own company
  • 54:10 – Resources Mark would recommend to veterans to help in their civilian career
  • 58:00 Mark’s final words of wisdom for veterans