Help Entrepreneurs Build Innovative,
We believe that our contributions to your
business's development is as important as
the capital we invest.
We seek out and invest in early-stage and emerging companies located principally in the Mid-Atlantic and across several markets. With an emphasis on healthcare, life sciences / health & wellness, technology and e-commerce, we know what it takes to be successful and work hard with you to make big things happen.
Many young companies fail because they are undercapitalized; yet success and failure often hinge more on having the right combination of quality people, good products or services, vision, drive, experience, and relationships.
We know that very talented entrepreneurs, with a clearly identifiable market opportunity, still fail due to the heavy burden of all the things that must be done to get a business off the ground and growing.
As such, we believe that our ability to contribute to your business’s development is just as important as the capital we invest. We seek people, teams and opportunities that offer us the chance to leverage our experience, insights and networks.We are committed to working actively with management to create a strong foundation for growth.
With more than 30 years of combined experience in strategic planning, business development, corporate and commercial marketing, corporate finance, and leading-edge infrastructure, and a passion to help companies succeed, we take great care in choosing our investment partners.
We examine each opportunity, appraise its viability, and build our portfolio with companies showing the most potential. We seek companies that will be driving forces in several key areas of innovation: the health and well-being of our advancing baby-boomer population; the dynamic and continual shift to the internet; and the discovery and commercial development of technologies.
SFP’s investment strategy spans several stages of growth, from seeding innovations in emerging markets to funding early-stage companies in high growth markets. Taking an active role in supporting these companies, we add value and offer strategic guidance throughout a company’s lifecycle — whether your company is in its infancy or has begun to realize revenues and is a viable reality.
With an appreciation for the power of collaboration, we nurture partnership-style relationships based on mutual respect with our investment companies’ management. As providing both strategic and tactical assistance is an important aspect of our investment philosophy, we typically require a board seat, through which we are able to share our insights and participate in the direction of the company.
In some cases, we will provide interim management and leadership support on a day-to-day basis to help companies progress through early to mid-level growth stages. This may include executive staffing, capital raises, market expansion, product launches and acquisitions.
There are many capital and funding organizations, many of which focus on companies further along in their development or that have matured in terms of fully formed management teams. Although such firms can be helpful to management as active board members, they seldom are prepared to function as part of the management team during critical periods.
We invest in less developed and difficult situations where our participatory approach can make a difference.
Our founders have participated in the start-up of successful ventures, and in all aspects of their growth and financing.
We have a first-hand experience of the motivations and challenges experienced by new companies and their founders, and we value key features in them.
Building a successful company is usually part strategy and part execution, but always trial and error. We seek people who have demonstrated success, creativity, integrity, and the self-confidence to listen to opinions and deal with difficult situations as they arise. The founder and/or management team should also have the leadership ability and experience to execute strategies defined at the time of investment. We take the concept of partnership seriously, and will not invest if all parties are not comfortable with a true partnership relationship.
A company’s products or services should address a market characterized by favorable relationships among the variables of size, growth potential and competitive factors. The company’s marketing strategy must be clearly defined and should be consistent with a large or rapidly developing market.
Building and growing a market leader is not for the faint of heart. It requires grit, determination and creativity and usually a good Plan B. More than that, though, it must be fun, or the stress and time commitments will burn out the flame driving the engine. This is why we look for opportunities that we will personally enjoy. Life is short and work is long—we all should have fun with it.
The prospective portfolio company’s products or services should have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. This might be a technology, a patent, a key relationship, a unique business model, or a desirable contract—or any combination that can outrun the competition or create a new market with limited long term competition.
We are interested in scalable business models that don’t require significant amounts of capital before the concept can be validated in the market. Recurring revenue models, expanding market segments, and economies of scale are all preferred factors.
Paul A. Serini is a 1980 honors graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his juris doctor (JD) degree from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America in 1983, where he continues to serve as an adjunct faculty member and lecturer
Serini has over 35 years of healthcare and law experience. Starting his career on Wall Street, Serini later became a partner at the Venable Law Firm in Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD, and subsequently a founder and senior executive of multiple healthcare operating companies and a Washington, DC-based health policy consulting firm.
Most recently Serini co-founded and served as Executive Vice President of XLHealth Corporation, a $2.5 billion Baltimore-based Medicare Advantage insurance plan focused on improving clinical care and reducing wasteful spending on chronically ill seniors.
After XLHealth was acquired by United Health Group in late 2010 (for $2.4 billion), Serini served as Chief of Government Relations & Health Policy for United Healthcare’s Medicare & Retirement division, until retiring in early 2013 to pursue blue water sailing, private investing and asset management, and a personal passion for philanthropy through The Helen J. Serini Foundation, a private non-profit organization focused on children’s issues and healthcare.
Paul is married to Susan Serini and has three wonderful grown children. He and Susan currently divide their time between Annapolis Maryland and the British Virgin Islands.
Paul has had a career of helping start-ups, emerging companies, and public companies break through to achieve accelerated growth and improved profitability in both the public and private sector.
As EVP, Chief Marketing Officer of Medifast, Inc. (NYSE: Med) Paul managed and directed the largest business units and led sales, marketing, and customer service driving revenue increases from $75MM to $275MM in three years. He turned around an underperforming Direct Response division and call center, creating improved profits from $4MM to $22MM and led the growth of its Direct Sales division from $40MM to $160MM. Medifast was ranked as the #1 Small Cap U.S. Company in 2010 by Forbes, two years after Paul joined the Company.
In 2002 Paul joined Nutrition 21, a biotechnology company, to help it secure financing for R&D and to commercialize its technology. When the clinical trials failed, Paul was promoted to CEO, transformed the business and grew revenues from $10MM to $46MM in three years. The company was recognized by Nutrition Business Journal in 2006 for Acquisition of the Year, and in 2007 for Fastest Growing Small Cap Company.
As SVP Corporate Development, Paul was instrumental in developing an internet start-up, rdental, LLC, leading a key industry acquisition and securing a strategic relationship with WebMD, who ultimately acquired the Company.
Paul started out as a corporate attorney with Venable, LLP. He holds a BA from The Johns Hopkins University, in Economics (1991), a JD from University of Maryland School of Law, and an MBA from the University of Maryland in marketing and finance, both with high honors (1995).
*Paul is married to Kimberly Intlekofer and has two great kids. He’a a lacrosse coach, wakeboard/tubing instructor, avid sports fan, music lover, board member, community volunteer, and voracious reader.
Lisa has over 20 years experience in graphic design, strategic planning, business development and project management. She served the executive office of XLHealth Corporation in Baltimore, MD for nearly a decade working as an executive administrator and assistant secretary to the Board of Directors, and played an integral part in XLHealth’s multi-billion dollar acquisition by UnitedHealthGroup in early 2012.
Lisa continued to serve as project manager of government relations & health policy for UnitedHealthCare’s Medicare & Retirement division until leaving in 2013 to work for Paul Serini as the executive director of his nonprofit organization, the Helen J. Serini Foundation. Ms. Clark also fulfills the role of Vice President of Development for SFP Enterprises, a private investment & asset management firm and parent company to SFP Capital, LLC.
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