A CEO for the Next Level – ATS Acoustics is Recruiting an Experienced, Savvy Leader

This is an opportunity to take the reins and lead a successful organization to a bigger future. Oversee all aspects of ATS Acoustics. Lead the management team. Direct product and marketing strategy. Maintain key vendor relationships. Drive results across the business. Collaborate with me to write the next chapter of what ATS could be.

Qualities we are looking for: emotional intelligence, skill in leading people, digital savvy, decisiveness, ambition, high accountability, positive energy. This job will require you to wear a lot of hats, and challenge you to bring a broad A-game of skills and influence.

About the company: ATS Acoustics manufactures and sells sound-absorbing acoustical products, including fabric-covered wall panels, wooden sound diffusers, bass traps, and ceiling baffles. Our primary customers are music facilities, houses of worship, schools, and the contractors that build them. The company has produced excellent results for almost 20 years, and we see significant potential to grow under ambitious new leadership. ATS is strong in digital advertising, online lead generation, and e-commerce sales. Our team is currently around 35 people. Our facilities are 5 buildings in Piper City, IL and office space in Champaign, IL. Our culture is hard-working, scrappy, and small-town caring.

Reason for the Change: I (Mark Aardsma, Managing Partner of First Leaf Capital) am the founder, owner, and existing CEO. My plate is full with multiple endeavors including managing First Leaf Capital’s Venture Capital fund. I am looking for a CEO more experienced and skilled than myself in leading growth in a manufacturing business. I will transition to an advisor and chairman of the board role.

Experience requirements: Multiple years in a management role at a manufacturing and/or physical product fulfillment business. Five years or more as top leader (chief executive or equivalent) in an organization with at least two layers of management.

Locations: Two to three days per week at the factory in Piper City, Illinois. Other days at our offices in Champaign, Illinois.

Compensation: Salary, bonus, and equity compensation target $300,000 per year, depending on results. Benefits: Paid Time Off, Health Reimbursement Account, Retirement program with employer match.

We value diversity and we encourage all qualified candidates to apply. Send your resume to ceosearch@firstleafcapital.com.

First Leaf Capital Invests in Eclipse Orthopaedics

Eclipse Orthopaedics is developing a handheld x-ray-guided orthopaedic drill to simplify a surgical procedure that is currently difficult for surgeons who are not trauma specialists. The device also offers lower x-ray radiation exposure for the surgical team and eliminates reliance on a C-arm and radiological technician.

Since getting to know David I am confident he has the relevant expertise, the connections to industry, and the personal character to succeed in this venture. I love that his creative innovation is grounded in practical application ā€” starting with making one surgical procedure simpler and safer. Iā€™m excited that Elevate Ventures and First Leaf Capital have partnered with David to move Eclipse forward.

Entrepreneurship at Fermilab

Today I co-presented with Joe Aguilar from the Illinois State Treasurer’s office to a group of scientist / entrepreneurs at the Fermi National Accelerator. Our topic was the intersection of scientific innovation and human collaboration in startups that seek to commercialize tech from research settings. Thanks to the folks at Fermilab for putting this together and to STO for their on-going support of entrepreneurship in Illinois.

First Leaf Capital Invests in DAtAnchor

DAtAnchor provides a unique, easy-to-use data security system that allows data to be stored anywhere in encrypted form, while the data owner retains real-time, dynamic control over who can access that data under what conditions. Organizations using DAtAnchor can more easily comply with cybersecurity regulations, and protect their data from breaches, ransomware/doxware, and internal misuse.

When I first heard about what DAtAnchor does, I thought “that’s unique, and useful”. After a bunch of phone calls with CEO Emre and his team, I still think so. Along the way I came to really like this group of technologists and marketers. I’m excited to be on board.

BoxCast Raises $20M Amid Growth Surge

First Leaf portfolio company BoxCast has raised $20M from UpData and Shure. TechCrunch broke the story.

It’s been a remarkable year at BoxCast, as streaming became the only way for audiences to engage with many events they used to attend in person. Many of BoxCast’s customers are houses of worship who faced major disruption during the pandemic.

I’m pleased that BoxCast has been able to serve such a vital role during this time. Big props to the tech team there for a building a system that withstood a tidal wave of increased usage and barely missed a beat.

Uncertain Times and Unique Opportunities

We are living in times of remarkable change and uncertainty. The health and economic problems facing the world are daunting. We are all affected to one degree or another during this time.

I am grateful that our fund has stable capital available to put to good use during these times. As usual, I am looking for the triple win of boosting the businesses we invest in, bringing valuable products and services to customers who need them, and generating superior returns for investors. I am hopeful this time will present unique opportunities to do all three.

I am actively seeking investment opportunities, including in these categories:

  • Local Partnerships: Central-Illinois businesses of all sorts with good track records and good future prospects who need a financial partner to get through this difficult time.
  • Secondary: Existing stakes in startups held by angel investors or others who would like to sell them to raise liquidity and/or shift their risk exposure at this time.
  • Startups as Usual: Especially those with extended cash runway post-raise and reliable demand for their product or service in uncertain future conditions.

Please send opportunities to office@firstleafcapital.com. Thanks!

BoxCast Serves and Grows During Stay-At-Home

Sometimes in a storm you get a wind at your back. FLC portfolio company BoxCast provides in video streaming broadcasting for many houses of worship. Covid-19 has presented a huge opportunity for them to serve the needs of many new customers, and to grow rapidly during this surge. We congratulate them on the technical foundation they built that has performed well during this remarkable growth in demand.