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Leadership calendar    Nov 29, 2023

Electrifying Growth Episode 18: Taking the Leap with Dave Baxter

Dave Baxter is the CEO of Solutions by Text (SBT), providing customer engagement solutions through its text messaging platform. Dave joins Edison Partners host and Managing Partner Chris Sugden for Episode 18 of Electrifying Growth to share lessons to achieve outsized success, candid conversations, and embracing the power of text messaging to drive growth against the odds.



"Scaling a company isn't just about having a vision; it's about the discipline to pursue excellence and the agility to seize niche markets." - Dave Baxter

Dave Baxter is the CEO of Solutions by Text (SBT), which provides customer engagement solutions through its text messaging platform. Dave is dedicated to finding innovative communication solutions and under his leadership, SBT has gained recognition for its commitment to unlocking the power of text messaging. He shared his insights on the latest episode of Electrifying Growth. 

Scaling A Small Company in High-Tech Industries

Managing Partner and Host Chris Sugden sat down with Dave to unravel the intricacies of scaling a small company in the high-stakes arena of high-tech industries. As we unpack the journey of Baxter's strategic leadership, the dialogue swings between profound personal insights and tactical business maneuvers, offering a comprehensive look at the path to expansion.

Dave Baxter ventured from the familiarity of massive corporate entities, such as ACI Worldwide and FIS, into the brisk waters of a more nimble organization—SBT. Despite the seismic shift, Baxter adopted a philosophy that imbues his team with the spirit and determination more common to larger organizations. This strategic mindset has not only nurtured a vibrant and effective work culture at SBT but has also set the stage for remarkable corporate accomplishments.

Impact and Agility is Key

From the outset, Dave's conscious decision to transition SBT into a powerhouse capable of competing with giants reflects a crucial narrative in modern business: size need not dictate impact. It's the agility, the purpose, and the culture that fuel a small company's potential for electrifying growth. At SBT, a mindset of being "allies, pioneers, and pursuing excellence" is more than lip service—it represents the engine of change and innovation that defines its expanding footprint in the market.

Episode 18 delves into how Dave leverages this agility to fix fundamental business elements at SBT—from HR to finance and accounting systems, to a revamped go-to-market strategy and a reenergized sales culture. With less than 150 personnel but the heart of a titan, the company has onboarded nearly 1500 accounts through concerted efforts—an inspiring testament to Dave's hard labor and visionary leadership.

Central to his transformation of SBT is the staunch commitment to niche markets and disciplined expansion, avoiding the common pitfall of overreach which plagues many growing companies. The focus remains unwavering: crafting superior bill pay solutions and mobile user experiences. In an era where the subtleties of consumer engagement are paramount, SBT's focus on text communication emerges not simply as a product but a philosophical shift in market approach.

Mentorship and the Investment of Personal Growth

Drawing on his experiences, Baxter emphasizes the lonely road of a CEO in a burgeoning enterprise. He underscored the gravity of mentorship and the importance of a supportive board—not only as overseers but as founts of wisdom and guidance. His endorsement of mentorship, echoed by Chris Sugden, shines a light on the perpetual lesson within leadership: that investing in personal growth is as critical as any corporate investment.

Dave's narrative transcends business strategy; it speaks directly to leadership character in an era of rapid technological change. His admission of the initial fear of the unknown and the challenging balance between swift decision-making and empathic leadership artfully conveys what it means to steer a ship through uncharted waters, with an eye perpetually on the horizon.

Edison Partners' role in SBT's upward trajectory serves as a blueprint for combining investment with a hands-on approach to mentorship and guidance. SBT's extraordinary growth story, fueled by Edison Partners' investment, offers a vibrant case study for other companies: that aligning with the right partners can help light the road to success.

As we wrapped up our discussion, the focus was clear: scaling a small company is intricate, yet flavored with vast opportunities. Dave Baxter's narrative embodies the adventurous spirit of leadership—a potent mix of fearlessness, strategic acumen, and genuine personal growth. Electrifying Growth remains committed to bringing these stories to you—stories that not only inform but inspire and illuminate the path of growth in the electrifying world of technology.

Chris is Managing Partner and Chairman of the firm's investment committee. He has been on both sides of the table as a successful entrepreneur. His experience includes leading sales, product, finance, business strategy and capital formation.