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Interview with Mark Peter Davis, Managing Partner at Interplay

Photo credit: Mark Peter Davis
The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.

Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!

Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.

Can you tell everyone your name, please?

Mark Peter Davis

Tell me about your education?

BA Economics Duke 
MBA Columbia Business School

Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?

I believe that wrestling beat insane tenacity into me. This game requires resilience and a hell of a work ethic. Wrestling helped with that.

We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.

Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?

I’d say I’ve been more impacted by the folks I’ve worked closely with than the people we read about in the media. I’ve had many mentors over the years. Oddly, some of my most valuable mentors were unintentional — they were the bad actors who have taught me how NOT to operate. Refreshingly many folks were positive role models. I tip my hat to Jed Katz, Thatcher Bell, Brad Svrluga and my current partners.

Thank you for providing a background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.

What is the name of your company?

Interplay

Where is your company located?

New York City

What services or products does your organization provide?

Interplay is a venture capital firm and foundry. We invest, incubate and co-found companies. Our companies include: 
• Interplay Venture — Venture Capital (http://interplay.vc/ventures.html
• The American Crypto Mining Company — Crypto Mining as a Service (http://acmc.io)
• Bristol Palmer — Customer Service, Call Centers, SDR (http://bristolpalmer.com)
• Broker Buddha — Commerical Insurance Broker SaaS Platform (http://brokerbuddha.com
• Firon Marketing — Marketing (http://fironmarketing.com)
• Founder Shield — Commerical and Health Insurance (http://foundershield.com)
• Greenparc — Office Management & Cleaning (http://greenparc.co
• Maison Merch — Promotional Products (http://maisonmerch.com
• Nomad Financial — Accounting, Finance, and Tax (http://nomadfinancial.com)
• Venwise — Peer Leadership Community (http://venwise.com)

What problem is your business trying to solve?

We exist to facilitate innovation. Whether it’s someone else’s mission that we support with capital or advice or an idea of our own — we’re helping to build the society we want to live in for the future.

How is your business unique against your competitors?

There are very few VC fund-foundry models out there. Each is very different — we operate in our own way. All of that said, I’m not sure being different is the key to success. I think that’s a fallacy.

How did the idea for your business come to fruition?

I’m frequently asked what our secret sauce is. The answer is blood, sweat, and tears. We execute on the fundamentals and focus on doing that well, which requires a depth of operational knowledge combined with a strong work ethic.

Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business

Interplay: http://interplay.vc

Blog: http://mpd.me

My Book — The Fundraising Rules: http://mpd.vc/tfrkindle

Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.

What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?

  1. Understand that you’re not starting a company in the beginning — you’re running a science experiment. Test the idea. Moreover, if the tests yield a negative result stop and move one.
  2. Surround yourself with people who complement you.
  3. Find advisors that can provide knowledge of the startup method. There’s no reason to learn the hard way.