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Acta Ventures Intern Speaker Series: Ben Rizzo

Ben Rizzo, founder of Hartwood Point

“If you want to learn business, you should always keep your hands dirty.”

On April 2nd, Acta hosted Benjamin Rizzo, the founder of Hartwood Point. Ben completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan and worked at Shell post-graduation. He later received graduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and Harvard Business School.

Ben’s entrepreneurial leanings have led him into the small business space multiple times. While at Harvard, Ben co-founded Exero Labs, a start-up company focusing on football helmet technology. Ben also spent a year in his family business wherein he realized that many small businesses owners are facing the challenge of succession that his family faced. In this spirit, Ben founded Hartwood Point, intent on acquiring a small business in the next few years.

During the discussion, Ben discussed his criteria for an ideal small business. This included everything from revenue type – B2B customers with recurring revenue – to exclusionary criteria (no to companies in bankruptcies, yes to businesses who’ve repeatedly made bad business decisions).

Ben also shared some career insights with the intern team. He encouraged the interns to participate in extracurricular activities in-depth, even when they are not career-focused. Ben recommended working with at least two companies to get the core of running a business before pursuing an MBA. To this he added, “MBA is a great card, but you can only play it once in your career. So play it wisely.”

At the end of the conversation, Ben reminded the interns that “every job has its own flavor”, and a person's success in that job depends on the individual's ability to differentiate his/her work.

Acta would like to thank Ben for joining this conversation and sharing his experience with our team!

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