CXO Conversation Podcast

CEO Steve Joanis, Getting Noticed for C Level & by VCs

Our guest today is Steve T. Joanis, CEO of PlanetIQ. He comes on the show to share his experience having served as a CFO, President, board member, and partner through different investment firms.


Don’t miss this episode for some serious tips on how to best appear on VC’s radars and stay top of mind for C-suite recruiting as well as what the most successful CXO candidates share in terms of personality traits.



Mr. Joanis has 25-plus years of management consulting, venture capital, and C-Level management experience in venture-backed companies across many industries. He has served on the Boards of Directors for more than 20 companies and has many successful exits to his credit as both a primary investor and as management. His strength in finance and operations has driven his expertise in scaling businesses with a focus on cash flow and value for investors.


Mr. Joanis managed strategy and M&A consulting engagements at LEK consulting, was a primary investor as a Partner at Wolf Ventures and Roser Ventures, was a Founder and Partner of PE firm HardPoint Capital, and had P&L responsibility as a C-level manager at three different startups, going back to 2003. At T3 Media, his most recent success story, Mr. Joanis led the company from pre-revenue through the high-growth phase and exited by selling to two different PE firms in two separate transactions. Mr. Joanis has raised more than $200MM in venture capital or venture-related debt.


Mr. Joanis has a BS from West Point and an MBA from Wharton. He was a decorated military combat aviator prior to his civilian career.





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[1:52] Michael introduces Steve and asks him to share a little bit about what PlanetIQ does.


BUSINESS FUNDAMENTALS [4:02] Steven shares what attracts him to any specific company: market size, protected technology, high-profit margins, and a solid team are all part of his checklist. He talks about what PlanetIQ had to offer to get him on board.


SPEAKING VC [8:30] An overarching theme in Steven’s career seems to have been his pull towards high tech. He touches on some reasons that may be as well as how being on the investment side has influenced his style as a CEO.


LOOKING BACK [12:42] Going back to investment? Steven talks about all of the things he loved in the investing world and what being on the entrepreneurial side offers that suits him better.


DECIDING TO BE A CEO [15:39] Steven’s military career helped shape his decisional process and probably played a huge role in him aiming for decisional roles and positions that offer responsibilities.


MILITARY INFLUENCE [20:22] Steven touches on how the military influenced his leadership style as well as the success he’s garnered. He also speaks to his hiring practices and how the military plays into that aspect as well.


PIVOTING TO THE C-SUITE [28:57] After having moved away from VC, Steven found a comfortable space for himself which put him on the fast track to his first C-suite contract. He also explains how having been on various company boards helped him identify how he could best tackle the C responsibilities.


ADVICE FOR VP’S [32:40] Looking at where CEOs come from when it comes to venture-backed high tech companies, most of them come out of sales or tech. Steven explains how you can use this information to build a strategic path to the C-suite. He also shares a few tips on jumping into a CXO role.


SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES [35:47] Steven touches on what VCs look for, in terms of personality, when searching out new candidates. He also shares ideas on getting onto a VC’s radar.


TIMELESS ADVICE [38:52] Steven shares some early advice he got which is still relevant today, 20 years later.


BEST WORST JOB STEVEN EVER HAD [44:56] Being a dairy farmer!


[47:27] Michael thanks Steven for coming on the podcast to share his insight and closes out the podcast with his favorite takeaways.


We hope you learned something today and enjoyed the conversation. Please give us 5 stars on iTunes and share your comments so we can improve and ask the questions you want to hear.






Jalan Crossland for the music

Angela Johnson at OC Executive Search

Joseph Batty at Podfly

Corey Coates at Podfly


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