Jeff Spence | Executive Profile | ATLANTA TREND

Leveraging Technology for Success

Jeff Spence is the COO and President of Innovolt, a specialty company with patented intelligent electronics management technology. Innovolt can protect valuable electronic equipment from 99.5 percent of total power disturbances.

Born and raised in California, Jeff’s father was a smoke jumper with the US Forest Service, which required the family to move up and down the west coast of the United States for his various assignments.

Attending California State University – Chico, Jeff received a BS in both Electrical Engineering and Physics, “because I was told that these were the two hardest courses of study available,” he said. Jeff also ran track and worked summers throughout his college career.

After graduation, Jeff’s first job was working as a liaison between technology and finance for two years. These were pre-internet days and his job entailed being an “interpreter” of technology to business people. “Because of this work, I began to understand that the positioning of technology was as important as the technology itself,” he said.

In 1997, Jeff came to Georgia to work for a software company and used his skills to paint a picture of where the company technology could be applied. Starting in 2001, Jeff became part of a project team that consulted with technology companies to assist them in determining what technology to focus on, who to sell it to and how to finance the operation. Jeff and his team performed this work for companies all over the world. His clients included the Peugeot family holding in France, and Xiocom, a telecom company. “The industry really doesn’t matter. The question is, can you leverage the technology financially, can it be franchised into new markets, new uses and new revenue streams,” he said.

With all of this experience leveraging technology, Jeff became immediately excited about Innovolt. “Here at Innovolt, there are no limiting factors to growth – such as geography or governmental regulations – and it works for any industry sector. I’ve never been associated with a business that has this much potential scale,” he said.

When Jeff joined Innovolt the company had done excellent research and development work and was trying to sell their technology as a hardware product to end-users – as a better surge protector. Jeff changed the focus right away. He got the company to view itself as a technology company – not a consumer products company – and shifted to focus to software. This allowed for potentially greater scale and higher shareholder value.

Under Jeff’s leadership, Innovolt identified industries that would need the technology immediately. It turned out to be companies who could NOT go down for even short periods of time, like manufacturing or office equipment companies. Production halts are expensive to manufacturers and service calls are expensive to office equipment companies. One thing that helps Innovolt is that the global business model for electronics is changing. “One local company used to sell their vending machines. Now they lease them and have to provide service whenever they go out. Service calls are expensive – not just for the company, but for any business providing leased equipment with a service agreement – which is almost everybody these days. The office copier, the postal meter, you name it,” Jeff said. Innovolt’s solution is able to deliver millions of dollars in savings to customers by reducing service calls and downtime while increasing equipment lifespan and an overall improved customer experience.

In the international market, Innovolt benefits from the exact opposite problem of expensive service calls. “Labor is cheap in other parts of the world, but the talent to fix it is much more limited. So a two day outage in the U.S. could be a four week outage in Africa or South America. This dynamic works to our advantage outside of the developed world,” he said.

Innovolt now uses three methods of selling its leading edge technology; direct to large enterprise customers, through channels such as electronics distributors, and embedded in the products of other companies. For example, Innovolt is piloting their technology in the equipment of one of the largest cable companies in the United States. The company works with thousands of customers including Global 500 companies in vertical industries including: office equipment, manufacturing, gaming, vending, self-service, telecommunications, consumer packaged goods and oil and gas.

Jeff believes that if a company has a good enough technology story, and the prospect of enough scale, then you can recruit the best talent on the planet. “If you have these things, then even financing is not an issue,” he says.

“Most business people try to solve the wrong problems,” Jeff says. “They sometimes think they have a finance problem when they really have a business model problem. If you have a great business model and great talent, the money will come.”

Jeff is married and has three kids – two girls, ages 14 and 12, and a boy age nine.


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