114: Leaving a Startup and Lessons Learned from Plethora with Nick Pinkston

What does it take to launch a manufacturing startup? And how do you finally walk away from it when it’s time?

Nick Pinkston, CEO and Founder of Volition, is back on the show for round three of our three-part series. In this episode, we take a closer look at Nick’s previous ventures, including Plethora, to get an idea of what it’s like to build a company and then close the door to it.

Nick shares the top things he wished he’d have known earlier in his career, what he’s learned from previous business experiences, and some advice for others. He also gives his take on the investor world and explains why VCs are no longer as scared to touch manufacturing as they once were.

It’s been a fantastic mini-series with Nick, and he’s full of brilliant insights into the startup world, investment, and the future of the industry. Be sure to catch up on episodes one and two with Nick if you haven’t already.


Apple | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | YouTube

3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. You need to confirm a business model truly works before you even think about scaling it.
  2. VCs are starting to warm up to the idea of investing in manufacturing and hardware – it’s not just about SaaS these days.
  3. The importance of having a mentor cannot be overstated. It’s one of the things that Nick wishes he had known earlier in his career.

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “You get what you put in.”
  • “I wish I would have been somewhere where there were lots of mentors who could actually tell you how it works. I just had this huge shift when I moved to San Francisco and met real founders.”
  • “Your reputation is everything in this kind of field.”

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

Do you want to connect with other leaders that are moving the needle in manufacturing everyday? Then make sure to join us in the Manufacturing Happy Hour Industry Community on LinkedIn.

SteamChain.io is the Machine-as-a-Service solution provider helping both End-Users and OEMs collaborate, drive revenue, and grow together. Learn more about them on Episode 5 of Manufacturing Happy Hour.

Audible is the world’s largest library of audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment. Get a FREE audiobook when you sign up at audibletrial.com/happyhourpod.

Concept Systems Inc. is an independent systems integrator and your automation solution partner for anything from antiquated control system retrofits to greenfield controls coordination and project management. Learn more about them on Episode 7 of Manufacturing Happy Hour.

Interested in generating leads through videos, podcasts, or other digital content? Then make sure to check out our 6 Strategies for Growing Your Manufacturing Business Using Social Media.

What We Discuss with Nick

  • What Plethora did in the manufacturing space
  • Why Nick decided to leave his position as CEO
  • The most important lessons he took from Plethora
  • Why Plethora shut down
  • What you need to do before scaling a startup
  • Why VCs are less afraid of manufacturing these days
  • What Nick wishes he had known earlier in his career
  • What’s currently working for Volition
  • Why Nick learned to love the management side of running a startup

Recommended Resources

  • Volition, one of the largest marketplaces for industrial components

Connect with Nick and Volition

LinkedIn | Twitter | Volition