Centro Founder Shawn Riegsecker at Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871 (Video)

by Pat Ryan
May 9, 2013

(This was originally posted on Pat’s blog: www.coolerbythelake.com)

Centro Founder, Shawn Riegsecker, shared his journey and lessons at Aril’s Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871. We had another sold out crowd join us @ 1871 for pizza, beer, and to hear Shawn’s incredible story.

This is the eighth installment of Founders’ Stories. If you would like to check out any of the prior videos from past events, you can see them here: Braintree Founder Bryan Johnson, Open Table Founder Chuck Templeton, Grub Hub Founders Matt Maloney and Mike Evans, Belly Founder Logan LaHive, Context Media Founders Rishi and Shradha, Siri Founder Dag Kittlaus, or Starter League Founders Neal Sales-Griffin and Mike McGee.

Shawn started Centro, one of the fastest growing software companies in 2001. He grew up in Ohio and began his career by selling Yellow Page advertising. In 1996, he started putting newspapers on the web and by 2000, he joined a streaming media company called Everstream. He learned early on that media was changing the industry. In 2001, the time of the dot-com crash and 9/11, Shawn saw the opportunity to move fast because everyone else was slowing down. He took advantage of the time and wrote a document called “Corporate Manifesto” which laid out his vision of leading a great company.

Corporate Manifesto has helped shape Centro’s philosophy and a reason why Centro has been ranked #1 on Crain’s Chicago Business’ Best Places to Work three years in a row. Today, Centro develops software and services that support both agencies and publishers as they navigate the increasingly complex digital space. Centro has executed more than 20,000 local and national campaigns.

My INCISENT Labs teammates and I have really enjoyed partnering and sponsoring all of the Chicago Founders’ Stories @ 1871. Since the event sold out, we recorded it and are putting it online for those who couldn’t make it. We broke up the hour into four segments for easier viewing.

In the first segment, Shawn gives a background of his life and discusses where his company’s philosophy came from.


In the second segment, Shawn shares his childhood memories, being adopted into a conservative family and who his influencers were. Shawn shared that he’s driven a lot by his life experiences and how he found role models and inspirations that helped lead to his remarkable success.

[video: http://vimeo.com/65655916]

In the third segment, Shawn explains how he made software and services work. He talks about selling and creating the revenue that allowed him to create software and bootstrapping it the first few years and finding investors.

[video: http://vimeo.com/65655915]

In the fourth segment, Shawn answers more of the audience’s questions. He shares many interesting things like his hiring process, his work with President Obama and a movie he’s producing.


We hope you enjoyed this interview with Shawn, and look forward to tonight’s Chicago Founders’ Stories @1871 where I will be interviewing Savo Founder, John Aiello.

Pat Ryan is a business and social entrepreneur who has created several high growth software companies as well as several innovative urban education initiatives as a social entrepreneur. Pat’s first company, FirstLook, was recognized by Inc Magazine in 2008 as the #4 fastest growing software company in the U.S. in its Inc 500 rankings – the highest ranking ever for a Chicago based software company. Pat is also the Founder of MAX as well as the Founder and CEO of INCISENT Labs, a platform and incubator for innovative, industry-changing technologies that spin out into high growth companies. MAX was created in INCISENT Labs where Pat and a team are currently incubating their latest start-up. Pat blogs at Coolerbythelake.com and can be reached on Twitter @INCISENTLabs.


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