Peter Dal Bianco
IMPACT INVESTING

Peter Dal Bianco

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Bianco’s Management Consulting Group

The Value Proposition – Peter Dal Bianco, Bianco’s Management Consulting Group

“Let’s focus. There’s going to be all kinds of things that are gonna knock you down. Take a deep breath because with resilience, with passion, with hard work, with the right type of mentoring — you’ll get through it.”

ABOUT

  • Born in Pordenone, Italy, I emigrated to Sudbury at the age of six and have been a local resident ever since.
  • Spent most of the past 45 years owning and operating retail, consumer electronics, video rental outlets and commercial property enterprises in Northern Ontario. During this time also acquired tremendous experience as a shareholder/Director of a Nasdaq publicly traded company. Here are some highlights:
  • Opened first retail audio/video store in downtown Sudbury in 1975.
  • By 1981, had opened stores in Elliot Lake and three others in the Sudbury Region under the name Bianco’s National Video.
  • Moved to Toronto in 1983 and became the President of National Video Canada, a franchisor of video rental stores and opened 130+ franchised outlets across Canada. These years allowed me to gain huge expertise in Franchising.
  • By 1985, became 2nd largest shareholder of the parent company, National Video Inc of Portland Oregon. My first actual “ANGEL” investment.
  • In 1986, with over 700 video rental stores across North America, we took the company public on Nasdaq. At the time, the company was recognized as the largest Franchised video rental chain in North America.
  • Also, by 1986, put together a new team in Sudbury, to sustain and grow the Bianco’s, National Video group of companies in Northern Ontario.
  • In the years following, National Video Inc. sold off its franchising business and changed its name to Rentrak Corporation. Rentrak went on to become one of the largest movies and video data gathering/reporting entities in the world. In 2016, Rentrak was merged with another information specialist, ComScore Inc. ComScore stills trades on Nasdaq today.
  • In Northern Ontario, Biancos –which started with 8-tracks, in the 70’s, to CDs, VHS and DVD’s in the 80’s/ 90’s, to 4K HD television and IOT digitization of Home appliances today…  the Bianco’s Brand has competed against all competitors and crises to survive, grow, and prosper through it all to the present.
  • In 2007, I won Entrepreneur of The Year for both Northern Ontario Business and the Sudbury Bell Business awards.
  • In 2014, the Bianco’s brand was split with my portion of Bianco’s retail operations sold to longtime partner, Mike Rowlandson. Mike will continue to operate and grow the retail side of the Bianco’s businesses well into the future.
  • In the division, I formed Bianco’s Management Consulting Group, focusing my 45 years of business expertise as a business advisor/mentor/investor to local businesses and start-ups.
  • Presently, my contracts primarily involve me as a consultant for Northern Ontario Angels, helping raise over $7 million for local start-ups/scale-ups since 2014.

REQUEST INTRODUCTION Arrow

THE FULL INTERVIEW

Peter Dal Bianco

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery:
All right. Welcome Peter. Thank you very much for taking the time to join us today and we are going to dive right into it and we created this module about probably four weeks ago and our plan was that we wanted to interview one angel investor in a pre seed seed brown investor across Canada to start with, and learn what they’re looking for, and how they’re going to invest. So you came highly recommended as a fantastic investor, coach, mentor and all of the above and Peter we wanted to learn a little bit more about you so maybe you can give us a bit of a background on yourself before we jump into all the questions.

Peter:
Thank you, Jeffery. Pleasure to be here and hello everyone my name is Peter Dal Bianco, I live in Sudbury Ontario, and started my business career in 1974 and I probably have been through six crises now since that time because I started off retailing 8-track tapes some of you are probably too young to understand what that is, but 8-track tapes is where I started and we sold LPs out of our store and started off with something with about 700 square feet and bottom line that developed into the Bianco’s Super Centers, we expanded and open up multiple stores. Around that time the end of the 70s, we started having some real great discussions about all the VHS and beta stuff that was coming out so as well at the forefront of the video revolution became very very aggressive in getting together with a new company out of Portland Oregon of all places by the name of National Video. Quickly opened up multiple franchises all over the north and the president of that National Video said at that time you’re wasting your time up in Sudbury, come to Toronto. So I moved to Toronto for about five years, became a head of president of National Video Canada then I invested in the company in Portland Oregon, board everything I could and that was my first angel investment. In 1984 I became the second largest shareholder of NDI, we took it public in 1986 on NASDAQ. And that’s really where a lot of my training, in terms of mentoring, in getting involved with angel type work, because we had an incredible board, just an amazing board. And I was on that board for about 12 years and the company quickly transitioned from being a video store franchisor, we sold that off and became data collectors. The name of the company was called Rent Track for rental transactions, and rent track went on to be very successful and merged many years later with ComScore. And I was still have the feudal shares of that company left. And so a lot of the work that I’ve been doing is traveling through all of the 80’s and 90’s between Portland Oregon, the States, and Canada, mentoring a lot of franchisees, a lot of stores. In terms of technology and I feel that technology, I feel that the ability to convince people to come into your store, to purchase your product, and messaging, the marketing, the salesmanship, and management of course because we at one time, we had 15 stores 16 stores personally. And after running around the country for 20 odd years I decided to let’s focus back into Sudbury, we opened up a bigger store got into some other things. Bottom line got to a point by 2014 that I had so many individuals locally come into the store say Peter you’ve been doing this, you’ve been successful at that, can you help me with this idea, can you help me with that idea… You know I really like this, I really like the idea helping young people because I had seen a brain drain from Northern Ontario for so long, so so long and I had seen the frustrations with the local political system throughout the north. And very quickly and by 2014 became involved with Mary Long Irwin who is the managing the executive director for the Northern Ontario angels out of Thunder Bay and she says I have no representation in Sudbury, we have consultants throughout Northern Ontario and I’m looking for for somebody to be a consultant who’s got your experience… So we find a nice little contract for five years. I said I’ve got five years. And I split my retail business at that time, my partner bought me out of that, I’m no longer involved in retail basically started doing management consulting, found a huge demand for it. But I really concentrated on the two factors being, the Northern Ontario Angels the NOA, and the Regional Innovation Center at nORCAT which is the Sudbury regional innovation centers called nORCAT innovation and under the leadership of a brilliant young man by the name of Don du Val. We really saw eye-to-eye and what had to be done in pushing the whole ecosystem within Sudbury. And so I got involved with mentoring, investing in companies, doing work specifically over the last five or six years with local individuals and as our reputation spread throughout the north and we raised just over so far — we’ve raised just over seven million dollars for different startups here in Sudbury. So we’re quite, quite proud of having worked together to get some of these companies up and running and staying here locally, building companies here locally, because like I said before we never had a lot of places to go. There just wasn’t a place to go to get the mentoring and Southern Ontario is always such a draw and so so far so good then that’s what brings me to where I am.

Jeffery:
That’s a pretty amazing background. You’ve been investing a very long time, but working with startups and giving it back the entire time as well so that I think really rounds your career very well and nicely that not only were you driving business in a big way but you were also helping others along and I’ve chatted with a few companies over the years in Sudbury and they always talked about the regional innovation centres, so I think that’s an attachment to what you guys have done so that’s pretty exciting, very cool. You mentioned a little bit about first investment, what got you into investing? What really got you excited about it what was the the real reason or the best part of why you jumped into it?

Peter:
I’ve always measured my successes by the failures