Alex Osadzinski is a Sun Microsystems vet, a serial entrepreneur and Silicon Valley venture capitalist who moved to Cary in 2011 to invest in some companies and then “slowly fade away.”
July 14, 2016
Why Alex Osadzinski Left VC to Join Relias Learning
Inside the EdTech startup adding 450 or more jobs in Cary
He didn’t expect to be recruited to join another high-growth technology company. And he certainly didn’t expect it to be one he’d never heard of or noticed despite its headquarters just four miles from his house.
But Osadzinski is a self-professed “startup junkie.” And he’s now six months into a leading role as managing director of global operations at Relias Learning, the company that, alongside Governor Pat McCrory Tuesday, announced plans to hire at least 450 people over the next five years at its Corning Road offices in southeast Cary.
One emphasis for every employee is to understand and know the year’s four main objectives, Osadzinski says.
In 2016, they’re to continue to build a best place to work; to go global; to make bold acquisitions, from people to customers to product to revenue; and to grow beyond the core compliance training that is the company’s bread and butter.
The company has a 3.4 overall rating on Glassdoor—Triandiflou’s approval rating on the workplace review site is 84 percent.
Osadzinski never thought he’d work for another CEO, but his admiration for Triandiflou grows weekly—he’s especially learning from the man how to build a vibrant culture.
“In Silicon Valley, culture tends to be in the mix along with creating new technology, raising money and so on,” Osadzinski says. “Culture is front and center here and critical for recruiting. If we don’t think someone will thrive in our culture or gain from it, we won’t hire them.”
A lot of Osadzinski’s time is spent recruiting, particularly in the U.K. and Germany, both new offices in 2016. That’s similar to his time at Sun, where employee counts and revenues were doubling year-over-year. He joined that company when it had around 200 employees and saw it reach $5 billion in revenues.
He’s also meeting with customers in Europe and China thanks to relationships forged by Bertelsmann.
Despite a much tighter schedule, Osadzinski hasn’t given up his local investments. He remains a limited partner at Cofounders Capital and Idea Fund Partners and makes follow-on investments in portfolio companies like WedPics, FilterEasy, Adzerk or Nicotrax if they raise additional rounds.
He also still mentors entrepreneurs in the community—he reserves two 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. blocks of time for entrepreneurs on the weeks he’s not traveling.
But Relias is giving him the real startup rush these days.
“I loved what I was doing in the Triangle—a dozen different things—but I missed building a business with a team. It’s in my blood,” he says.