David Steinberg: How A Versatile Entrepreneur Networks

Posted on October 28, 2010, by , under Featured Interview.

Accomplished entrepreneur David Steinberg describes achieving the $400 million communications company  InPhonic as well as his current company, XL Education Corporation. Meaningful networking with fellow members in the industry as well as focusing on creating economically lean companies are aspects that the online marketing expert attributes to his success.  Besides executing his fast growing higher education online marketing company, Steinburg is also training for the NY Century Bike Tour.

Tell us about your latest venture CAIVIS Acquisitions.

In 2007 we realized that there had been a quantum shift in “valuation of companies”. When the credit crisis of 2007 came along, not only were values of smaller companies shrinking, but their access to capital had also dried up completely. CAIVIS Acquisition Corp. was formed to buy small to mid-size companies in individual online marketing verticals and create scale. Unlike a “role up” we only set out to buy two or three companies in each of these verticals and then focus on growing them organically vs. cutting expenses.  We have found that we are able to grow the companies we acquire very rapidly, using a number of strategies.

Our first major vehicle is the education marketing space. We have formed XL Education Corp. with which we made 3 acquisitions; (a) Ward Media, a call center and affiliate marketing company, (b) Spire Vision, an email marking company, and (c) Caridan, a social media company, as well as the founding of Degree Venue, a search marketing company.  All of these entities help education companies cost efficiently and market to potential  students over the Internet. XL Education is now one of the largest players in this fast growing space. We are now building out our second vertical in online direct marketing via Sterling interactive Marketing.

How would you describe your online brand?

Today’s Internet brand is less important than your ability to interact with your potential customer. Distribution and channel are much more important, until you reach the size of an Expida or a Wirefly.

How has knowing the right people improved your career and your business?

The people I have been able to build relationships with have been the key to any success I have enjoyed in business. Whether it’s the people who work with me including customers, vendors, mentors, or board members.

I will never forget John Sculley, former CEO of Apple and Pepsi and my mentor, taking me to San Francisco my first sales road show for InPhonic thirteen years ago, he took the time to walk me in to some of the biggest names in the Internet’s CEO’s offices and cared enough to tell me what he thought I was doing right and wrong. John is still one of my closest friends, partner and board member at CAIVIS.

How have you helped someone network?

One of my closest friends was in the airplane brokerage business  in the mid d 90’s and at that time the Internet was just starting to move from promise to a place where business could be transacted. He and I went out to dinner and I asked him to join me at InPhonic, it took me 3 months to convince him to finally join me as a Director, we worked together night and day to grow InPhonic/Wirefly in to the largest seller of wireless services on the internet, 12 years later he is a division president of one of the largest ecommerce companies in the region and in my opinion one of the best ecommerce managers in the county.

Where do you want your brand to be in 3 years?

We want XL Education Corp. to continue to focus on its online brands like Degree Venue and make them a de facto portal for where students go to figure out which of the 1,800 or so schools and programs we plug into is right for their higher education needs.

What is something most people do not know about you?

I am currently training for a century bike race with my partner Dan Berger. He is a former Ironman and can do 100 miles on his bike in his sleep, not so easy for me, but I’m working on it.

Leave a Comment