[Q] What unexpected advantages did PreSonus benefit from that could only be found in Louisiana?
[A] I was born and raised in Baton Rouge. My family was in the civil engineering business in Louisiana, and this inspired me to remain a local business. I am also a graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU) in Electrical and Computer Engineering, so there was really nowhere else I would rather live. Louisiana Economic Development was a huge part of helping us get off the ground with training and support, both economically and academically. We were also fortunate to meet Kevin Couhig of Source Capital within our first year in business. Kevin invested in our company in 1995 and has been our Chairman of the Board and advisor ever since. Without his support and deep wisdom, we would have never made it through the pains of creating a manufacturing company from nothing into a global brand.
[Q] What challenges did you face in the development phase of PreSonus and how did you overcome them?
[A] We began development of our first product in a borrowed warehouse, having only evenings to work on the designs. Our first challenge was to placate our families to allow us to work 16-hour days. The technical achievements and innovations we invented were through a process of design-build-test cycles. Being LSU graduates helped us tremendously, as we had broad training for the fundamentals of our effort, which eventually led to a stable, functioning product. Our lack of experience in mass-production was also a hurdle that restrained us for the first few years.
[Q] What is PreSonus doing that no other company is doing?
[A] PreSonus has created a unique set of technologies, that we call Active Integration, to simplify the processes of music creation, sound production and cloud-based marketing. Our customers now expect products to communicate freely, which was not the case in the past. PreSonus has created end-to-end solutions that make these processes effortless, whether you’re working in CD production, on a movie set, in a concert hall, in a church or school, or in the launch and distribution of a media asset.
[Q] How does PreSonus impact the Louisiana economy?
[A] PreSonus has a network of companies and distributors that span the globe. We ship to over 60 countries and maintain subsidiaries in the U.S., Asia and Europe. We manage these assets in Baton Rouge, where we employ approximately 85 individuals. We hire local engineers and have invested in technical programs at LSU. Our company supports local events, has a global user conference in Baton Rouge each year and works with local schools to support media-production education.
[Q] What would you say to those entrepreneurs who think they cannot be successful here?
[A] Seek help early in the development process of your product or service. This could save months in your time-to-market windows. New product releases by entrepreneurs are accelerating, with innovative and unique approaches to problems being solved in elegant ways. Louisiana has everything you need to start your company, and what you can’t source here can be found by outsourcing to the global community. The advantages of being in a smaller community are many, including the opportunity to stand out in ways that would be impossible in a large metro area. That said, New Orleans and Baton Rouge have a growing wealth of talented knowledge workers who are hungry for new challenges.