Conversations with Innovators — Q&A with Carl Dorvil of NMS Capital



This week we are talking with entrepreneur and investor Carl Dorvil, Vice President of NMS Capital, a global capital advisory firm. As a Dallas-area native, Carl began a tutoring company from his dorm room on the campus of Southern Methodist University that grew to help thousands of students and generate millions of dollars in revenue. Since then, Carl has made numerous investments in businesses including, but not limited to, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Dallas Angel Network, and Orange Leaf Yogurt. In addition to his career accomplishments, Carl is never too busy to inspire and mentor entrepreneurs and is a frequent motivational speaker.

1. Your company, Group Excellence, began in your dorm room at Southern Methodist University. Since then, you have worked with thousands of students and made millions of dollars in revenue. What quality or personal trait was most helpful in seeing your vision for Group Excellence become a reality?

Persistence! The road will get hard and you will want to stop, but that's the exact moment that you need to keep going. The difference between the good and the great is that if you want to be great you have to keep going. Always know why you created the business - Is it for you family? Is it for yourself? Is it for respect? Make sure you know why because your "why" is what will push you forward when the going gets tough.

2. What do you think is the biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make in attempting to seek investments and launch a startup company?

Some inspiring entrepreneurs make the mistake of viewing running their company as a job, as opposed to a lifestyle. While the word “entrepreneur” sounds like a cool, becoming an entrepreneur is really hard and not everyone is built to become such. An entrepreneurial mindset requires a certain type of DNA and is much more difficult than being an employee.

3. You refer to yourself as an “entrepreneuraholic” due to your passion for creating successful businesses and looking for new business opportunities. What helps you to stay the course in developing a new business venture and remain determined?

The key is stabilizing each business before moving on to the next. Although I am often tempted to do it all at once, one at a time is the best strategy.

4. What do you look for to determine whether you should invest in a company?

I look for a true entrepreneur who possesses passion, desire, and has a plan. I bet on the jockey, rather than the horse.

5. While you offer an extensive book list on your website, if you had to choose one book to recommend to entrepreneurs, what book would you recommend?

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach their Kids about Money that the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki

6. You have countless accomplishments and have invested in numerous businesses including Arena Pharmaceuticals, Dallas Angel Network, Freestone National Resources, MyEasyHQ, and Orange Leaf Yogurt, just to name a few. What do you consider to be your greatest entrepreneurial accomplishment?

Being able to create jobs for people is what I consider one of my greatest achievements. I’ve been fortunate to have created over 2,000 jobs (some part-time).

7. Carl, you often speak about selecting your personal board of directors. What do you consider to be the most important factor regarding assembling your personal board of directors?

Creating a diverse board is important. You should have some people who are older than you, some who are younger than you, some in your field, and some in other fields. As a result, you’ll gain unique perspectives on different issues.

8. Many startup companies and entrepreneurs become frustrated with raising money to fund their business. What advice can you offer regarding funding a startup company?

I have a four-step guide to getting funding that was published on last year that holds true. I recommend the following steps: (1) Explain clearly how the company makes money; (2) Explain the management team – qualified people who are running the company; (3) Explain your competitive advantage; and (4) Investors want to buy companies that are on sale – prove your company’s worth with numbers.

9. What’s next for Carl Dorvil?

I've started a financial business, and I really want to buy a few financial advisor firms and compete in the asset management space.

10. If you had not become an entrepreneur and investor, what career path would you have chosen?

I would have become a lawyer.

For Conversations with other thought leaders and innovators, see innovator Teresa Jackson of Sharing Life and innovator Davis Schriefer of teleCalm.

For more information about related legal issues, read our Professional Services industry page.  


Want to be featured?

About the Firm:

Klemchuk LLP is a litigation, intellectual property, transactional, and international business law firm dedicated to protecting innovation. The firm provides tailored legal solutions to industries including software, technology, retail, real estate, consumer goods, ecommerce, telecommunications, restaurant, energy, media, and professional services. The firm focuses on serving mid-market companies seeking long-term, value-added relationships with a law firm. Learn more about experiencing law practiced differently and our local counsel practice. 

The firm publishes Intellectual Property Trends (latest developments in IP law), Conversations with Innovators (interviews with thought leaders), Leaders in Law (insights from law leaders), Culture Counts (thoughts on law firm culture and business), and Legal Insights (in-depth analysis of IP, litigation, transactional, and international law).