If anyone has a knack for launching startups, it’s Randy Fagundo ’78. He sold his most recent project, a self-serve key duplicating service called Minute Key, to Hillman Group in August 2018. Today, Fagundo serves as president of Hillman Group, overseeing the operation as he begins to also take responsibility for Hillman’s engraving kiosk business.
Fagundo’s move to Boulder, Colo. in 1987 led him to his first startup, a small company called American Coin Merchandising. “A lot of it was luck and timing,” Fagundo said. In 1995, Fagundo and his friend took the company public. They did a secondary offering in 1998, growing the business to $110 million in revenue. By 2004, the company was sold to Coinstar.
Fagundo parted ways with American Coin Merchandising in 2007. But it wasn’t long before he yearned for a new opportunity. An introduction to two brothers who had conceptualized Minute Key led Fagundo to his next exciting venture.
Today, you can find Minute Key kiosks in Walmart, Lowes, Menards and other chains nationwide. “It’s fun to grow a business and even more so to do it a second time, because you know what to expect,” Fagundo said. “It’s certainly more fun, even if it’s not easier.” To aspiring entrepreneurs, Fagundo says to expect lots of highs and lows—and there are as many highs as there are lows. “When you’re starting and growing a business, it’s all about resilience and perseverance,” he said.
But make sure you have enough capital at the start, Fagundo said. “Most startups fail because they don’t have enough money to keep going.”
Fagundo attributes his own staying power to his Gilmour wrestling experience. “My freshman year in high school, I didn’t win a single match. My senior year at Gilmour, I didn’t lose a single match,” he said. “That was a big learning experience for me. I worked hard, didn’t quit and learned how to win.”
Even now, Fagundo never quits.
“Resilience is imperative to being successful in a startup,” he said. “You have to confront reality, be true to yourself and surround yourself with good people who can help you.”