Client Name: Mike Preminger
Business Name: Forward Forestry LLC
Business Website: https://forward-forestry.com/
Industry: Forest Products
Location: Nashua, NH
SBDC Advisor's Name: Andrea O'Brien
To say Forward Forestry is rooted deeply in friendship would be an understatement. The three founders, CEO Mike Preminger and Co-CTOs Ryan Glossop and Yuval Levy, have been friends for as long as they can remember. Mike and Ryan have been best friends since elementary school and for Mike and Yuval whose mothers were best friends in college, they like to think they’ve known each other since before birth. If friendships this strong are any predictor to the success of Forward Forestry, then the future certainly looks bright.
What Forward Forestry does is simple. If you’re a tree service in Southern New England, Forward Forestry will turn your logs into cash. Essentially, when tree services are burdened with logs lying around their yard, and have enough to fill a truck, the guys at Forward Forestry will find a buyer for the logs, send a truck to pick up the logs, and send the tree service money for said logs. Mike shares, “We wanted to try to build something unique, compelling, and profitable that would have a positive impact on our industry.”
Mike got into forestry in 2019 after receiving his master’s degree from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and moved out to California to work for a forestry firm. He enjoyed the work but observed that the industry was a bit antiquated. He explains, “It's very old fashioned, and I was interested in seeing what innovations could benefit the industry.”
So, he teamed up with Ryan and Yuval (software people) to work on some apps and try a few things. Eventually, they were given the opportunity to participate in a startup accelerator program at Rochester Institute of Technology. As a result, they started working on selling logs. While Forward Forestry formed around 2020, their current business model started just one year ago, and they’re already growing quickly (by 30% month over month) with intentions to keep that going through core workflow automations that will improve existing customer experiences and free up time to welcome new ones.
The current business model Forward Forestry uses is the result of a second accelerator program they participated in thanks to a recommendation from their NH SBDC Business Advisor Andrea O’Brien. It was a forest products accelerator in northern Vermont. “That was one of the best connections Andrea made for us,” says Mike. He was impressed by the work they were doing with that Accelerator, calling it a “one of a kind thing here in the U.S,” adding “there’s nowhere else in the country where they’re trying to bring innovation to the forest products industry.”
Through the NH SBDC, Forward Forestry was searching for resources, and thanks to Andrea, they got plenty. Mike says:
“Andrea was awesome. She really gave us her time, she gave us her thoughts, and tried to open up her contact book to us and send all these connections. We were just looking to talk to people as much as we could and that’s what she did, so that was great.”
Additionally, Andrea connected them with potential investors and informed them of the various grants available. “She definitely sent a lot of stuff our way,” says Mike. Most recently, Andrea connected them to Bangor Savings Bank, where they were able to quickly establish a much-needed line of credit in just two weeks.
Since then, their meetings with Andrea have become less frequent, but they do continue to stay in touch. “She’s really fun to chat with and we still get value out of those meetings even though we’re not doing them regularly anymore,” says Mike.
“Being an entrepreneur is crazy,” Mike shares, “and you definitely don’t know what you’re doing to start out. Without having people who are willing to put a guidepost out there that you can look at and say ‘okay…this is what I should be doing,’ we wouldn’t have made it this far." SBDC is well connected to many different stakeholders in the business community of New Hampshire. It only takes one warm intro to make a big difference, and they are able to make plenty.”