As the saying goes, “birds of a feather flock together”and the notion certainly rings true throughout the sEATz leadership team. A level of trust was formed between CEO and Co-Founder Aaron Knape and CTO and Co-Founder, Craig Ceccanti through an entrepreneurship class at Rice University. The then duo walked away from that time in life taking two different paths to great success though their entrepreneurial spirits brought them back to tandem to tackle the betterment of fan experience at sports games and entertainment venues.
Prior to graduate school at Rice University, Craig Ceccanti doubled down to major both in Computer Science and Information Systems and Decision Sciences at LSU. Unbeknownst to him then, he would make a significant connection with a gentleman who understood how to scale a business with sheer precision, Charles Willis. After receiving his undergraduate degrees, Craig took his first job in Houston to build enterprise-grade software for many notable organizations including the Florida House of Representatives, banking institutions, and many Oil and Gas companies. He then spent time cutting his teeth on the coding itself and soon after, Craig moved into a business analyst position where he described it as “figuring out what to build”, which then evolved into project management of major software teams. Around this time, he had decided to move forward with his graduate degree at Rice University and give one of his business ideas a real shot, Pinot’s Palette.
A franchise-owned infrastructure now in over 25 states and dozens of cities across America, Craig called on his long-time friend from LSU, Charles Willis. Together, they started with one idea and one location. Craig recalled that their success was due in large part to volunteer work over the years as he smiled in remembrance of the many early mistakes they made. Knowing very little, if anything, they navigated logistics, supply chain management, leasing and commercial real estate and many other facets of business. It was as if every new day brought another challenge that only drove their hunger to make it bigger, better, more efficient.
Entrepreneurs are often described as gluttons for punishment though Craig would argue that it’s all in the management. “Being able to identify your own work style and use that to its advantages, while surrounding yourself and your company with others that possess the strengths to your weaknesses has all to do with the success of any company,” he says. Entrepreneurship can be humbling some days, riveting others and is why he became a strong advocate for the EOS or rather, Entrepreneurial Operating System. A set of practical tools and practices, this type of initiative paid dividends for their organization.
Most entrepreneurs enjoy the idea of “running it back” once they’ve achieved success in their first endeavor, as was the case when Aaron Knape re-entered the scene with the idea of sEATz, a fan engagement and mobile ordering platform in-game or during-event. From then until now, Craig described his appreciation for a seasoned leadership team at sEATz and was pleased to be able to bring his past resources and experience to expedite growth and scale for sEATz. Craig’s deep knowledge, drive for business, and first-hand experience of success at a high level contributes heavily to the rapid advancements of the sEATz brand.