Affinity Tech Solutions

Affinity Tech Solutions serves the Healthcare, Financial, Legal, Construction, and Not-For-Profit industries helping them support and maintain their technology and cybersecurity.

Written by: Diane Sears




Computer Systems Design and Related Services


Lake County


286% increase from
2017 – 2021


167% increase from
2017 – 2020

Jeremy Valverde


Talk about how you started the company. Was there an “Aha” moment that led to your entrepreneurial journey?

My dad was an entrepreneur, and I’ve always known I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I fell in love with computers before high school. The moment it hit me that I was going to start an IT business was when I was a health care consultant on a contract for a software company, teaching classes at a hospital, and I was in a hotel room in Liverpool. I was working crazy hours, with my wife and kids at home, and I thought, “You know, there is an opportunity in Central Florida to start an IT company. That would allow me to stay home and see my kids grow up and not have to travel as much.”

So I actually stayed up almost all night that night writing up the business plan on how it would work — how we’d do marketing, what kinds of business we’d go after. There was a football game that night, and people were flooding the streets until early morning, with the police chasing them down, and I was in my hotel room focused on my business plan. My son was six months old when I started traveling for work, and the next thing I knew he was 5. My oldest went from 4 to 9, and there was so much that happened that I missed out on.

It still took a couple of years for me to get out there and start my business. My dad said to me, “You can do it,” so that kick-started me. My wife and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on a cruise, and eight days later I came home and switched over.

Talk about the business and the value it brings to your customers.

We’re an IT managed services company. We bring peace of mind and security to small and medium-sized businesses. These are businesses that typically aren’t large enough to have full-time IT staff, and we partner with them to make sure their security is where it needs to be and they’re meeting their regulatory requirements. If they have IT issues, the employees have our phone number to call so they don’t have to keep bugging the business owner.

We primarily focus on private medical offices. We understand how doctors’ offices work and the responsibilities of office managers and HIPAA requirements. We guarantee to respond to any support requests within 15 minutes.

We have eight employees. Hiring technicians for this kind of role is a little unique. They have to be quick on their feet and be able to support multiple clients and switch directions at the drop of a hat. It’s not like working for one company with one set of software and services. We work for 40 companies with all different environments, and it’s not uncommon for our techs to touch five, 10, or even 15 networks in a day.

What are the benefits of operating in Florida for your future growth plans?

One of the things that’s worked really well for us, specifically in Lake County and The Villages, is that this is one of the top retirement destinations in the country. We have a lot of doctors’ offices here to support the retirement-age population, so we have a very big market to go after.

Also, being in Florida is great business-wise because of the way the taxes work and because we’re a right-to-work state. I talk to colleagues in California and other states, and some of the processes they have to go through when they’re working through staff turnover is tougher because of the regulations.

What have been your biggest challenges, and what keeps you up at night as a business owner?

The threat of cyberattacks. We invest a lot of money, time, training, tools and security products to keep our clients protected. We’re in a position where one wrong decision is not just detrimental to us but to our clients.

Anytime we’re in a heightened security awareness, we’ll let the clients know there’s a new vulnerability we’ve found and we’re making sure everything is protected.

Another thing that has kept me up at night is the realization that growth is expensive. When we started Affinity Tech Solutions six years ago, it was me in a truck putting in 40 hours a week. For the first three or four years, we doubled the business every year. I think our slowest growth was last year, and it was 20%, and that was during the pandemic. We’ve done it all self-funded over the last six years, and that’s the way we want to continue doing it.

We’ve overcome that by keeping mine and my wife’s salaries low. For the first three years, we didn’t travel or go on vacation at all. It was important to make personal sacrifices to get to where we are today.

Our goal is to continue to grow. Part of that is wanting to provide good-paying jobs in Lake County. In Eustis, every position we have is above the median income.

What has been your proudest moment as CEO?

One of the best moments was after we hired our dispatcher, Nancy. The dispatcher position is critical, serving as the face of our company. We were at a point where we were getting pretty overwhelmed. We weren’t always as responsive as we wanted to be. We just didn’t have time.

When we hired Nancy, the feedback we got from our clients and the improvement in our clients’ happiness with us was immediate. It was a nontechnical role at a time when we had only three techs full time including me, and another one part-time, and I had wondered whether I should hire another tech. But adding that communication position made all the difference to the clients because they knew they were heard.

What does it mean to you to be selected as a GrowFL Company to Watch honoree?

It’s really, really cool. My wife and I both work in the business full time. We look back at the sacrifices we’ve made, working long hours, and this is a little bit of justification for that. It shows we’re doing something right.

What do you think it means to your employees?

I think it gives them a little bit of comfort and validation. When you see the rapid growth we’ve gone through and the things that have happened with that rapid growth, everything is not always perfect. But we’re a small business, and I think it gives them a little bit of comfort knowing that they made a good choice and we’re going to be here awhile.

Is there’s anyone you’d like to thank?

My wife Ashley, first and foremost, for supporting me on this crazy adventure of stepping out of a paid position and going cold turkey into a brand-new startup. And my dad who had to say “Go do this” and give me a little kick.

As far as mentorship, I joined a peer group a little over two years ago through a company we use for marketing, and one of the things I learned is that we’re in an industry that is not cutting edge. There are a lot of us out there, so we have to be the best. We have to invest in our people and keep up with technology.  

Investing time to participate in a group where I learn from other business owners across the country has been huge in helping us scale and grow our company. I’ve got friends now in California, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, St Louis, Kansas City. We talk every week and ask each other whether we’ve ever run into something similar to what we’re experiencing.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are thinking of starting out?

I wish I had recognized and appreciated all of the low-cost and free advice out there, whether it’s from other business owners, SCORE, local chambers of commerce or other resources. There are others in the community who are looking to mentor because they’ve been there and done that.

I know I would be further along if I had realized that sometimes as entrepreneurs, we have this brilliant idea, the greatest idea ever, but there may be aspects of business-to-business marketing, selling or other processes that you can’t ignore. When you’re starting a business, you have to really put time, effort and energy into getting it right. The challenges we face when we cross the million-dollar mark are different from the challenges we face when we cross the $200,000 mark or the $5 million mark. At every stage, you have to find people who are smarter than you who have been there, done that, or you’re going to keep spinning your wheels and wasting time, effort, money and good people on issues that are easy to solve.

"The other thing I would mention for entrepreneurs is to watch over the people who are working for you, because they are the lifeblood of your business. Once you grow to a certain point, you can’t operate without them."

Celebrate with the Affinity Tech Solutions team!

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