Movers and Shakers Interview with Alfred Zaccagnino

Alfred Zaccagnino is the Co-Founder and CEO of H2One and the president and founder of the Samarian Group, a private equity firm based in NYC. His leadership has led to the company’s global evolution by establishing new opportunities for expansion through strategic partnerships in the United States and abroad. As a founding investor and member of the Board of Directors for 14th Round Inc., an inventive product development company, Zaccagnino works closely with the founders and gives direction to 14th Round growth and development. Samarian Group led all financing rounds for the 14th Round, beginning with a Series A at $30M valuation, and most recently a $12M capital raise at a post-money valuation exceeding $260M. Alfred is an esteemed member of the Global Sustainability Network (GSN), a worldwide network of over 500 global change-makers dedicated to eradicating extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change by 2030. 


Tell us your name and a little about yourself. 

My name is Alfred Zaccagnino, founder of Samarian Group and co-founder of Code One, Inc., the parent company to the H2One Hand Sanitizer brand. 


What exactly does your company do?

Samarian Group of Companies makes diversified investments. Samarian Group consists of team members and high-level relationships that span the globe. Our diversity allows our company great flexibility and the ability to rally, even amid the most challenging of circumstances.


What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

Transitioning from a childhood support system consisting of closest family and friends on welfare to a support system today that includes some of the biggest names in finance, and maintaining the same base as a perfectionist in life and in business. Anyone can overcome challenges by ensuring that through good times and bad, you never let down your support system. When problems arise, don’t complain, utilize your energies to persist and rise up.  


What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career? 

For the best life lessons, surround yourself with people who are wiser, more educated, healthier, older than you at times, happier, more determined and focused than you and me, all at the earliest age possible. 

Learn from the mistakes that you make yourself, but also learn from the mistakes of others. It’s easy to talk about successes, but you learn just as much when talking about one’s misfortunes. Some of the greatest successes in the world today were borne from a multitude of dealings that didn’t pan out. Listen to your inner voice and follow signs in life. 


Who are your biggest influences and people you admire and why?

It is difficult to pinpoint. I have learned and been influenced by so many people in the course of my life. From personal to business relationships, I am grateful to and indebted to many for their wisdom and advice. What stands out as my favorites, are those with great work ethics, who I can learn from and grow with. Personal traits that shine, and those who have energies that are positively magnetic. 


None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

When a friend makes a bet on you, especially when you may not qualify in a particular field due to lack of experience, etc., that is a friend for life. I’m lucky enough to have a few of these in my immediate circle.  

In addition, for those of us fortunate enough to have mentors, especially those mentors who watch you from close distances and from afar, there are no words to describe the gratitude you feel in your heart, especially my mentor Charlie Irish who is no longer with us today, although some of my drive and perseverance exists today because of him. 


What do you see as your greatest success in life? 

Barely graduating high school, and with no college experience, then graduating with honors in Air Traffic Control School at 20 years old, then onto working as an air traffic controller in one of the busiest air spaces in the world and never having a “near miss.”


How can people follow your journey? Please list your social media URLs.

Instagram: @alfred.zac

LinkedIn: Alfred Zaccagnino