From Slooooow Growth to Hypergrowth with Collibra and Insight Partners (Video + Transcript)

How does a startup that launched during the financial crisis in 2008 become a unicorn company in 2019? For Collibra, a cross-organizational data governance platform, the company went from slow growth to hypergrowth. Felix Van de Maele, Co-Founder and CEO of Collibra, will be joined by Teddie Wardi, Managing Director of Insight Partners, to unpack how he built a unicorn company from idea to conception to record growth. Felix will share insights on how he founded Collibra in Belgium, successfully relocated the company headquarters to New York City, and raised $233 million total in venture capital to become a unicorn company.

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Felix Van de Maele | Co-Founder and CEO @ Collibra

Teddie Wardi | Managing Director @ Insight Partners

FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW

Felix: We specialize in data governance and data cataloging. We help companies understand what data they have, where they can find it, and ultimately that they can really trust it. Product-market fit has been really important. We’ve been growing like crazy and then you really feel when you find that it changes everything. People make the difference. You can’t do it alone. The people you hired, the culture you make, the first 10, 20 hires really make the rest of the culture of the company. If you would compare to the before Collibra and after Collibra. What’s the big difference?

Teddie: Well I can sleep at night now.

Teddie: Felix, welcome.

Felix: Thank you.

Teddie: The first time SaaStr.

Felix: First time SaaStr. Exciting.

Teddie: So, we’re going to talk about today about the Collibra journey and how you’re an 11-year overnight success. So, you just raised your series E one of the European software unicorns, congrats on that.

Felix: Thank you.

Teddie: But a lot of hard work and blood, sweat, and tears have gone to that success. I assume. So let’s start with the origin story of the company. When, when did you guys initially get it founded and what was the business you started with?

Felix: Yeah, sure. So we started in 2008 June, 2008 I think and in three days we would celebrate our 11th birthday. So it’s been awhile. We raised our seed funding in August, 2008 just I think the month before everything almost broke down and we started as of very small for a humble, like probably most startups actually we started as a spinoff from the university of Brussels, where the four founders were doing research on semantic technology. So out of university, purely academic. My first job out of school, 23 years old, but we believe that data was really important. That the problem was that we were one of the few people that actually believe that data was important at the time. It’s interesting to see how much has changed over the last 10 years, but in 2008 it was a very different time I think. I remember talking to Belgium investors at the time and everybody said, look, enterprise software is dead, there’s no opportunity through investment.

Felix: There’s no way to be successful with enterprise software. The term SaaS didn’t even exist yet and there was no big data.

Teddie: There was no SaaS, there was no SasStr,

Felix: No SaaStr, right. I mean the lack of resources and playbooks was just so very different. I think we’re still the reps to that O era where it was about flicker and Twitter and that was like the hot thing at the time. But we are really convinced about, okay, data’s important. We want to do something there. So we started coming out of the university I think at not a best practice, but we really had no idea what problem we really wanted to solve. We had interest in technology, a lot of background that of research, like what problem did we really want to solve? And so ultimately it took us four years to really kind of find a, have prove the, the, the idea I would say.

Felix: I think that’s how I think about it in stages. So it took us a long time. Initially we started focusing on semantic technology, semantic integration. Nobody had any clue what we were talking about. So it was really hard to raise money as well. But then as we kind of worked with customers it really kind of pivoted more towards data governance, which is all about how do you help companies truly trust and get confidence in their data. And in that sense the financial crisis actually was a good thing for us because that was really kind of our beachhead in the market, because suddenly all of the large banks needed to comply to a lot of new regulation, seek RC, BCBS, all of those things, which ultimately are all data regulations. They had to be able to prove to the regulator that it could trust the numbers.

Felix: And so the understand the lineage, the quality, all of that. And so that’s really when we started to see kind of initial success. It was initially compliance focus. But as I said in the beginning, I think over the last 10 years, I think everybody today realizes how important data is. If you’ve read the report from my remaker recently, it was all about data. And so it’s interesting to see how that has changed.

Teddie: And also we’ve seen the BI market that’s been acquisitions at the last.

Felix: Very interesting…

Teddie: Very exciting right now. So you said it took like four years to going to prove out the idea and you know, now the company’s about is a leader in the field of data governance. How did it kind of come about? You mentioned customer problems, did you just work with customers on their first kind of idea and then you found out there’s a problem or did you come up with something and tried to find a market for it?

Felix: No, I think we’ve always been extremely customer focused and so it’s really by listening to our customers, listening, understanding what problem they really had I wanted to solve. That’s how we learned actually just focusing on the business users because suddenly data became a business problem, not just an IT problem anymore thing that created the opportunity for us. And that’s where we kind of dropped everything that we did for a year. Because after the year we had literally zero customers, zero revenue. So we weren’t, I mean in a good place, but that’s why we shifted it. We pivoted focused on data governance folks, mostly on financial services and that’s when it started to kind of grow. It’s interesting because we were a very small company and we were working with the largest companies in the world, so it still takes a long time, hence the of the four years.

Felix: But I think what it has enabled us to do is to really become almost a market leader and build like a mini brand. And I think Jason’s talked about that as well and are very small markets. The other good thing is that nobody believed that this actually was market. It made raising money a lot harder.

Teddie: I was going to ask what is it? Was it the usual cases, if it was easier to convince customers than investors?

Felix: It was a lot easier to invest to convince customers and investors and so we actually, I mean more of a European way of scaling a company. We grew the company to over 10 million in revenue and we were profitable growing at 200%. So that’s not typically what you see today, but that was just of necessity because there was no way we could raise more money. Nobody really understood.

Felix: We had to prove it with customer demands. So I think that’s something that we’ve really, really done, listen to our customers that constantly adapt them. And that’s been ultimately our success.

Teddie: You also executed again when you said you started, there was no SaaS. So you also, during the last 10, 11 years, you did the pivot from license as amendments to SaaS there’s a lot of moving pieces, I assume.

Felix: We thought that you can’t innovate on too many dimensions. And at the time, again, Salesforce was just starting really adding SaaS wasn’t as obvious and centered as it is today. And so we said, okay, we have a very new kind of technology ID that nobody really understands. If we combine it with a business model that nobody really understands, it’s just too much. I don’t understand. So we started with traditional perpetual software, which made it easier to actually get money because there are a lot of cash up front and get to profitability.

Felix: And then kind of as we raised our series B round where we said, okay, let’s try to build a really good and successful company, that’s when we shifted to a hundred percent subscription.

Teddie: I guess you were also selling into sectors and verticals that had been used to buying software as the last license and maybe a little bit slower. It can order subscription.

Felix: Yeah, exactly. Financial services. But again, at the time SaaS wasn’t, subscription wasn’t the norm at all. And so again we would just have added to more kind of friction in the sales cycle and there was a whole video long sales cycle. So that’s how I’m rationalizing it now. Maybe I should have changed it sooner…

Teddie: Makes sense to sell it in a way that the customer wants to buy. That’s a good starting point. And of course that has changed completely. Last, last 5 to 10 years.

Felix: Absolutely.

Teddie: So this word, hypergrowth is mentioned, I think it’s mentioned in a couple of sessions here today. Was there a certain point in time that in the Collibra journey that you just, things just kind of fell in place and the inflection point that you woke up one day was like, I know we’re a hypergrowth company, did that happen or was it just a kind of a smooth transition ….

Felix: Yeah, not really. Unfortunately. I mean it’s, I think there’s a lot of different points and it’s like pushing a really difficult like ball or something and it’s every push that counts and it’s not like suddenly everything goes easy. It’s like you have to keep pushing. And again, if I think about the stages we went through, I think it’s first like a proven the idea and it took four years. Then it’s about proving your product and we really build a product.

Felix: So that’s when you start to actually get, get more customers, get them more, reputable, repeatability and kind of proving the market. That’s when we found product market fit. And again, that’s not just a binary thing. Like one day you haven’t, and then the next day you have, I think we found first product market fit and financial services, which was great because that’s what you start to see deals going quicker. You build a brand in that industry, but then we always were always convinced. Look, this is not just about compliance, it’s about every vertical. And so we had to do the same thing in other verticals and that took a lot longer. And then the value proposition changes because it’s not about regulatory and compliance, it’s all about now is AI and machine learning and analytics and so on. And so it’s a continuous thing.

Felix: But you do see theres different phases and every phase. That’s why we talk about an attorney at the company as well. Every phase almost requires you to build a different company. And it’s really interesting to think about it as well. And I use that as an analogy to talk about a lot of the change that we have in the company because that’s absolutely the hardest thing. If you think about hypergrowth, everything just starts breaking to really say, okay, as we improve the product that what is the thing that we now need to prove and accomplish? It’s all about proving the product… proving that we can actually build something that, that people, that people want to not sell the ID and proving the market is all about proving the product market fits. And then the next one that we best now is proving a business model. And it’s all about proving that your unit economics work, right? And so with every stage is a different kind of milestone.

Teddie: And, and on the investor side of things like you said that it’s really hard to raise money in the beginning. I mean in many SaaS companies there’s, this switch actually happens that, you know, first it’s super hard to get anyone to invest and then at some point there’s so much supply and investors are, you know, showing up at your office and try to get in. Was there a clear point in transition there? Was it a series B or when did it get easier?

Felix: Yeah, I think the series or series A was the hardest to race we were almost running out of money. We were still very early. It was still kind of nobody could, understand, understood the market and the problem we’re solving. So it was really betting on as a team, as a founders, although when a series A at that point, typically, especially today, although the names kind of changed over time.

Teddie: Although serious A, in Europe today…

Felix: We raised a million euros for a series A, thats probably seed right now. That was really hard. Again, we couldn’t go international because it’s too early and so we were restricted to Belgium and it’s very, very few investors in Belgium. So that was hard because there’s probably like three or four potential investors and then series B was a lot easier because that’s, we were profitable, we were growing really quickly.

Felix: We clearly had market fit and traction and that became a lot easier. And then I think the other one was a bit harder because we made a transition from perpetual to subscription, which kind of screws up all your metrics. That’s what you have to explain it to investors and it doesn’t kind of easily fit in their categories. And then the other thing we really had to overcome, like I said before, is proving to investor, that it’s not just a compliance and financial services play, but it’s really across every vertical. And again, we had to prove that with the data. And now that we’ve done that, it became a lot easier. And again, like now everybody understands the value and the importance of data.

Teddie: So how long did it take you to raise the series E?

Felix: Series E, I think a week or so.

Teddie: You mentioned there’s different phases of, of building the business and those phases being pretty compressed when you’re in the hypergrowth mode. What does it mean for the management team? I’m sure as many founders growing really fast, they’ve had to upgrade the team. Has there been some kind of methodology that or how you have your promotion?

Felix: Yeah, and that’s what I tell every founder and I’m sure you’ve heard it many times over the last two days and before. I’m at I’ve lived through it I think building your management team is the most important thing you need to do and it’s super, super hard. Probably the hardest thing you needed to do and you need to do. And for us, it was really in 2015 we had to go through this transition and I call it a transition moving from a founder led company to an management or executive lead company, and that’s a super difficult transition because anyway, it doesn’t mean the founders aren’t there anymore when I say important anymore, but that’s where you hired like a CRO, CMO. That’s where your majority of your, of your management team is external people.

Felix: And that really hard because you have to make really tough decisions that only you as a CEO can do and need to do. I think if you don’t do them, you’re not doing your job. But it’s super, super hard. I remember I was waking up during the night for months on end because I, and the one way I know what I had to do, I just didn’t want to do it because these are the people that brought you to where you are. You’ve worked so closely with them, they’ve done so much for the company and sometimes you have to make these really difficult decisions. Until my wife told me like, Felix, you have to do something. This is not sustainable. And I think that’s really, really difficult. But it’s, it’s frankly, if you, if you wouldn’t have done that, there’s no way we would be where we are today.

Felix: And really I’ve lived through it now your life as a CEO becomes so much easier. I was the only one going to board meetings. I felt like I was the only one doing all of the raises. It felt a lot of weight is on your shoulders. And I got a certain point in time again, we were almost, we were doing it for eight years. You almost burn out. And so it’s so important to be able to kind of spread the weight and the pressure a little bit and I think that’s where really that’s I think one of the real values that a great investor can add is by showing you what great people look like. Cause frankly I just had no idea. I thought the people that we had were amazing and they are amazing.

Felix: No question, but it’s just a different stage. And so you start in Belgium, that’s your context that I want you to talk to like CMOs, CRO, CFOs of valley companies that have scaled to billions of dollars. I think that’s when you really see there’s a difference.

Teddie: Finding an understanding of what great looks like. If you don’t, don’t know that, then how can they evaluate.

Felix: Exactly then how do you really know like why should I do this? And I think it’s still a difficult decision. But I think that was really important and really helpful. And I think one of the really good things that I did is hire a chief people officer early because again, in hypergrowth people problems are the majority of our problems and that’s where everything starts really breaking down. And so I think first I hired the wrong chief people officer, which are typically make these mistakes, you just have to fix them quickly.

Felix: And then we hired somebody great who seen high-scale who came from Yahoo and LinkedIn and that has been really, really transformational for me and the company. So I think that was a, in hindsight really good move. So I would definitely recommend focusing on kind of your people in HR departments really early thinking more than just recruiting like HR, business partners, org planning, executive recruiting I think is really, really pretty important.

Teddie: You also moved the company headquarters from Belgium to New York.

Felix: Yes.

Teddie: Can you tell us a little bit about why New York? How did you decide when was the right time to do it and any use of what went right? What went wrong in kind of that initial setup?

Felix: Yeah. So legally we’re still a Belgium company. So legal headquarters is still Brussels operational headquarters, where management is … commercial perspective.

Teddie: All your VPs, CXOs are pretty much as New York.

Felix: Yeah. So again going back to kind of our believe follow the customer, be really, really customer focused and it’s one of our values. We just follow their customers. We are profitable sensory, we go to Boston to the Valley, but most of our customers at the time were in New York financial services. So we follow with our customers. We opened a small sales office in Wework. And that’s one of the things I really believe. I think it has to have a founder or quasi founder move as well because you need to be able to transplant some of that DNA. Otherwise, I’ve seen companies like they stay wherever they are in Europe and they hire VP sales and then it doesn’t work out with you lose a year and that can really kill the company. And so I think you need that DNA because in the beginning, like the selling is an art it’s not a science yet.

Felix: It’s too early. And so two of our founders moved. I was actually the last founder to move because I ran product for the longest name. So that’s how we did it and decided to build like really small team. Three people, 10 people. Ultimately you had 50 people and we work and we had our own office.

Teddie: But how many today?

Felix: Total 500 and about 150 or 170 in New York city.

Teddie: How was your experience in you finally also moving to New York. Did you see any issues of let’s say the Europe region started to fall back if there’s no founders along there are not enough attention because that’s what I often say at the Europe, US companies at the region that gets most attention of from the founder is the one that does well. And then the other one is kind of falling behind.

Felix: It’s not easy. It was a big thing when I moved, it was like emotionally for the team in Belgium, a big thing. Now, one of the founders moved back to Brussels, but we are very kind of spread around. We have a still a big engineering, most engineering human in Brussels. We have a big engineering team in Poland. Sales our marketing for Europe is mostly in London where we have about 35. People in here in Paris. So it’s spread around and I can tell you US sales people versus European engineers, very different and so you have to manage that right? I think be really thoughtful and explicit about the culture, values. Again, that’s why I like a chief people officer can really help, but you have to be like prescriptive about everything and the beginning, everything kind of works, but now it’s like how do you actually do communication?

Felix: How do you talk town halls or all hands meetings, all of those things you need to be really thoughtful about and it’s still not easy. I think our biggest town is still today. I mean I think it’s great to have engineering in Europe and so on. A thing that works well. The challenge for us is still how do you make sure your engineering team has also that customer intimacy because then they’re not as connected and you need to solve for that. So we’ve made a bunch of mistakes there, not hiring or product managers, for example, a concrete example. We waited way too long to have product management also partly in the US with too close to the engineering team.

Teddie: So you have PMs in the US now?

Felix: We have product management US, product manager in Belgium.

Teddie: No engineer. No engineers in the US?

Felix: Not yet, no.

Teddie: So you’re saying that’s often the question that companies who move from Europe to US are talking about like Kenny, you actually have PMs in one geography and engineers and another one. So it sounds like you kind of made that work.

Felix: Yeah, but it’s pretty recent. So I recently hired a chief product officer in the US and I think it’s really depends on how you define the product management role and professor’s product owner. So there’s a lot of details there, but we believe ultimately we do enterprise software, right? Again, it depends on your go to market more than swarm, but it’s really enterprise software. It’s large use it biggest companies in the world. So having product managers really close to our customers, like a wide globe way is important. And you felt that problem and or sales team was really struggling because they, it wasn’t a fair competition to some of our competitors actually had product managers be able to visit the customers.

Felix: That makes the biggest big difference because if you think about how customers trust, they don’t trust a sales rep. It’s rest of presales a little bit. But they really trust the product management and they really trust the engineer. But it’s hard to get your engineer there.

Teddie: And when you were ramping up the US operation and getting the first large customers in the US did you feel any gap that you, the US enterprises like didn’t trust a European vendor and they would prefer locals or is the world flat and.

Felix: Yeah, I think it was the world’s flat and we had to really convince our initial investors that we wanted to go to the US like from the beginning. I think the good thing about starting in Belgium is that you realize the country is so small that there’s no way you can stay there. But we did it over the phone initially. So we just take off first or third or second customer globally was a US customers on the West coast?

Felix: What we did is we went to events and most of our events around our topic were at US. So our leads were a US leads. So we stayed up late at night calling the leads, qualifying the leads, doing the demos, the webinars. And then as we went to events, we tried to stay a week longer at be able to visit customers and we actually closed quite a lot of real enterprise customers just over the phone from a small 15 person Belgian startup. So I mean that works. It’s not easy but it works. And that’s when we actually, once we had like five, six, seven customers, we actually opened an office.

Teddie: You mentioned competition earlier. So Collibra is operating in a market where instead of having a couple of startups and on the same stage you are at a competing with like really large incumbent software vendors that have been around for you know, decades.How do you operate in that kind of environment? Like how do you approach category creation? How do you outmaneuver these larger companies who have seemingly unlimited resources to put into things like field sales and social engineering and all these things.

Felix: I think it’s a little easier to compete with IBM and who beat it. Well funded Silicon Valley startups. So I think that was a good thing. Like having a really boring subject or being boring market data, golfers, not super sexy, it’s really important. But so we only at the beginning, most [inaudible 00:21:04], Informatica, IBM, SAP, and I think our focus makes all the difference. Given that we came from academia, we had a lot of credibility and authenticity because the only reason a big bank is going to buy from you, a small Belgian startup versus IBM, it goes because IBM absolutely cannot do what they need to do, but they really trusted us and so I’d like to make that made it easier.

Felix: We were able to build that mini brand in our very initially small markets. I think that was really valuable. I think what we did is also we involved like thought leaders in our space. We made them our channel. So for free we did webinars, they spoke for free. Again Collibra was like ultimately the only vendor that actually did that, the big one say to do it, but everybody knows it just slide ware it doesn’t really work. And so actually it was relatively easy for it. I mean, I don’t want to say relatively easy. It was hard but I think I prefer a competing with IBM than competing with startups….

Teddie: And in terms of the marketing that goes into this, a lot of European software companies that I work with that they’ll go to the US they say that hiring a CMO is the hardest thing right after it’s, CRL being the second one. But what’s your view? Was it hard to kind of get the marketing right, especially in the US or was it something that somehow came natural?

Felix: No it was hard. It was hard. I mean it’s, so we on our second CMO right now and I think a CMO, it’s really important that you know what you want….

Teddie: You’re supposed to be honest. If you’re only on the second one actually like they’re probably better than most of the companies in ….

Felix: And I think it’s important to know what you want that what you need. I think CMO, a product marketing CMOs, very different from a brand in corporate messaging. CMO is very different from a demand CMO, so I think it’s important to know what you want. Also based on your go to market model is a transactional more enterprise, but it’s a super, super difficult hire.

Felix: I think for us our CRO was in a way more important because it’s a very high touch sales model so it’s not a transactional sales where it’s all about creating huge amounts of inbounds so that might change what you prioritize versus the other. But a CMO is a CMOs hard.

Teddie: And also there’s often a lot of discussion like for companies operating across the US in Europe. What are the global roles where the global roles and how do you structure the regional leadership? So it seems like all your global leaders are in New York. Do you have VPs under them? Let’s say you have a European VP sales as well, or how is that structured area?

Felix: We are completely functionally organized. So we have chief revenues, chief marketing, CFO’s, chief people officer, the chief product officer, engineering. And then we don’t have really country managers. It’s just functionally we have a VP presales VP, post-sales, VP demand gen, so VPs underneath and they have their teams going to spread around. It has pros and cons. I think the benefit is that you can go really fast and execute really quickly. The challenge that we’ve found is that people, by being really functionally organized, they tend to work in their silos a little bit more and so that’s then what you’ve got to compensate for. I think as certain teams start to grow in certain locations, now we’re thinking like should they have country managers, GMs. I was still trying to figure that out. Yeah,

Teddie: I guess the org chart is always evolving. Plus this, the approach you went from the beginning or did you transition to this, the, did you have this structure from the beginning? From the moment you went the year?

Felix: I think from the beginning we were very functionally organized and just kept splitting up we have VP sales, EMEA, VP, Southwest VP sales at East and kind of aligning to that model right now.

Teddie: So you’ve been selling in both continents? For quite awhile. So there’s this saying that people often say that deal sizes in Europe are smaller than the US in the same sector and sales takes longer in your markets. Have you seen any kind of just behavioral differences of in Southern Europe versus US.

Felix: Besides from a sales perspective? A little bit. I think most of our largest customers, our US customers are our first million dollar deal was a big thing for us was a US company. We do bigger deals, mostly financial services at London and you could argue at a day, those are really a UK companies, European companies, US companies, global couple of companies here. But we do see slightly smaller deals in Europe. And actually so we first gone to the US and actually gone back to Europe to start expanding in Europe. So in the beginning it was just, we had a US and we had like UK, like the big markets and that’s when we, after that is only when we started to go at France we are just starting in Germany. So we actually really found it easier to actually expand in the US then to start expanding in different countries in Germany or in Europe.

Teddie: So reflecting on your kind of story with Collibra the really slow phase, the idea search phase and then in a first four, five years and then the last three, four years of, of real hypergrowth for founders who feel that they are in the slow phase. Like do you have any, any frameworks or tips on how are you going to recognize is success just around the corner? Should you just keep doing what you’re doing? Should you try to pivot or should you fold any tips on how to think about them?

Felix: Yeah, and it’s really hard.

Teddie: I mean it must’ve been tough when you’re the year three or four mark.

Felix: You’re three or four. I mean it felt to us that we are constantly making improvements and it was, things were improving and that’s I think what you really try to understand why you might not be like the hockey stick that everybody expected to be. One, it’s typically never the case. So I mean don’t panic if things take longer, they do take longer. I think for us what we felt was that this is a really new and early market. I think it’s different if you go in an existing market where you have a lot of competitors and if your competitors are growing quicker than you are, then you’ve got to ask yourself, okay, why is that? But for us it was really about, okay the market is not mature enough. And I think for us what we saw is that the market kept maturing pretty rapidly.

Felix: I think now looking back, I think the big proxy there is we sell typically into the chief data officers, I think the first chief data officer that was ever hired was at capital one in 2002 and 2008 we started Collibra in 2010 so two years after we started Collibra world, there were 15 chief data offices, one five and in 2014 there were 400. And in 2017 there were 4,000 and now there’s 10 thousands so you see how the markets really blew up and I think that’s for has been able to continue that growth and we saw that happening and so we were always confident. Look we on the right path is you’re sticking longer let’s keep going. And I think any.

Teddie: Timing, everything, but you saw movement in the market that the trends are like going in the right direction and that gave you confidence that you’re kind of working on the right things.

Felix: Exactly. Like our hypothesis around data is really important. If it is new role being created at, you’d be sought up playing out. Of course like your sales are lagging because it’s, again, it’s a 12 month sales cycle in the beginning and so it takes time. But we saw the market maturing more and more interest was coming. AI machine learning was happening, the data was happening, analytics was happening, so and now it’s privacy. So we saw all these like tailwinds improving for us and that gave us the confidence to kind of keep going. And I think that’s how you figure it out. There’s like understand the why as much as possible and it’s always easier looking back at then if you’re in the middle of everything, it’s super hard.

Teddie: And on the fundraising front when you started, it was right around the financial crisis and you know, you’re in a region, a small region in Europe, seed rounds back then were like to be talking about hundreds of thousands of euros versus now, seed rounds are in the millions. What’s your sense of, you know, having raised a little money in the beginning? Was that a good thing in a way because it forced you to be very scrappy and kind of find it, find a way or let’s say that if you actually had raised a much, much larger amount of seed money, do you think you would have ended up in a better place or the same place or?

Felix: No, I don’t think that was a good thing ultimately for us because like finding the product market fit, market maturity, you cannot solve that in the money and the last thing you want to do is spend more money because it’s money down the drain. You create all these expectations that you then can’t fulfill. It’s really not a place where you want to be.

Teddie: Am I going to actually kind of create this fuse? You have to prove something much faster so you can see it’s hard to get investors to give you like a four or five year exploratory window of trying to make something work.

Felix: Exactly, if you were only raised like a million and a half, we were profitable. So we actually had the time to prove it out and then we saw like, look, this is taking over, then raise our series B, and that’s when we kind of hit the gas and now we’ve raised an a 230 million. It’s incredible to see once you go to the US how expensive things work. And scaling is expensive. Things starting is not necessarily expensive, but once you’ve found product market fit, you start scaling. It becomes really expensive.

Teddie: Thank you, Felix.

Felix: Thank you.

Published on November 28, 2019

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