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Customer Funded Growth

Posted by Nish on October 21, 2011
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 Lately it seems like I can’t scroll through a single page of TechCrunch or other leading tech industry blog without reading about another eye-popping funding round. Rounds in the tens or hundreds of millions, for companies that have proven business models like Dropbox, Box and Twitter. And some pretty big rounds for companies that are still working through the trial & error of figuring out their business model.

 

This morning I came across this article highlighting Gary Vaynerchuk’s reaction at a recent Bloomberg Techstars show. Seemed like he was concerned, and maybe even a little put off by the applause that was freely given to startups that were focused on raising money and the lack of applause for the startups that were instead focused on making money. Here is a video of his comment on Celebrating the Fundraise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxaMoeu6O_Q&feature=player_embedded

 

 


And lately there has been a significant uptick in the number of calls we are getting from VCs and private equity types. Even some of the Tier 1 VC firms are calling. Its certainly flattering as some of them have called us based on some of the companies in their investment portfolios saying “we use ConceptShare and you have to see what those guys are up to.”

 

Its got me thinking about our own funding strategy. Right now we definitely fall into that group of companies that isn’t spending time raising big, eye-popping rounds of funding -or even a small round. So no applause for us except from maybe guys like Gary.

 

Right now we are very comfortable using what we think is the best funding source available.

 

Our Customers!

 

Over the past 18 months they have allowed us to invest in rebuilding our product and re-engineer our business model . Thanks to our customers, we have tripled the size of our team over the past 6 months (from 4 to 12), and it's thanks to our customers that we are funding an aggressive roadmap.

 

I know its not sexy and doesn’t get us attention on the big tech blogs, but for us its working. Not saying we won’t go out for funding at some point, its just not what we're focusing on right now. And we plan to keep having those conversations with the investors that are knocking on our door. After all, they always teach us something that we can apply to our business and/or leads to a high level introduction to a company that we’d like to work with.

 

So thanks to all of our customers who have helped fund us and have given us the opportunity to design and deliver what we and they believe is the #1 Creative Review & Approval tool in the world. I can’t list them all here, but just a few of the many that we think of as our Customer Venture Capitalists:

 

Macys.com 360i Conde Nast UnderArmour.com Johnson & Johnson Nordstroms.com Disney Interactive HBO CE Electronic Arts

Topics: People and Culture, Raising Funds, Tech Crunch, Customer Funding

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