Sramana: Your employees need to have very specific skill sets. How do you find them and hire them?
Andrew Swinand: The typical person we hire is an engineer. They have a masters or PhD in engineering or mathematics. Six of our employees are college professors. Between them they have written eight books, and one just published a book on SEO. It is interesting how this is almost an inside club.
From a recruiting standpoint, the people involved are analytics rock stars. One of the reasons that we have been successful growing quickly and recruiting is that we have an all-star team of analytics. In most companies, analytics is an afterthought. If you look at huge companies, you will see two analytics people on an island. We have 70 people and they are all dedicated to analytics. Our pitch is for them to come home and get better at their craft. Almost all of our recruiting comes from people our employees know.
Sramana: This kind of talent is not that easy to find. It will be interesting to see how this business scales to 50 million and higher.
Andrew Swinand: Yes, it will be interesting to see how it affects the culture. What we have found interesting is that most of these individuals have their own companies of two people. We offer the same work, better pay, and a great team.
Sramana: It’s almost like you are doing a roll-up on the services side as well.
Andrew Swinand: It’s the same principle.
Sramana: How have you managed the financial engineering of the company? Is this an equity based roll-up?
Andrew Swinand: The initial roll-up was equity based, but the ongoing is different. We have found that a lot of these individuals have one or two clients, and they don’t like the business aspects of the business but they love the analytics side of the business. Most of them are older as well. We offer security and benefits.
Sramana: Essentially you just pay them a signing bonus to come on to your team, right?
Andrew Swinand: Correct, as well as ongoing bonuses for performance.
Sramana: Whom do you consider as competition in your business?
Andrew Swinand: Most of the time we pitch against Accenture and other big people.
Sramana: Do they ever use you as tier 2 or tier 3 outsourcing vendors?
Andrew Swinand: Not to date.
Sramana: There is stratification in the outsourcing industry right now. The Fortune 500 companies are interested in working with tier 1 vendors and expect them to bring in the lower tier vendors.
Andrew Swinand: So far we have not outsourced our services as a sub.
Sramana: Are you opposed to working with that type of arrangement?
Andrew Swinand: It would have to be part of a broader conversation as opposed to subbing for them on a project. If they wanted to outsource all of their digital analytics to us, then I would say yes.
Sramana: Thank you for your time. Good luck going forward!