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Leading Michigan’s Emergence as a Tech Startup Hub: Billhighway CEO Vince Thomas (Part 6)

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 8th 2013

Sramana: You also mentioned that you oursourced certain tasks as part of your strategy to scale the business. Could you give me an example of that?

Vince Thomas: We do outsource certain capabilities. We created an engine that can produce hundreds of thousands of invoices per day from our system. Fulfilling those invoices, which includes putting them in envelopes and mailing them, is done by a partner of ours. That allows us to scale infinitely.

Sramana: What business groups have you stood up at your company?

Vince Thomas: We have all of the departments you would expect a typical business to have. We have an accounting team, and we have a robust product group with quality assurance and business analysts.

Sramana: How many people do you have in-house, and how many people do you have outsourced?

Vince Thomas: We have 60 people in-house, and we leverage seven core partners that help us provide our services. Some of those partners are large banks, and others are local businesses here in Michigan which are five- or ten-person shops.

Sramana: What part of Michigan are you located in?

Vince Thomas: We are in a city called Troy. It is a suburb of Detroit.

Sramana: Could you talk about how your revenue has scaled from 2003?

Vince Thomas: In 2004 we were processing $100 million a year. That number has doubled each year, and in 2012 we will do around $3 billion of processed transactions. We are on a path to get to 10 billion as quick as possible, and we think that will happen in the next two to three years. That will be a milestone for us. We would be producing a lot of revenue at a very profitable level.

Sramana: What did the ramp look like in terms of revenue?

Vince Thomas: From 2003 to 2005 we were in the mid hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue, clearly less than a million dollars. From 2006 to 2010 we were between $1 million and $10 million of revenue. The past two years have seen us hit the $15 million to $30 million range in revenue.

Sramana: What are some of the other strategic decisions you have made in the development of your business?

Vince Thomas: I think the most important thing we have done is making the decision to dive very deeply into a few core markets. That has proven to be a very wise decision. For us, when we enter a market we have found the most success in diving very deep and understanding that market well. We know how nonprofits in that market talk and what is important to them. That has helped us get more clients faster.

Any time we have deviated from that strategy, it has proven to be less effective. We have experimented a lot here at Billhighway. We know that when we dive deep and we get to know the people, the culture and the key points for an organization, then we will do very well.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Leading Michigan's Emergence as a Tech Startup Hub: Billhighway CEO Vince Thomas
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