Sramana: What was the state of the company when you came in?
Kevin North: There were some really good people who had been making great technology. The founders were great and they understood Big Data very well. The only issue was that their organization was not scalable. The goal was to turn it into a scalable company.
Sramana: What did that look like? What were the metrics you were tracking? What pieces did you put in place to make the company scale?
Kevin North: We went through 12 to 18 months of hard work to get Terapeak ready to scale. This year, on a run rate basis, we will double the run rate compared to the year I joined the company. We are still about 10 people smaller than we were when I joined the company. You can get a lot of productivity if you have the right systems and people in place.
Terapeak needed to make sure that it was investing in things that were going to make the company money. We invested in systems and people. We had to get rid of the payment service provider. The provider used was elected prior to my arrival, and it was a company in Romania that struggled to understand SaaS. We were their very first SaaS subscription customer. Every dollar that comes in the door at Terapeak goes through our online billing system. Our ability to serve up a subscription in a timely and orderly fashion was critical. We had to switch our PSP as a result.
We had to bring in a system that actually allowed us to have some visibility into subscriber behaviors. When I came in, they did not know what the numbers were. They only knew the numbers at the end of the month when the financials were being calculated. That is not how you want to run a subscription business when your sales cycles are in minutes. We had to bring in systems capable of dash boarding. We had to implement Salesforce and Marketo.
We also cleaned up the company from a human resources perspective. We focused on the people who were working on the primary revenue generating aspects of the business. There were a lot of distractions where people were working on tertiary projects and in tertiary regions.
I brought in my old management team from Dyadem so that I had people I could trust to build out their teams. We cleaned out all of the contracts on the inside of our business. We sell our analytics to large businesses as well and we wanted to make sure that side of the business was very well organized. We also added proper support processes and then we completely rebranded the company. We did a top to bottom overhaul.
We also revised what was being reported to the board and how it was being reported. They had been taking binders of information and it seemed to me that there was distrust there. I wanted to report on real performance indicators that should be quantitative. The board meeting should be strategic and bring out of the value of the board, not playing catch up and trying to report past work in binders.