SM: I was reading an article about how a lot of startups are using credit cards to finance their early days. American Express is a very common way of financing startups, and I have used it myself.
JH: Rene used to use that as well. It was a big day when he got his name off the card, when he was no longer personally liable for the card.
SM: Conceivably you could have that type of tie in and finance the payroll as well with the card.
JH: Have you worked with anyone who has had success teaming up with American Express?
SM: Dominique has, Gemplus did the Blue Card. You will have to talk to him.
JH: I have had other experiences of having years of dancing and getting nowhere.
SM: Visa may be easier to work with, and they are here.
JH: There are certainly some options here.
SM: It looks like it will take you another 3 or 4 years to get to the scale where you can go public.
JH: It depends on what you think the bar is these days. Until recently I was thinking the bar was in the $70M revenue and profitable, but it seems the public bar is coming down.
SM: If you have any interest in running the company as a public company… well it’s going to be a headache!
JH: It is not clear to me why anyone would want to run a public company these days.
SM: Your investors are going to be looking for exits.
JH: True, but that world has gotten a lot more creative.
SM: Private equity.
JH: Exactly. There are other alternatives these days. What is most important to me is that this team is rallied around the goal of “let’s build a big business out of this”. I am lucky to have a team that is focused on the customer result. We have been in businesses where we have built big franchises, and this feels like another one that we want to do.
SM: You have a great product and a large available market, so that is already great. It does feel like the team wants to execute. The only problem you may have is with the VCs.
JH: The way I think about that is we have VCs who have a pretty long timeframe in mind. August is notorious for thinking long-term. I think the people who have been in this the longest are very supportive of our intent to build a large company. I am not feeling very much pressure in that regard now. I also keep my ear to the ground because there is a lot of later stage money out there willing to take people out.