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Capital-Efficient Customer Acquisition, Company Building: ReTargeter CEO Arjun Dev Arora (Part 6)

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 31st 2012

Sramana: What does your competitive landscape look like?

Arjun Dev Arora: It is very interesting. There are a couple of players who are working on the very high end of our market. They focus on e-commerce players who have 500,000 unique users. They are doing dynamic re-targeting. There are companies like Dapper and Criteo. There are a handful of companies that are playing in the long tail and reaching out to local restaurants and the one- to five-employee businesses. In the middle you will find us and a few ad networks trying to operate this technology.

Sramana: What are the minimum metrics for the different categories you just described?

Arjun Dev Arora: Our minimum is $500 and we do not have a ceiling. If it is an e-commerce company that is spending $60,000 to $100,000 a month, they would be a high solution. The long tail solutions won’t have any minimums.

Sramana: What has been your financing strategy beyond the angel round?

Arjun Dev Arora: We have not raised any additional funding. We have done this through bootstrapping.

Sramana: What have you done to manage such a capital-efficient company? What lessons can you share with other entrepreneurs?

Arjun Dev Arora: Eric Schmidt said that revenue solves all problems. We want to grow, get new clients, and keep them happy. In addition to that, we are early adopters of technology. We use early stage technologies to solve problems we come across. We use things like Yammer for internal communications. We use different email strategies and all kinds of early, easy tools to help us manage Twitter, communications, and CRM. There are so many resources out there now to help people run a company on a small budget. We bought a lot of really cheap netbooks and did as much as possible on the cloud. It is important to have a clear sense of values for the company. That was incredibly helpful.

Sramana: How did you build your team? That is a key expense for a startup.

Arjun Dev Arora: Initially it was just me. I brought on a couple of interns during the summer of 2009. Employee number one was a friend of a friend with a little experience. We did a lot of non-traditional hires. We did not hire super-seasoned executives; we hired young, hungry go-getters who wanted to build something. That was instrumental to our early success. That was key.

Sramana: What did your employee ramp look like?

Arjun Dev Arora: We started in April 2009. We did not formally hire employee number one until November.

Sramana: Who wrote the code for your product?

Arjun Dev Arora: I worked on it as well as one of our angel investors. It was good enough to get the job done.

Sramana: What was the role of your first employee?

Arjun Dev Arora: It was a well-rounded business person who could do sales, marketing, HR, hiring, account management, and just about everything. There was some experience at a startup and some experience at a large corporation.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Capital-Efficient Customer Acquisition, Company Building: ReTargeter CEO Arjun Dev Arora
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