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Bootstrapping to $14M, Solving Serious Pain in IT Lead Generation: DiscoverOrg Cofounder Henry Schuck (Part 4)

Posted on Sunday, Sep 2nd 2012

Sramana: What was happening on the business side during 2008?

Henry Schuck: We were marketing and doing sales. We were basically just splitting our time. We spent half of our time doing data integrity and the other half doing sales and marketing. We did calls to decision makers and sent samples to potential clients. We just built our database during that time.

Sramana: Where were you finding traction in your sales calls? The VP of sales and the VP of marketing?

Henry Schuck: You hit it spot on. The VP of sales and the VP of marketing.

Sramana: How did the revenue track in 2008?

Henry Schuck: We did $270,000 in revenue. In 2007 we had done $110,000, which was really just the second half of the year.

Sramana: Would you talk about the product development process? What were your data sources? How did you put everything together?

Henry Schuck: We were gathering data directly from the companies we were profiling. That is what made our company different back then as well as today. We called into those companies to gather the data and collect the phone numbers, and we updated the information on those people. That is what made all the difference. We did not source data through a crawler.

Sramana: Would you just call the company switchboard and ask for names and numbers?

Henry Schuck: That is basically it. We would start with some online research and identify some top-level people. We would start there and work on building the organization out.

Sramana: It sounds like it was very labor intensive.

Henry Schuck: It was very labor intensive. At first it was just Kirk and me. We were spending 75% of our time on the phone and 25% of our time selling the product. The data was always of paramount importance for what we were doing. As we hired new people, we would split their time to 80% research and 20% sales and marketing.

Sramana: What were some of the other milestones you passed building this business?

Henry Schuck: In 2009 we had a significant turning point in the business. We moved the company from Columbus to Vancouver, Washington. It was the first time we had a formal office. We started hiring people to work on research, sales, and marketing. We really started building the organization from there. In 2009 we saw about $880,000 in revenue. In 2010 we did $2.7 million in revenue, and in 2011 we did $5.5 million in revenue. We are on track to do between $14 million and $15 million in revenue.

Sramana: Why did you move the business to Vancouver, Washington?

Henry Schuck: Kirk is from that area. I was done with law school, so I had no ties to stay in Columbus. My wife wanted to move away from Las Vegas, and this just seemed like a logical place to go. We did not move the employees with us from Columbus, we kept them there. Some of them transitioned out and a few others stayed on until earlier this year when we closed the Columbus office.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Bootstrapping to $14M, Solving Serious Pain in IT Lead Generation: DiscoverOrg Cofounder Henry Schuck
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