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Bootstrapping to $14M, Solving Serious Pain in IT Lead Generation: DiscoverOrg CoFounder Henry Schuck (Part 7)

Posted on Wednesday, Sep 5th 2012

Sramana: How does the revenue break up among your customer base? Do you have a few large customers, or are your revenues fairly evenly spread out?

Henry Schuck: We do have some customers who are larger than others, but for the most part it is very evenly spread out. Our large customers probably account for 1% of our revenue.

Sramana: Do you integrate with any of the CRM systems?

Henry Schuck: We fully integrate with, Microsoft Dynamics, Marketo, and SugarCRM.

Sramana: What is your view of companies like InsideView?

Henry Schuck: In a very broad, theoretical framework, they are a competitor. In reality, they are never a direct competitor. They are interesting as they are an integrator of different data. We are a single, primary source for information.

Sramana: Who do you run into when you are looking to get a deal done?

Henry Schuck: In this space we see Jigsaw or Hoovers the most.

Sramana: Hoovers does not provide that level of detail.

Henry Schuck: No, but they are the company that most people are familiar with. They do a nice job of bringing together publicly available information in one place. They don’t give the level of depth that we do.

Jigsaw is an interesting competitor. The fact that they are a part of Salesforce is a nice thing for them. The differentiator is, again, the quality of the data. From our perspective, you cannot rely on crowd-sourcing as the lifeblood of your sales operation. We rely on the same process that company sales reps rely on.

Sramana: I like the company that you are building, and I like where you are building it. The competition for talent should be a bit less than other places so you should be able to make very good hires.

Henry Schuck: Yes, we can hire fairly well. It would be difficult to run this business out of Palo Alto. Being where we are allows us to get talented people at competitive wages.

Sramana: What kind of people do you hire?

Henry Schuck: Our research analysts tend to be college educated. We are typically a person’s first job out of college, and we are training them in how an IT department operates. Our salespeople run the gamut from highly experienced to folks transferring from real estate or mortgage.

Sramana: Is there a university close by?

Henry Schuck: Washington State University is up the street. Portland State University as well as the University of Oregon and Oregon State University are feeders into Portland as well. We are about 10 miles from Portland.

Sramana: I know this space inside out. What you are doing that is powerful is getting the org charts with data integrity. You also get projects. That is great data. That type of research is incredibly time consuming. I think a $20,000 price point that gives you all of that information is valued appropriately. You are solving a serious problem in the sales cycle.

Henry Schuck: I wish we had the same level of information for our own prospects. We don’t have the resources to build as comprehensive of a database for ourselves.

Sramana: How many companies are there out there that sell IT and fall within your customer base?

Henry Schuck: I think there are 10,000 companies. That might be conservative.

Sramana: This is a very cool story. You are doing a splendid job. Thanks for sharing.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Bootstrapping to $14M, Solving Serious Pain in IT Lead Generation: DiscoverOrg CoFounder Henry Schuck
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Hello Sramana,
Wonderful interview as always!

I was hoping to come across a closer look at how they keep themselves updated…as people are always moving out of organisations…the updation activity would take time away from building the database further. Do you too feel that as they scale, maintaining data integrity becomes a bigger challenge to this business' viability?

In India, with the misuse of telecalling & email/sms marketing, database building has been looked down upon, if I may say so…I'm wondering how a company would create a credible image for this kind of a business in India.

Looking forward to your next piece,

Gaurav Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 1:01 AM PT

Every country that wants to build a credible and thriving business eco-system needs databases.
Keeping data current and maintaining integrity is a critical part of that process.
I doubt customers would pay $20k a year for this product if the data lacked integrity.

Sramana Mitra Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 11:14 AM PT

Hello Sramana

Do you think its a workable model for India or domestic market ? There is lot of Data floating in Market at Rs 1500/ etc. Question is how reliable is that Information ? Do you think there is need for the same in India.


viren sarna Monday, October 1, 2012 at 1:05 AM PT


Sramana Mitra Monday, October 1, 2012 at 12:05 PM PT

Viren, There are already sources like this in India. Couple that come to mind are iSource Opportunities, and more recently [from ClientCurve].

Neither is cheap. But both provide higher quality data than the Rs. 1500/- lists. I've worked with both as an IT seller.

Prasanna Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 4:34 AM PT