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Bootstrapping Using Services: FullBottle CEO Reed Berglund (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Feb 12th 2015

Sramana Mitra: What did a McDonalds campaign like that yield you in terms of revenue? Are we talking about a $10,000 client or a $200,000 client?

Reed Berglund: That’s more in the neighborhood of a $100,000 client.

Sramana Mitra: Is that your sweet spot? Is that what you’re looking for as you’re building this business?

Reed Berglund: No, our ideal customer profile would be in the middle to smaller market. These are people who certainly do not have the budget of a McDonalds.

Sramana Mitra: At what point did you start getting those kinds of customers?

Reed Berglund: Right out of the gates actually. That’s how we were able to bootstrap. Since we have such an extensive background within the business, we were leveraging a lot of the relationships and knowledge to get those conversations opened.

Sramana Mitra: Would you say e-commerce is your number one category?

Reed Berglund: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: How do you sell? Is it all through your existing relationships or do you have a full channel built?

Reed Berglund: It’s been all through our relationships.

Sramana Mitra: What else do you want to share in terms of strategies that you’ve used to built your business so far? You were pitched as a company that does right about $5 million in revenue, is that accurate?

Reed Berglund: We actually did $7.3 million last year.

Sramana Mitra: What are some of the strategies that you’ve used to get to $7.3 million in revenue?

Reed Berglund: I think the biggest lesson is this: Never make assumptions on the market. It may sound preachy but truly listen to customers. They’ll tell you what they want. I think the challenge when building a scalable business from a product and technology standpoint is that you can’t necessarily view those customers as stakeholders because you’re trying to disrupt the industry. You have to synthesize that information in a way that allows you to continue product development with disruption in mind.

For example, the advertising industry is incredibly inefficient. You have layers of intermediaries that are complicating the process of basically moving a dollar from one side of the ledger to the other. When you remove choices in that process, it’s going to be met with some degree of objection because it’s baked in the old model.

Uber is a perfect example. They disrupted the dispatch system and taxi cabs. Basically, everything that was entrenched. That’s what we’re doing in the advertising industry. I think the lesson there is you gain the information from the customers and focus keenly on building a marketplace, but you focus on getting that and then synthesizing it, not necessarily treating them as stakeholders.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Bootstrapping Using Services: FullBottle CEO Reed Berglund
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