Sramana Mitra: I presume you guys started the company with your own money?
Robert Moore: We did. It was not a lot of money. It was about $10,000 in total between the two of us.
Sramana Mitra: Who built the software? Who wrote the code?
Robert Moore: I wrote the original version in my attic. We didn’t have enough money to stay in New York. For the first nine months of the company, we ran it out of my attic. I coded all day, everyday, and Jake was making pre-sales.
Sramana Mitra: You were working off of your own experience and you understood the problem at a pretty visceral level, but you still needed some anchor customers to get going with. Who were those?
Robert Moore: For the most part, they were friends. These were friends and people who we have worked with in the past. When I lived in New York, one of my roommates was a good friend of mine from Princeton who had gone on to start his own company. We gave him a good bargain basement rate and said, “Would you mind being a beta customer on this thing? We promise to work really hard to make sure it’s worth your while.”
The second customer was a company that I was an advisor for that was paying $50 a month but had a really good use case for the product and agreed to give it a shot. The third customer was a friend from Insight who had left to work at a startup in town. We were just hitting our networks and getting to people who were in positions where they could make a decision of potentially spending a couple of hundred bucks a month on a product if the value was there.
Sramana Mitra: Let me understand your segmentation. You were selling both to the startups who were looking to get due diligence done on them as well as the financial institutions who were trying to do due diligence?
Robert Moore: When we left Insight, the product was never designed to be a due diligence product at all. We learned about these opportunities while trying to make analysis easier by doing the due diligence process in a bunch. One of the other things that I’ll add on to my story about Insight is that when we would conduct these analyses as part of the deal, one of the things that we would see consistently is a month or two would go by after the deal and the company would come back and say, “That analysis that you ran during diligence, that was helpful. Could you run it again?” What we realised there was it was actually valuable for operating companies on a recurring basis.