Sramana Mitra: If you can attract bank financing and can do things with bank financing, it’s hugely advantageous from an ownership point of view.
Vlad Friedman: Exactly. Today, we’re at about $18 million run rate and on our way to hit $20 million this year. We’re still in the same position. We still have a strong balance sheet. We still have a fantastic relationship with our banks. I’m completely non-diluted because everything is just simple debt financing.
Sramana Mitra: What do you want to do with the company? You’ve been running it since the mid 90s and now we’re in the mid 2010s. It’s been 20 years since you’ve been doing this. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go from here?
Vlad Friedman: My goal today is to build Edge from $20 million to $50 million in revenue. Interestingly enough, I’m the kind of person who has never worked for money. When you have that level of energy and passion and you love what you do deeply, I think it’s easy to keep doing it. Unless my perspective changes, I don’t see my job and what I do changing, which is driving the direction of this business, competing against the large billion-dollar players and winning every single day of the week because we can be more nimble, more creative, and more effective.
We hear our customers more and we’re in the business of driving outcomes rather than just gigs. At some point, you lose the competitive differentiation because it’s a race to the bottom. My vision is to continue to grow this business, continue to bring in amazing people. Make an impact on our customers’ lives. That just gets me excited every morning when I come to work. One of the things that I tell my staff here is that sometimes, people lose focus. They focus so much on the profitability that they forget to enjoy what they do. When you don’t enjoy what you do, it becomes very difficult.
My message to the team is, “Profitability is, most often, a result of doing a great job for your customers.” If you’re driving real value, your customers stick around for a very long time. We’ve very low turn rates. Our turn rate is half the industry average. Our Net Promoter Score is on par with Apple and Southwest Airlines. If their IT Director leaves to move to a new company, guess who’s the first phone call that they make. All of a sudden, that lowers our marketing expenses. That lowers our cost of sale. Keeping customers is much less expensive than acquiring new customers. It really allows us to grow the business much more efficiently by focusing on that customer outcome.
Sramana Mitra: You’re not looking for an exit. You’re basically enjoying building the company. You want to continue building the company.
Vlad Friedman: I want continue to build the company because I love coming to work every day.
Sramana Mitra: Congratulations on what you have accomplished so far, especially in a non-dilutive way. Good luck moving forward.