Sramana Mitra: Who was this angel investor?
Ryan Caldwell: I don’t have the permission to mention him by name. He’s a rather private person. I had worked with him in the past. He invested in a previous startup of mine. We had a good working relationship. He was familiar with me and my management style. He’s invested in a few companies but keeps a low profile.
Sramana Mitra: Which venture firms and which banks did you raise money from in your series A?
Ryan Caldwell: USAA was part of leading that round. Digital Garage (DGI), TTV Capital, and Commerce Ventures also came in.
Sramana Mitra: What was the total round?
Ryan Caldwell: Our Series A was a little over $50 million.
Sramana Mitra: What level of revenue were you raising that on? $50 million is a lot of money. It sounds like you had a pretty significant amount of revenues to show to generate that level of interest.
Ryan Caldwell: We did. The revenue was growing very rapidly at that time. We don’t disclose our revenue publicly. We were in the tens of millions and it was growing well north of 100% a year for quite a while. There was strong excitement and interest on the investor side.
Sramana Mitra: What else that is interesting has happened?
Ryan Caldwell: What’s been interesting for us is watching these different phases of the startup. It’s very different in the early days. The team and the company needs are very different things. We had a lot of self-motivated, driven CEOs and founder types that made up the management team here. The pace was very rapid in the beginning and remains rapid.
What we’re finding now is as you go to a hundred employees, it’s key to have these systems focus. In the last few years, we have focused on putting in place systems and centralized documentation that weren’t a requisite in the early days. Brandon and I have talked quite a bit about how that’s stretching and exhausting, but it can also be very exciting. You’re now seeing this idea that started as a very small idea growing into a much larger organization. Parts of that are tough, but parts of that are very exhilarating.
Sramana Mitra: Do you see any kind of an exit in the foreseeable future? Are you ready for that?
Ryan Caldwell: We’re not focused on that. We are averaging, over five years, 185% year over year growth. Fintech is a white hot industry and being one of the key data providers gives us a lot of room to grow. There’s still a lot of growth ahead of us. We’re focused on that and making sure that the company is operating well. Whatever comes along on that path, whether it’s an acquisition or IPO, as long as it accelerates the mission of the company, we’d be open to it.
Sramana Mitra: What are the fundamentals of your business? Is this a highly profitable business and you’re investing all the profits in growth? What is the dynamics of the business?
Ryan Caldwell: We still have tens of millions of dollars in the bank from our last raise. We’re already right around the corner of being profitable and cash flow positive. Having a large amount of capital to rely on and knowing that we don’t have to raise any additional money, provides an ability to guide and dictate our own future. Our main concern is how can we best take care of and continue to take better care of the end users. On the profitability side, our gross margins are definitely strong. Having strong margins in that area puts us in a strong position.
Sramana Mitra: What you’ve done is great. Thank you for your time.