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Successful Pivot from B-to-C to B-to-B: Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis (Part 7)

Posted on Sunday, Jan 22nd 2017

Sramana Mitra: You said you’ve raised about $90 million. With all these changes and pivots, how has revenue in the new model tracked? Are you able to justify that kind of financing from a market cap point of view? I’m not talking about foo-foo market cap. I’m talking about market cap that is derived out of fundamentals.

Matt MacInnis: It has been punishing from an ownership perspective. Last year, the market was crazy. We did a small round at a really high multiple. This year, we did a bigger round. We did $25 million with Sapphire Ventures. That should take us to profitability. We gave up even more ownership. That part of it was tough.

Ideally I’d love to bootstrap a company and retain my ownership. Que sera, sera. When we first started selling SaaS, our subscription revenue was zero of course. Over the course of those three years from roughly 2013 to 2016, we’ve taken it up to tens of millions of dollars in subscription revenue. We think we’re on an IPO track. For an M&A track, it will be a very good M&A outcome. We believe that there is a new software category here.

Our customers typically subscribe to the platform with an initial deal size in the six figures. Many of them have now expanded to the seven figures. That’s on an annual basis. They’re sizable contracts. We’re very focused on the enterprise. We only sell to the Global 200. We don’t do small businesses. One of the many lessons that I learned is clarity of focus and clarity of strategy is so much more important than what particular strategy you choose. Picking A or B and sticking stubbornly with either A or B is far more predictive of success than how much energy you put into whether it’s A or B.

Sramana Mitra: Yes. The other thing that I’ve always observed in doing this is that pivots, on a venture capital timeline, are very expensive. What you were describing earlier of going from B2C to B2B is brutal.

Matt MacInnis: If I were in this to become a billionaire, I think there are other faster paths.

Sramana Mitra: Well, there are no fast paths to being a billionaire because there are very few businesses that scale to that level. On the other hand, this is your first real venture. You’re very young. It’s been a great experience.

Matt MacInnis: Immediately prior to this call, I was with my coach. We were wrapping up our relationship. I’ve been working with her for two years. We went back and reviewed the things that I was trying to prove about myself as a CEO. Wow! I’ve learned so much. I’ve come so far. I’ve been able to adapt my behavior to the needs of the company. I’ve matured as a human being throughout this process.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity I’ve been afforded. Coming up on seven years as a CEO, to start a company in your 20’s, and to take money from Sequoia and still have a job seven years later is, in itself, an accomplishment at some level because I don’t think the statistics are very good.

Sramana Mitra: That is true. It was very nice talking to you. Congratulations and good luck.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Successful Pivot from B-to-C to B-to-B: Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis
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