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Bootstrapping to $10M+ from North Carolina: Carl Ryden, CEO of PrecisionLender (Part 6)

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 6th 2017

Sramana Mitra: What did you do and what model were you trying to reach?

Carl Ryden: There were a couple things that changed during that time. One is, the transactional sales people that we hired were not a good fit for our culture and how we operated. When we made changes, we wrote down our values. If you go to our website, you’ll see them. The quick summary is, “Be Helpful. Be Humble. Be Honest. Be Human.”

How those came to be is we saw a guy who gave a great talk on building company values. We were there just at this time when we were struggling through this. One of the speakers said, “Write down the 10 things that are the only things that you’ll ever fire someone for.” That forces you to think about what’s important to you. We started hiring against those values. Our sales team now is only four people and they’re all fantastic. We don’t do commissions at all. We pay people really well. In a SaaS business, it’s not just the person who signs the contract. The whole team has to be involved.

Sramana Mitra: Were you doing telesales?

Carl Ryden: We do GoTo meetings and WebEx.

Sramana Mitra: The inside sales team is based out of North Carolina?

Carl Ryden: We had a few of the transactional sales guys working out of their house and the field. Now all of it is right here. All four people sit down the hall from me.

Sramana Mitra: You do the entire business with just four sales people.

Carl Ryden: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: It’s great. We love these lean startup stories that are really efficient and disciplined. That’s really the philosophy that we are trying to propagate in our program. It’s great to hear that. Where are you now? I assume the business is still the same?

Carl Ryden: Yes. It’s evolved and gotten bigger. Our largest client is one of the largest banks in the world. We’re now growing into the largest banks in the world.

Sramana Mitra: The average deal sizes are around $90,000 a year?

Carl Ryden: The smallest bank pays us $10,000. Our largest pays us $10 million.

Sramana Mitra: Wow! Where are you revenue-wise?

Carl Ryden: We don’t disclose that but we’re north of $10 million.

Sramana Mitra: You said at the very beginning that you were looking to do something where there was a by-product of the utilization of your software through data. What kind of data have you accumulated and what are you doing with it?

Carl Ryden: We’re a true SaaS company. We also have data rights to all the data we have aggregated. The easy hook is benchmarking. We never thought that was the right answer. About a year ago, I came to the conclusion of using that data as training data. I would say every B2B SaaS application should be thinking about it as a vehicle for gathering valuable experience data about not just performing a task but watching what people do, how they do it, and why they do it. Then use that as training data to train an AI.

What we’ve been able to do is use the data we see to deliver insights through AI and machine learning. We personified it. We gave it a name. Our AI is called Andi.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Bootstrapping to $10M+ from North Carolina: Carl Ryden, CEO of PrecisionLender
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