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Building a Mid-Market Security SaaS Company from Canada: J. Paul Haynes, CEO of eSentire (Part 2)

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 6th 2017

Sramana Mitra: Before all this, it sounds like you started doing companies in ’76. I don’t think we have enough time to cover that long a story. It sounds like you have a background in enterprise security software. Could you give us a little bit of an idea about what you did before?

J. Paul Haynes: I did a Bachelors in Engineering and a Master’s in SCADA. During that, I started my first business. Upon finishing my Master’s, I already had a full customer roster working in the utility energy market. I basically went right into a job that I created for myself. I haven’t looked back. I think I graduated in 1991 from the Master’s.

By 1993, I had venture financing into it and exited it into one of the largest energy companies in the continent in 1997. I worked with them for a few years and then went on to my next venture. Involved in the utility world was what we would call content management or document management software, back office accounting, work management, billing, budgeting – the whole roster of running the back office of utilities.

I then went into a European organization and launched its North America branch through an acquisition. That was focused on enterprise content management. That business ended up spawning a customer service system before that was a cool thing to do. That was actually back in the late 90’s. That was a very nascent technology at that time. We  created one of the top products in that realm.

After the document management firm, I did a tour of duty in investment banking and healthcare software. I did upstream engineering projects selling to firms like the big engineering firms that are building offshore oil rigs and nuclear power plants. You can imagine, all of these are hundreds of thousands or million dollar contracts sold on, what we would refer to as, perpetual licenses. Then I came into this firm which did everything on a monthly SaaS model. That takes us to the end of 2010 when I joined here.

Sramana Mitra: It sounds like a consulting shop with sub-million in revenue. Did you raise money or did you bootstrap? How did the company move forward?

J. Paul Haynes: The company, at that time, had bootstrapped itself and we continued on a cash-flow business, which most consulting firms do. Before I joined, I already had a business plan with the help of the founders with a number of equity backers. Within a few months, I tried to figure out the ins and outs of the business. We then started a roadshow and we had terms by March. Let’s say I started at the beginning of November. By March, we had terms that led to the successful financing of our initial round.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Building a Mid-Market Security SaaS Company from Canada: J. Paul Haynes, CEO of eSentire
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