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Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later: Senraj Soundar, CEO of ConnectLeader (Part 5)

Posted on Friday, Jun 23rd 2017

Sramana Mitra: How much is the deal size now?

Senraj Soundar: Close to double. We have multiple products, but they are priced at a lower level.

Sramana Mitra: All through this evolution, have you continued to bootstrap or have you brought in any financing?

Senraj Soundar: Till now, we’re bootstrapping because we were able to, in the last couple of years, manage the company’s cash flow. We are continuously taking every dollar and throwing it to engineering.

Sramana Mitra: Great! Where are you revenue-wise? What did you close 2016 at?

Senraj Soundar: I would like to keep that private.

Sramana Mitra: How about a range? Have you crossed $10 million for example?

Senraj Soundar: I would say we are still below $25 million. We might be talking to investors that’s why I want to keep this private.

Sramana Mitra: How many people do you have in the company?

Senraj Soundar: Slightly more than a hundred.

Sramana Mitra: Is this a Silicon Valley company?

Senraj Soundar: No, it’s not in Silicon Valley.

Sramana Mitra: Where are you based?

Senraj Soundar: We’re based out of New Hampshire, north of Boston.

Sramana Mitra: Is it a New Hampshire – India company?

Senraj Soundar: Yes. New Hampshire is our headquarters and we have an offshore location.

Sramana Mitra: Where is your offshore location?

Senraj Soundar: Chennai, India.

Sramana Mitra: What is the split?

Senraj Soundar: 40% in the US, 60% in India. We are heavy in engineering at this point in time.

Sramana Mitra: Is your sales largely online and telephone selling?

Senraj Soundar: Initially, we built a direct sales team because we wanted to be closer to the customer so that we can take the feedback to the product. In the past three years, we did have channel partners. We have direct sales as well as channel sales.

Sramana Mitra: Is there anything else that you would like to discuss in this story that is worth highlighting?

Senraj Soundar: Once we understood how our users are adopting the product, we made the strategic decision of making the right changes in our product line instead of simply acquiring customers. The second thing is that we put a lot of effort into getting our patents.

As we expanded, we needed to protect our uniqueness. That’s something we’ve done strategically. Obviously, we are trying to integrate our product with other CRM products because we are a complementing solution to CRM. We integrated with Salesforce and Microsoft CRM and many other CRM products out there in the market. Those are the things I want to highlight.

Sramana Mitra: You’re obviously thinking about raising money at this point. How are you thinking about that?

Senraj Soundar: We can continue to run and grow our sales. That is one option. At the same time, if we can get funding it could help us to expand faster and we could also go to other geographies beyond North America.

Sramana Mitra: How do you weigh that versus selling the company at this point while you have a very significant ownership of the business?

Senraj Soundar: Right now, exiting or selling is not on our horizon. Our goal is to continue to build the company. We still have a few products that are strategic in nature and which are under development. We want to see all that come to market within the next one to two quarters. That’s going to increase our deal size as well as how fast we can acquire our customers.

Sramana Mitra: From a product and market coverage point of view, that’s what’s driving you towards potentially taking some financing in and building the company further?

Senraj Soundar: Right.

Sramana Mitra: It should be very easy to raise funding based on the fact that you’ve bootstrapped the company to over $10 million in revenue, and at terms that you dictate.

Senraj Soundar: Right. We have to select the right partner.

Sramana Mitra: You will have your pick. If you manage this round right, you will have lots of options.

Senraj Soundar: Exactly. We have to go through the process and make the right pick.

Sramana Mitra: Congratulations. It’s a wonderful story. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later: Senraj Soundar, CEO of ConnectLeader
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