Sramana Mitra: Whom are you selling to? Are you selling to financial advisors?
Hugh Massie: We sell a subscription package to financial advisors. We have a SaaS revenue-based model.
Sramana Mitra: Got it. What is the source of the data based on which you’re developing these models?
Hugh Massie: We have built psychometric systems using research techniques that drive the outcome. If somebody answers from three words put together – most like and least like – that will give us a behavioral insight about them. We have our own recipe that when somebody does that with enough questions, that’s going to tell you a combination of traits about them that then get used to drive the reporting and the insights that an advisor would use.
Sramana Mitra: When did you launch this company? Was it 1999 or later?
Hugh Massie: It was later. I did research for a few years. It took a long time to do the research. The first lot of research was finished in 2001. We started using it with my financial services clients in Australia right through to 2004. After that, we started going to specific third-party financial services firms to get them to use this with their clients. That’s how the business started. There was quite a long research period.
The research has gone on a long time after that because we have continually enhanced the database. We have designed a new set of insights in 2011 that we put in the market. We’ve always been innovative in enhancing the depth of insights. We also have other products other than the Financial DNA product. We also have Business DNA and Communication DNA as our main product lines as well. They’ve all been built during the journey of running this business.
Sramana Mitra: Now that I have some sense of what this business is, let me step you through the entrepreneur journey of business-building. When did you actually launch the subscription-based product?
Hugh Massie: The subscription-based service didn’t really start till around 2011. We were selling the product before, that but it was not as a subscription.
Sramana Mitra: When did you start selling the advisory product?
Hugh Massie: We started selling the advisory product in 2004.
Sramana Mitra: What did you charge for it at that time? What was the business model?
Hugh Massie: At that time, we charged $95 a person to go through it.
Sramana Mitra: Were you selling to major banks or were you selling to individual advisors? What was the nature of the business in the beginning?
Hugh Massie: In the beginning, we started selling to any individual that could say yes fairly quickly and who wanted to use it. Basically, it was anybody that breathed.
Sramana Mitra: How did you find your first set of customers?
Hugh Massie: The first set of customers came through me doing presentations at conferences. It was a catchy enough concept. Because I had an Australian voice and I was visiting America, it was somewhat novel that people would listen to me. That sounds flippant, but it’s somewhat true. I think people sometimes think that because you come from outside with a good idea, you must be smart. They let me talk about it. It was a time when people were exploring these ideas. I got them to do a trial. If they liked it, they bought it.