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Building a Robust Niche Business: FilmTrack CEO Jason Kassin (Part 5)

Posted on Friday, Oct 27th 2017

Sramana Mitra: A couple of questions. When did you hit the million dollar mark from the point you started? What metrics did you raise funding with?

Jason Kassin: I’m not exactly sure, but it was probably around 2007 that we hit that threshold. At that time, we didn’t think it was some magical threshold. The metrics that we used when we received our funding was what we had booked as recurring revenue at that time and what we were forecasting to be the recurring revenue based on a certain retention rate of the current customers and new customers coming on board.

Sramana Mitra: What was the ARR run rate when you raised money?

Jason Kassin: I think we were somewhere in the $4 million to $6 million range.

Sramana Mitra: When was that?

Jason Kassin: 2013.

Sramana Mitra: You bootstrapped until 2013.

Jason Kassin: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: Almost 10 years.

Jason Kassin: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: Why did you raise money at that point? What was going through your mind at that point when you had already done the hard work?

Jason Kassin: It’s all about scale. We could not have scale in terms of improving the platform and making the right hires. We had arrived at that place without any formal sales organization. We didn’t have the same rigor around our software development lifecycle that a real company in our space demands. We didn’t have the compliance we now have. For us, in order to scale, we felt that we needed to raise capital.

We also felt that if you look at the space itself, the space itself had a very fractured approach. There were other players in the space. We thought that it was an ideal space for a roll-up. We thought that we would use a portion of the proceeds to do some acquisitions which is what we ended up doing. We were able to acquire some client-server competitors who had terrific client lists, but their technology had stalled.

We were able to retain nearly 100% of their customers. It took a lot longer to integrate that functionality into our core system. I tried for some time to accelerate it, but it’s a lot of work to do. Right now, we deal with the same challenges which is scale and competition because as soon as you have any level of success, others try to imitate you. It’s often the case in software, particularly that innovators lose to imitators. I’m very sensitive to that.

Back in the late 80’s, I worked in software companies. I’ve seen the mighty fall. I’m very focused on innovating and focused holistically and constantly improving the product. It’s a challenge. With the number of customers we have and the number of demands on the product, the demand is on our implementation team. To marry that day-to-day tactical fulfillment with any kind of innovation is hard. My challenge now is balancing the operational aspects of our organization with the innovation issues that I’m eager to pursue.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Building a Robust Niche Business: FilmTrack CEO Jason Kassin
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