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Bootstrapping Decisively to $5M+ in Revenue: Mack Sundaram, CEO of RainmakerForce (Part 7)

Posted on Sunday, Apr 1st 2018

Sramana Mitra: How long did it take you to productize everything? When you got this $100,000 plus deal, was it already productized?

Mack Sundaram: We were about 70% there. It was something that they could implement right away and certain things that they wanted that I didn’t have, I agreed to build it out for them. It’s $100,000 per year deal by the way.

Sramana Mitra: How many of these customers did you get as you went along? What was the pace of building this business? How many customers were you getting a year? Of course, it’s additive because it’s recurring revenue. Tell me a bit about the trajectory and the ramp.

Mack Sundaram: Towards the end of 2015, when this started becoming a bit more acceptable, I would get somewhere between one to two customers a month. I was charging much lower because I could just give them certain things that they wanted. It was one to two customers a month throughout 2015.

In 2016, we doubled that. We spent more on marketing. Now we’re getting three to four customers a month. We’ve kept that pace. Sometimes, we had one good month where we got about 10 customers.

Sramana Mitra: How were you getting these customers? Were you targeting a specific type of customer?

Mack Sundaram: We were targeting small to medium businesses that have revenue of about $10 million up to $100 million. Target persona was the Vice President of Sales. They’re the ones who feel the pain of everything.

Sramana Mitra: You were cold-calling and trying to sell them on the proposition?

Mack Sundaram: I’d sell sometimes through conferences, sometimes calls, and sometimes people would click on an ad that we put. Sometimes it comes from a warm contact. That’s how it slowly started. It’s still in that process.

Sramana Mitra: How long did it take you to hit the one million revenue benchmark? How long did it take you to hit the $5 million benchmark?

Mack Sundaram: By the end of 2015, we had hit $1 million. To hit $5 million, it took us maybe two and a half years. It started becoming better once the economy picked up. We’re past that now. We’re close to $7 million now.

Sramana Mitra: You are completely self-financed?

Mack Sundaram: Yes, we are.

Sramana Mitra: It’s something that you have chosen to do. Is there a thought behind that or a philosophy behind that?

Mack Sundaram: Good question. Two reasons. My philosophy of business is to have a profitable business. I’m not interested in becoming a Facebook. I don’t want that many customers. I’m pretty choosy about who I can go behind. It’s not easy for someone to be my boss. I’m a very difficult employee. My mind just doesn’t rest. I have to do 17 things.

It was that choice that I didn’t want to work for somebody because it would not be meaningful for them or for me. I didn’t want VCs or investors to be my bosses. That was a whole thing to stay away from there.

Sramana Mitra: Autonomy was your driving factor.

Mack Sundaram: Autonomy and a simple principle that it’s got to be profitable.

Sramana Mitra: How many people do you have now?

Mack Sundaram: I have 15 people in the States and 30 people in India.

Sramana Mitra: Where in the States is your operation?

Mack Sundaram: We’re split between New York and San Francisco. We have a couple of remote workers. We have one guy in Denver and one person in Texas. New York is pretty much the sales office. It’s a SaaS business so everything can be done online. It’s scalable that way.

We’re at a point where we can work very hard and enjoy the fruits of our labor. It’s not at the point where we’re out of the woods yet where we’d feel comfortable sitting back. We have to be working very hard because competition has really picked up. Technology can do even more incredible things. We have to keep advancing and innovating day in and day out.

Sramana Mitra: Great. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Bootstrapping Decisively to $5M+ in Revenue: Mack Sundaram, CEO of RainmakerForce
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