Sramana Mitra: How long from there did you launch your MVP?
Cooper Harris: After we got the money, we built out the product. I guess it was an MVP. We didn’t put a ton of bells and whistles, but it was a fairly robust product. We took it to market. It worked well. It had to because of the folks we were doing campaigns with. It was pretty sophisticated technology. It took a little while to build.
In the pre-seed, I didn’t just take other people’s money. I invested all of my own at that time into the project itself. That was everything I had from my TV shows and stuff. I’m a very all-or-nothing kind perhaps. I feel that I only have a plan A, because if you have a plan B, there’s an option to fail.
I feel it’s important to go fully in. You don’t do anything stupid, but that also allows me to tell the investors, “I’ve invested as much as you or more.” That was just a note on that initial round that we raised. Fast forward to our MVP that allowed us to get our seed and get showcased at Cannes Lions.
Sramana Mitra: What’s the timeline on this? When did you go from the $200,000 to the MVP release?
Cooper Harris: About six months or so.
Sramana Mitra: We are in the middle of 2014 now. You have an MVP out. Are you now able to bring on the clients like ICM onto the platform?
Cooper Harris: Yes, exactly. We did work with a bunch of those guys. We also worked with people we didn’t know we would work with. We did a couple more pilots. We showcased at Cannes in 2016. We were one year behind.
Sramana Mitra: Walk us through what’s happening on the customer adoption side.
Cooper Harris: In 2015, we released the MVP. We were working with balancing account management with a very tiny team. We were very small. Most of our team was on the engineering side. That took us through to our launch at Cannes in the middle of 2016. That’s when we jumped to the next step. That’s where we got those pilots with the Fortune 500 that showed potential investors that we went back out to.
Sramana Mitra: How many customers did you have in 2015?
Cooper Harris: I’m trying to think. From mid-2015 when we started letting people on the platform through to mid-2016, I would say maybe two to three really big ones a month and a bunch of small ones.
Sramana Mitra: What was the business model?
Cooper Harris: At that time, we were more excited about growing and working with big names than making money. You’d have to make money eventually, but I think it’s important to cater to those bigger names. We cut them massive deals. UN was a non-profit, so we tried to not take a lot of money from them. We started making more money when we went to the Fortune 500. That’s when all that kicked in. For all intents and purposes, we made a little here and there, but we weren’t charging full price at that time.
Sramana Mitra: If I were an investor at that time looking at the business, what would I assume as the business model that you’re going to be building around?
Cooper Harris: It’s still similar. Back then, it was a percentage of each successful sale.
Sramana Mitra: What percentage was that?
Cooper Harris: We quoted people 5% to 10% depending on their volume. We realized that was insanely cheap for what we were doing.
Sramana Mitra: Have you since switched to a SaaS model?
Cooper Harris: Yes, we’re a combination. We’re SaaS plus commission.