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Building a VC-Funded B2C CRM Company From Virginia: Zaius Founder and CTO Spencer Pingry (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Oct 15th 2018

We love companies that have roots in off-center geographies. Zaius started in Virginia, raised capital in Boston, and has grown to ~500 customers with a $24k average ARR per customer. These are healthy metrics, and for the team in Virginia, accomplishments to be proud of.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Spencer Pingry: I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. I lived there for the first 24 years of my life. I went to the University of Arizona as well. My parents were both teachers. My dad was a college professor at the University of Arizona. My mom was a first-grade teacher for 30 years. I was raised by educators and about 16 years ago moved to Virginia with AOL, which is the second company I worked for. I’ve been here ever since.

Sramana Mitra: What is the genesis of this company? When you started, what were you thinking?

Spencer Pingry: I started the company in 2012. My background was all in analytics. I had a lot of background in marketing analytics. AOL had built a customer data warehouse. I worked with the marketing analytics team and marketing to build all the analytics that they wanted to run on top of this customer data.

What we had seen for probably a decade was that the ownership of marketing data and the customer view was still a very hard problem for marketers. We started the company to solve the analytics side of the problem. They were paying for all this tooling. They would get all this data back, hire a team of people, and try to mine this data.

We saw a gap in the sense that the software that collected all this information could just support the use cases that the marketers wanted. That would be a huge problem to solve. That’s what we started the company to go after. We’re focused on massive companies. These are companies that are taking weeks to turn their data around. We built a huge event analytics platform.

After doing that for a couple of years, we realized a couple of things. One is that the landscape was shifting. It wasn’t really about events and analytics of event-based data. We wanted to retool the platform and make it all about first-party data and connect it into action directly. The second thing that we realized was, we needed some real funding to tackle this problem.

Sramana Mitra: When you decided to go out for financing, did you have anything in place or was it a pure concept financing that you were trying to pull off?

Spencer Pingry: We had an analytics platform and we had a handful of customers. Maybe 10 to 15 customers were on the platform at that time.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Building a VC-Funded B2C CRM Company From Virginia: Zaius Founder and CTO Spencer Pingry
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