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Building a VC-Funded B2C CRM Company From Virginia: Zaius Founder and CTO Spencer Pingry (Part 3)

Posted on Wednesday, Oct 17th 2018

Sramana Mitra: Chronologically, where are you at this point?

Spencer Pingry: Around the end of 2013.

Sramana Mitra: You’ve been in the market now for a year and a half?

Spencer Pingry: For the first portion of it, the company’s name was Voodoo Lunchbox. As we went out to look for funding, we raised capital from a venture capital firm. At that time, our evaluator was somebody who was also incubating this idea. We ended up joining forces with a couple of people in Boston and ended up changing the name to Zaius in June 2014.

Sramana Mitra: By the time you were ready to do that, were you clear on what segment you were going to sell into? Before raising venture capital, did you know what use cases, what segment of customers, what sized customers, what verticals? Did you have all that clarified?

Spencer Pingry: Our belief was that we were going to go after enterprise. That was the segment that we were targeting. Our analytics platform was really built for massive scale. We were focused on solving the problem for the enterprise. From a go-to market standpoint, we weren’t as clear.

Sramana Mitra: Was there any particular kind of enterprise that you were going after? Where were you applying your people-centric analytics?

Spencer Pingry: Primarily retail and e-commerce.

Sramana Mitra: B2C?

Spencer Pingry: Yes, all B2C.

Sramana Mitra: Which fund did you go with?

Spencer Pingry: Matrix.

Sramana Mitra: You’re now funded by Matrix. How much capital did you raise from Matrix?

Spencer Pingry: About $6 million.

Sramana Mitra: What happens next?

Spencer Pingry: Then we went into a product development mode. We focused on orienting around people and building some campaign execution to the platform. We spent about nine months in backend product development mode.

About the end of that 9-month period in early to mid 2015, we brought the product back into the market. We shifted away from most of our original customers. A couple left and then came back as we got to the end of the product development mode.

Sramana Mitra: Who was your first major enterprise customer who took that product and did something meaningful with it?

Spencer Pingry: One of our customers is named Optoro. They were one of our early customers and are still one of our best customers. They’ve been with us since that time.

Sramana Mitra: How did you find them?

Spencer Pingry: They’re DC-based. Some people in our company had worked at Optoro in the past.

Sramana Mitra: What kind of average deal size were you working with?

Spencer Pingry: When we came to market, we were still trying to chase the enterprise. Our average deal sizes were $5,000 to $10,000 MRR. As we got to the end of 2015 and into early 2016, we felt like we needed to change our go-to market. We really didn’t know what that meant, but we knew that we needed to find a repeatable market to sell into that we could drive sales and marketing against.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Building a VC-Funded B2C CRM Company From Virginia: Zaius Founder and CTO Spencer Pingry
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