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Bootstrapping to Exit, Then do a VC-Funded Venture: Cordial CEO Jeremy Swift (Part 6)

Posted on Monday, Nov 22nd 2021

Sramana Mitra: Once you had the Series A, what was the next major inflection point? What strategic moves did you make to get to that?

Jeremy Swift: I would say it was about just further refinement of what our ICP was and figuring out go-to-market too. That was a hard thing to navigate. It took us years to figure out. Just because you raise venture capital, it doesn’t immediately change those things for you. There’s still a lot of hard work. 

Sramana Mitra: Venture capital doesn’t change anything. You have to still build the business.

Jeremy Swift: There was a little naivete. This was our first time doing that. It took us a number of years to really figure out. As a seed-funded company, you take business from anybody. Once you reach into a more venture-backed company, you have to start thinking more intentionally about who is the ideal customer.

Sometimes that discovery process leads you to a place where you identify that some early clients are not the right fit long-term. We went through that journey. That’s often a hard journey for a lot of startups to be able to go through. We were fortunate to be able to navigate through a number of those different points and still raise a Series B. A lot of that journey was about figuring out ICP and go-to-market strategy. 

Sramana Mitra: What was the conclusion in the go-to-market? What was repeatable? Was it inside sales? Was it inbound marketing inside sales? 

Jeremy Swift: An enterprise sales model as we moved up market. It’s not something you snap your fingers on and just say, “We’re moving up to the enterprise.” It’s about taking one small enterprise or high mid-market and then leveraging that one to go get the next one. It’s bit by bit, but we leveraged an enterprise sales model there.

We had fits and starts on an inside sales model. That is a function that we started rebuilding again through a more learned and mature strategy. The enterprise sales model and some of the work that we were doing with an ABM approach, those are some of the core fundamentals that were really pivotal to our success. 

Sramana Mitra: Did you raise more money?

Jeremy Swift: We did. We raised an additional $25 million as part of our Series B. We still have plenty of that money in the bank today. We’re thinking about what’s next. We have a phenomenal set of leaders in this business, and we have an exciting opportunity to do something special. I’m not a believer that fund raising is the exclusive path that you have to go down to build a business.

Sramana Mitra: In 1M1M, we don’t believe in that at all. It is one way. We tend to prefer the more capital-efficient ways of company-building.

Jeremy Swift: We’ve raised $35 million whereas two of our biggest competitors have raised $335 million and $200 million. 

Sramana Mitra: Does that reflect in your revenue numbers? How do you compare revenue-wise?

Jeremy Swift: They’re all bigger than us from a revenue perspective. In a Forester report, we’re the number one next-gen provider relative to all of our competitors who had raised significantly more capital. 

Sramana Mitra: Excellent. I enjoyed listening to your story. Thank you for your time. 

This segment is part 6 in the series : Bootstrapping to Exit, Then do a VC-Funded Venture: Cordial CEO Jeremy Swift
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