Ryan Disraeli has raised tens of millions of dollars and exited for over $230M. Yet, he ultimately found his business home in an unexpected place for an entrepreneur.
During his recent guest appearance on the DealMakers podcast, Ryan Disraeli shared his journey into entrepreneurship at a young age, the fun of bootstrapping and raising millions, the process of having your company acquired, and what you do next.
Long Line of Dentists
Ryan says he was very fortunate to grow up in San Diego, Southern California. He came from a long line of dentists. His father, grandfather and his father were all dentists. He became the first one to go into tech.
He enjoyed being around the business but was very much more interested in the business side than looking in people’s mouths. He wanted to know how they acquired new clients, managed the practice and managed people. He was always trying to start small entrepreneurial ventures.
When it came time for college he went to USC and majored in business. It was there he found an incubator program in the school and got to begin working in an entrepreneurial setting without needing to put in his own capital. There he met his two cofounders and the friction which would lead to their startup.
The head of the incubator’s nephew had his own online business. They began running into fraud issues.
At the time the solution was to manually call customers after an order was placed. Not a very efficient process. Certainly not one that would scale well.
Ryan and his team replaced this system with an IVR platform which sent automated security codes the user would then punch in online. You’ve probably encountered it already on a regular basis.
Disraeli was still a teenager at the time. Yet, they bootstrapped and got creative. Their servers sat in the incubator’s kitchen. When there was an outage, his cofounder would manually call customers and pretend to be a bot reading the code. They hustled to find clients so the three of them could afford to do it full time, they could hire some outsourced help and keep building.
Today they are doing billions of transactions per month.
Striving For Scale
They knew small customers really weren’t going to turn this into a really big business. They tried and tried to sell big clients. They wanted to hire better talent.
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