Steven Kramer is a full-cycle entrepreneur who has built more than one substantial company.
In our interview on the DealMakers podcast, Kramer detailed his first startup, the company he built and scaled through a $1.5 billion exit, reverse takeovers, negotiating tips, and how he picked the investors who helped fund his latest venture with $70M.
Growing Up Entrepreneur
Steven Kramer was born and grew up in Montreal, Canada. He found it a great multi-cultural experience. One that not only equipped him with more than one language but a more rounded view of the world too.
He loved it so much he decided to stay in Canada after graduating from university. Even though many of his friends and fellow students were moving to the US.
Steven had the great advantage of having a father who was an entrepreneur. His dad began his first software business all the way back in 1968. He certainly had a big impact. From his father, he learned the values of dedication and hard work, as well as building a collaborative workplace culture.
Through weekend trips into the office, he found a love of technology and what it meant to own your own business.
In fact, after studying accounting and information technology at McGill University, Steven started his first company with his father in 1999.
His dad’s rule was that he had to continue his education and pursue his MBA. He got into Oxford at just 22 years old. Though eventually, his father admitted he had well earned his MBA in the trenches of the business.
He credits this time and his father as a mentor for learning a lot of his sales and negotiation skills too. That often meant focusing on value. What value and ROI can you prove you can offer your potential customers (or even investors for that matter). If you are confident in the value you have to offer, you can negotiate from a position of power.
Of course, this also means considering the ability to generate a quick feedback loop, and ensuring the investment in your product is returned to buyers quickly.
It is also important to recognize that the industry is cyclical. During some periods, like right now, customers may be far more concerned about cost-cutting than augmenting revenues.
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