Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call click here.

In the bustling world of technology and entrepreneurship, few stories resonate as profoundly as that of Kyle Forster. From his roots in the heart of innovation in Silicon Valley to his ventures into groundbreaking startups, Kyle’s journey is a testament to resilience, foresight, and the pursuit of excellence. His latest venture is RunWhen.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Witnessing the IPO boom in Silicon Valley ignited Kyle Forster’s determination to pursue entrepreneurship, showcasing the power of early inspiration in shaping career trajectories.
  • Kyle’s journey across multiple consulting clients in his first few years underscored the importance of diverse experiences in honing entrepreneurial skills and navigating various industries.
  • Choosing the right niche at the right time propelled Kyle’s career, demonstrating the importance of strategic decision-making in entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • Kyle’s ventures, like Big Switch Networks and RunWhen, illustrate how innovation coupled with market opportunity can drive disruptive change in industries.
  • Kyle’s adept handling of equity, debt, and strategic financing highlights the crucial role of capital management in sustaining and scaling startups.
  • The acquisition journey of Big Switch Networks underscores the importance of strategic alignment and resilience in navigating complex acquisition cycles.
  • Kyle’s emphasis on fostering cohesive remote work cultures emphasizes the significance of connectivity, routine, and modern collaboration tools in managing distributed teams effectively.



For a winning deck, see the commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here). 

Detail page image


The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

About Kyle Forster:

Kyle spent most of his career at Cisco, initially as the technical assistant to SVP Mike Volpi and later as a Product Manager in the cellular and wifi business units.

He launched three v1.0 products in wireless and security and finished his time there managing a ~$100m portfolio of Cisco’s WLAN Controllers.

Between Cisco and Big Switch, Kyle was VP of Product Management at Joost, a peer-to-peer TV over the internet company from the founders of Skype.

He started his career at the eBusiness consulting company Scient, first as a Java developer and later as an engineering manager and co-founder of the wireless practice.

Kyle Forster, based in London, GB, is currently a Founder/CEO at RunWhen, bringing experience from previous roles at Google, Big Switch Networks, and Joost.

Kyle Forster holds a Master of Business Administration in Business @ Stanford University.

See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Or Acquisition Efforts

  • Fundraising or Acquisition Process: get guidance from A to Z.
  • Materials: our team creates epic pitch decks and financial models.
  • Investor and Buyer Access: connect with the right investors or buyers for your business and close them.

Book a Call

Connect with Kyle Forster:

Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:

Alejandro Cremades: All righty hello everyone and welcome to the deal maker show. So do today we have ah with us another another founder a repeated founder. You know we’re gonna be learning quite a bit you know when it comes to building scaling. You know all of that good stuff that we like to hear now in the case of our founder today you know he’s done. It. You know before you know, very heavily funded startup and now he’s doing more. You know the lean and mean you know type of um approach we’re going to be talking about how to identify you know, exciting you know markets also ah going to market. We’re going to be talking about some of the trends. You know that he’s seeing. Around the world of Ai and many many different things so without further ado. Let’s welcome our guest today Kyle Foster welcome to the show. So originally born in New Jersey

Kyle Forster: They thank you I’ll have a big fan.

Alejandro Cremades: But you grew up in the Bay area give us a walkthrough memory lane. How was life growing up for you.

Kyle Forster: Yeah, well I moved around a lot when I was young but I always think of myself as being from the bay area and for me I I was growing up at a time when Silicon Valley was coming on the scene I mean I remember friends from high school that were a few years ahead of me. Dropping out of college to start startups I mean this was the mid 90 s and all of a sudden it was just this amazing place to be I was actually working on a intern on the trading floor montgomery securities when Netscape did their ipo and to be sitting there as an intern on a trading floor watching this amazing ipo that to me is a defining moment for the tech industry. Yeah. Well it it booze a big influence on what I wanted to do next.

Alejandro Cremades: Now for you. Obviously you know like you were in the land of innovation you know, even in high school you see kids dropping out to do their own companies I mean how do you think that also helped you know for you to to know that eventually one day was going to be your turn.

Kyle Forster: You know I kind of always knew that I wanted to start a company to me that was always that was always the goal and that it was what do I need to do to be prepared for that so that I can do a reasonably good job for me that was the early part of my career. It was learning ah about yeah. Engineering first and then learning about management and then learning about the different markets that I wanted to be at but to me I was new. The goal for me was always starting. Something.

Alejandro Cremades: So then so then in your case you know like for this, What was the also the experience of going to college and then right after college. Um ultimately doing a startup I mean when when you went to college Actually you know like no surprises there. You know with a degree that that you ended up studying. So Why walk us through what was the also the mentality and the thought process of hey I want to do you know computer signs and the whole you know shabang there and and go into it.

Kyle Forster: I actually have a funny story about that I went to college with no intention of doing engineering I thought that it was going to be way too difficult. So I started wanting to do politics I had a advisor who was a professor in his first year and he he saw some my test scores from high school and he actually refused to sign my course cards unless I took math and physics as a freshman I rounded the bend of the end of freshman year I’m like hey I’ve actually taken some of the hardest engineering classes I might as well switch in so I switched into one of the lighter forms of engineering and then I had a couple of friends who were in electrical engineering who said, hey tell you? what. You take a couple classes with us by the end of sophomore year I felt like I had taken the hardest classes in electrical engineering. So I switched into that I was dead wrong I got completely slaughtered junior and senior year. But you know I kind of fell into it bit by bit.

Alejandro Cremades: So you ended up you know graduating and then startups. You know one thing that is interesting here is you went and you started working at a startup versus starting a startup of your own. So why did you do that.

Kyle Forster: Are the.

Kyle Forster: I didn’t think that I was ready coming straight out of college and I got some great advice. Ah somebody said hey what market do you care deeply about and I said I don’t know yet I know that I want to start a company they said well until you know you should try to see as many markets as you can I joined a. Ah, firm at the time was a start was a consultant to startups who are building tons and tons of ecommerce sites and related sites I got to I was actually a consultant on this whole series of really interesting banking sites other financial services some sports sites some major ecommerce sites. So got to see and in a fairly short period I got to see a lot of different ah just a lot of different verticals and how in you know at this point in the early 2000 how they were embracing their very very early days of the web. So as fascinating. It was kind of like a big survey course ultimately during the tech downturn in Silicon Valley you know I kind of had the opportunity with my firm to either moved to New York or moved to Austin but I had just gotten into grad school. Um I was managing a very very large team at the time but the company was shrinking I said hey I’ve been going for managing a large team started managing a small team. Why I go back to grad school. So at that point I moved over as a grad student.

Alejandro Cremades: I mean going from like the technical side more to the business side. You know that’s quite a quite a transition. You know how was that for you.

Kyle Forster: Um, the ah you know I think even at my first job while I was working for clients during the day I had a. Ah nights and weekends gig at the company that ah I was kind of recruiting with a couple of friends a group to put together wireless practice. The company didn’t have it. We were doing all kinds of experiments to teach ourselves wireless. This was like an. 4001 so it was real rough prototyping. It was nothing nothing even close to what you’d think of as mobile today. Ah but it meant 2 things a it meant whenever a client had any interest at all in wireless and this was 2001 as it was starting to become a thing. There were only a few of us at the company who actually knew what we were talking about and so suddenly we became kind of these experts within the company and we realized that actually most other companies around us people didn’t know a whole lot more than we did so the small group of us just a year or two out of college became viewed as these big experts. Ah. Ah, these early days of back then what was Wap Andchtml and all kinds of transcoding. Um, it was a real thrill I mean it led me to believe that it just doesn’t take that much to become a worlds expert if you pick your niche properly and then as that niche starts growing it leads to these incredible career opportunities.

Kyle Forster: Was the first in my class to get a class about 100 people or so I was the first in my class to get promoted to a director not because I was great at management or not because I had incredible performance reviews. It was because I had spent nights and weekends working on this wireless thing and suddenly it was very much in demand and every client needed it. Remember managing a big engineering team and having my vp come up and he said Kyle you know there’s absolutely no way that a 23 year old like you should be managing a 50 person engineering team with the company but we have a bigger problem I said what is that so well we can’t find anybody else so you’re in. And you’ve got the job until you lose it which was a pretty wonderful thing to hear it just made me a big believer that this particular approach would become a really deep expert in an area. And just make sure that you picked your area well and that area starts to grow around you I think it’s a wonderful way to navigate careers. It’s advice I’ve given to a lot of people and I’ve seen a lot of people’s careers really flourish in that area.

Alejandro Cremades: So then so then when when finally you know like you decided to go at it and to be become an entrepreneur entrepreneur. You know that was your first company was with big switch networks I mean what? what do you think needed to happen for you to to realize that you were ready.

Kyle Forster: Are.

Alejandro Cremades: You know to to go about it.

Kyle Forster: You know it was I would say 50% ah desire and 50% opportunity an old friend of mine had become a friend of mine from grad school become a professor at Stanford he was very entrepreneurial himself. He said hey my research team gets together on tuesdays. And it’s really interesting and we’re starting to see some people from Cisco and you know you had worked at Cisco. Why don’t you come and sit in if you’d be interested I stepped into the room and this research team and a the research was very interesting but I looked around the room and I recognized one of the top distinguished engineers from cisco was sitting to my left. And then 2 seats down to my right was one of the top distinguished engineers from juniper these guys were really really on to something with massive impact this turned out a couple years later to be called software defined networking which I think in the data center networking space. Biggest sort of the biggest thing the last two decades um but there in the very early and nascent days. It was fascinating because it was not only the quality of the research but I looked around and it was the quality of the people that were involved that really stuck out to me as this is something this is something I want to attach myself to. Spent six months with the research team plus reading everything that I could about the papers they published using the open source that all the grad students across 5 different universities were working on myself. Ah my same pattern of just spend five six months becoming as much of an expert as I possibly can.

Kyle Forster: So towards the end I could hold my own with any of the grad students and any of the professors that were studying in this area.

Alejandro Cremades: So what happened next then.

Kyle Forster: Ah, the professor that I mentioned recruited me and the 2 of us left to start big switch. We recruited out about half of his about half of his grad students. A number of his professors who recruited out a whole series of actually distinguished engineers from Cisco and from the networking team at Vmware. We had an amazing team I mean ah.

Kyle Forster: I think when we were like 25 people like 18 of the 25 had ph ds and most of them had been distinguished engineers at one company or another it was an incredible incredible team. We also raised a ton of money. Um, the first investors in were Michael Dell Charlie Jin Carlo the former Vp of engineering at Cisco and then and then Mike Volby the former head of m and a from Cisco and so by the time you have investors of that depth in the area I remember even 3 years into the company of Ec Saintal what diligence question I’m possibly going to ask that Michael Dell Charlie Gn Carlo and Mike Vulpi all missed. We’re just here to talk about how much so we had amazing investors. We had an absolutely amazing team. But since we’re going after a really well understood market. We raised a ton of money because market risk wasn’t an issue. The issue was engineering risk and. And kind of the technical risk with this big innovation of software defined networking and if you think about it. You know it took me a long time to realize that the amount of money that we raise isn’t so much a property of the business idea it is to some extent. But you have to think about as an entrepreneur the risks that you’re taking and if you’re taking a lot of market risk then you should raise money slowly. It’s one of these.

Alejandro Cremades: I will talk about the that the the strategy is there to raise the money but I guess before getting into that you know just for the people listening to get it. What ended up being the business model of big switch networks. How are you guys making making money there.

Kyle Forster: I was very straightful. We had this idea of separating out the revenue streams in networking between hardware and software at the time data center switching was a seventy and eighty percent gross margin product. In fact, the absolute margin in the switches in Iraq in a data center. Was actually more than the absolute dollar margin of all of the servers in that rack combined so extraordinarily high-margin area but because the hardware was not super expensive. The software on the other hand people didn’t realize these switches have millions of lines of code in them so we partnered up with companies that were interested in hey we’ll sell the hardware. And then we’ll let you sell the software in order for us to run a very high-margin software company and that that became the business.

Alejandro Cremades: So let’s talk about the capital raising because I know that you guys say raised 100000000 on the equity side and then also 40000000 on the depth side. So what was that the progression or that journey of the going from 1 financing cycle to the next because it sounds like the business. You know you guys went at it right away. And it was capital intensive too.

Kyle Forster: It was very capital and I mean if you look at the process of what we were building. We had 6 different engineering projects that all needed to come together at the same space and time to create a v 1 thato product. Ah. Networking in general is kind of that way. It’s the engineering process itself is very capital intensive. That’s why in switching and routing you. You don’t see that many startups. Um, if any of those engineering projects had gone wrong the entire system wouldn’t work. Ah so we were taking a lot of risk on that front the market. However, you know at the time data center. Switching itself was an $8000000000 market if you look at the larger networking market called switching plus routing we’re talking about at the time you know, give or take around a $24000000000 market with a very fixed set of competitors. You know cisco juniper and then 5 others so you could see competitors coming from a mile away. The market was very large. The market was very high margin. It’s a whole series of risks that we weren’t taking but we were taking a lot of engineering execution risk and we were taking some lack of better word called science risk to see if the algorithms that were originally developed at Stanford for software to find networking would hold up.

Alejandro Cremades: So then so then walk us through that journey you know of of raising all this money and also you know like why equity versus debt. You know what was the the thinking you know behind having those types of structures to on the capital side of things.

Kyle Forster: To.

Kyle Forster: For that particularly when we raised a lot of equity upfront. So we raised almost. We actually spent almost $35000000 in the process of building RV one point zero ah at that company and and I don’t think it could have been done for for much less I mean these products are very expensive to build.

Kyle Forster: Um, that was all equity in the yeah as we then kind of came out to market as we were starting to grow a salesforce more and more of the equity raises from there were really all about growing a salesforce to specifically go after frankly Cisco and Juna Brenarista um the debt we raised at the end was ah mean at that point. When we sold the company we’re running around $70000000 or so in in annualized sales I think that we raised debt when we were sort of in the forty fifty million dollars of annualized sales give or take you know when we could kind of start to chart quarter to quarter to quarter I mean we I remember at that point went. Twenty two quarters in a row where we were within 10% of our forecast so you know as soon as the business became very very chartable. Um, we decided to raise debt. In addition, equity. We were also raising equity kind of through that through that period. But for a couple of different dynamics. The debt made a lot of sense. That was also very cheap at that point to tell you the truth it was I mean $40000000 of near 0 coming in debt.

Alejandro Cremades: So then. So then you know coming into the full cycle of having done the whole thing you know over the course of 10 years now you reach the finish line you were able to see how also the yeman a site works. You know the acquisition process and what what was the takeaway you know from seeing that full cycle. You know as a founder too. But kind of visibility that did that give you.

Kyle Forster: You know I’d say that kind of there’s this adage of companies are are boughtt not sold I couldn’t agree more because even though there were a series of very logical acquires for the company. The timing is something that you can never predict. We were almost bought at 3 different times along the journey. Ah, and you can never predict the timing of an m and a cycle it is I I simply don’t believe it if anybody says that’s possible if a company wants to sell. Maybe the buyer is ready. Maybe they’re not there are times when you’re not ready to sell and we have two of those where. Buyers came in we said and then you know, kind of we’re we’re putting offers on the table so you know to me the takeaway is you selling a company is for you as a founder for a management team. It’s not really up to you. You have to. Always think about are are we driving growth. Are we driving profitability are we driving growth. Are we driving profitability and you can run a process but there are so many factors that go in to a material acquisition right? I mean you know a couple hundred million dollars in above acquisition. There’s so many different factors for any acquire. The the timing. At the corporate level with wall street assuming the public company has to be just right at the business unit level given the cycles of their business unit has to be right at the political capital of your various champions political capital what senior levels and all these companies goes up and down and so you all 3 of those things need to come in.

Kyle Forster: It’s like 3 moons that all need to suddenly come into alignment for an acquisition to happen and in between those periods you have to be growing the company and you have to be focusing on profitability. So I mean my takeaway is don’t spend too much time thinking about who would buy you or when because the who you know. Maybe you can make take an educated guess but the 1 nobody knows.

Alejandro Cremades: So then once the company got acquired. You know it sounds like as the saying goes once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur but in your case you want to like a you know, put out a little pause there and you went to Google you went to Google you know for you know a year and a half so why Google why? not.

Kyle Forster: I. But.

Alejandro Cremades: Doing it again because now you’ve been at it again. So was Google like more like um as a way for you to reflect and to perhaps you know do a change of the course you know and the path that you were into or or what was the what was the nature of of that switch.

Kyle Forster: You first I saw in my final couple years a big suit I watched a market shrink and that was hard I knew that me personally I wanted to navigate a path away from networking. Ah the why Google story is actually funny I was. After we were kind of negotiating the final sale to aista I was sort of staying on consulting a bit but looking around at my next gig I had an idea that I was starting to work on I went out to lunch with ah with an old old friend Jennifer and Jennifer and she said that. Yeah I really want I took her out to lunch. She was at Google at the time I really wanted to get her perspective on the idea and she’s said god I think that’s a great idea except for one thing I was like what my team is launching that in four months and I don’t think that Aws team is that far behind us. But if you. Um, and work for me for a little bit. You know I’ll kind of make it worth your time. So I left lunch with kind of ah a job opportunity and no business idea and so I decided to take what was on the table. It was a fascinating learning experience. Frankly I mean I had always grown up in the shadow of the Google buildings. Growing up in the bay area I had almost worked for Google at 1 jun 1 juncture before ah I loved it. I love the culture I loved the people that I met. It was a fantastic work experience. But I mean I went I went to go shopping. You know I was the whole time I was sort of shopping for all right.

Kyle Forster: Is there A really interesting idea. What am I learning here I’m learning a lot about world the world outside of networking. What’s my next startup going to be.

Alejandro Cremades: So at what point do you come? you know with the a the of run when and and why did you run with it.

Kyle Forster: That was serendipitous I mean it was purely I pitched the idea as an internal Google product I thought that it would actually solve problems for a lot of our customers in a really elegant way. And 6 minutes into the conversation. My askvp said hey Kyle as a former entrepreneur and you’re a former entrepreneur you should know and I certainly know this is a really good startup idea. It’s actually a better startup idea than a Google product idea because for a couple of different reasons. It didn’t fit to element portfolio. He was like at minute 7 it was like why? Why are we still having this conversation. We both know what should happen next. Um, so I left him make a blade and started the company.

Alejandro Cremades: So then what? what? what? what happened next you know will cast make us insiders on on that notice you know, being handed and and and venturing into the unknown right.

Kyle Forster: Well I mean I got a clean bill of health of ip from google I think that’s very very important I think a lot of especially young or first -time entrepreneurs don’t spend the time it takes to leave their current employer with good graces with ah with had a kind of good reputation. As well as with very clean documentation about about exact ownership and the next thing that I did was I started since this was really predicated on hey the hyper scalers do this internally and they have their own internal tools to do this and we had never seen an enterprise. Ah, build their own tools to do this? Yeah, we should take this idea the hyperskes are doing and apply it to enterprise. Ah well, it’s a pattern that’s well-known every time you do that it takes you bring on ah a fair amount of market risk. Also well we could see how the tool was used within google and I saw how the equivalent tool was being used at facebook and I thought the equivalent tool is being used at amazon it took a lot of imagination to figure out how to turn it into an enterprise product. So I spent my first six months just me just prototyping and getting user feedback and prototyping getting user feedback. At the end I had 50 ah 50 organizations lined up to say if you build this, we’ll buy it and very interestingly I had kind of found the series of angel investors that I thought were the smartest in this area most of them vps of this area at.

Kyle Forster: Google at Linkedin at Walmart Labs at former Cio Goldman Sachs and uber came on as angel investors because they’ve incubated these teams within their own organizations. So I think finding you know spending the time to do it just myself. Really helps solidify a whole series of different ideas about a the product b the customer base and see since I had those ideas solid investors who were not just putting throwing money at it. These were all investors where this was their life’s work I mean these these folks had spent their you know had spent 101520 years specifically in this area in multiple cases actually building the internal versions of the tools that we were turning into an enterprise product and had a lot of opinions on it so we were able to find I call it very very very unique value. Add and very very unique, kind of added perspective investors. Which I’ve always thought it’s an important step for for a new company.

Alejandro Cremades: So in this case with run when you know what is the business model now. How are you guys making money.

Kyle Forster: We’re early so this was also you know I’m no stranger to serious engineering projects. We raised money very very very slowly because we’re taking a market risk. This is not a category that underp enterprises by today. This is a category that the hyper scalers build inhouse today I wanted to make sure that we have. Our capital raise sort of goes hand in hand with the risks that as we take these risks out of the business. Ah, both in terms of the market and in terms of the product. So we raised a very very small amount knowing that the engineering would take long because we didn’t want to build a 20 or 30 person engineering team. We wanted to do this with a couple of people. Um, to really prove out the risk so we took so we took a two-year engineering cycle. We’re now we’re just now coming out of beta and into our v one dot zero stage but I like to think that we’re you know we’ve taken a huge amount of risk out of the business over last two years ah done it very wisely and on readily speaking a shoes strain budget because the amount of risk that we started with two years ago

Alejandro Cremades: Um, why doing it you know now the way that you’re doing it like lean, not raising that much. You know to get going and why why choosing this path versus the the previous path. Ah you knew of raisingcing money a lot of it. Very quickly.

Kyle Forster: Ah I had that opportunity to I had several vcs say hey look I we will write a very large check even without seeing a business plan I mean it was kind of the heady days of 2020 s I was leaving Google um I think 2 things a.

Kyle Forster: Every business. Every movie is different. You know so you know the avatar is a James Cameron affair and you don’t go in to read the script of the avatar and know James Cameron is involved and expect to spend less than $200000000 on special effects. It’s just what that movie is going to be. And I love sundance film festival movies too and you see there was a wonderful sundance film festival two years ago. The entire thing was shot on an iphone with a total production budget of almost almost $22000 and I think. If you kind of have a little bit of a sense for the market risk that you want to take in the product risk you can kind of backsolve into what sort of capital makes sense and these things have to be in alignment. You know it’s not like 1 just can’t you can’t raise a huge amount of money and then go on take off the crazy market risk. I had a lot of interest you know personally to really do kind of new category creation myself. Um I had a lot of interest in um, in this particular area. You know I kind of saw it work on the hyperscalers of like this is a no-brainer. This should be. An enterprise tool but it’s not um, but at the same time. Yeah, you have to prove that I mean just because it’s my opinion you you need you need 30 and 40 customers to to vote with their dollars to to prove it when you’re doing this type of thing.

Alejandro Cremades: So for these two I mean when you’re thinking about they go to market What does that look like you know in order to be effective and and to succeed at it.

Kyle Forster: No, it’s a great question in the particular market that that I am in you know, call the yeah the sre platform engineering devops tool. It’s very interesting I think we’re coming off of 6 depending on any account 6 to 10 years where nearly every company in this market. Did. Generally did an open source go to-market model. Um, it’s my personal thesis that that was very much driven by 0 interest rate environments that the the open source business model is nowhere near as capital efficient now as it was ten years ago and even then I’m not even sure if it was as capital efficient for the median company that most people think it was so we’re taking a slightly different approach. Um, we have almost like a marketplace model where our contributors contribute scripts. This would be they contribute them an open source. When our customers use those scripts we actually pay a small royalty back to the original author. So. It’s an open source community but it’s a paid open source community I bring this up because it’s a very different take on open source open source companies generally don’t pay their contributors. Um.

Kyle Forster: Which I think is um, yeah I think this will prove itself out over the next ten years is you can’t build it without um, but the fascinating thing to me is we’ve already seen. We’re certainly relying on. We’ve already seen that these contributors then take us into customers. They take us into customer after customer after customer after customer. So it’s. Not only a way for us to build up our library of code but it’s a very interesting. Go-to market model at the same time.

Alejandro Cremades: So now for Runway and imagine you know you were to go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world where the vision you know the company is fully realized what does that world look like.

Kyle Forster: Lots of people get promoted I mean I’m lucky I look back big switch I’m just so proud I mean i. The first ten customers that we had I know they got promoted because they bought big switch because for 7 of them I wrote letters that became part of their own internal promotion packets I’m proud of a lot of things about the company but that’s one of the things that I’m really proud of. And me run win. We’ve constructed this a I think that our buyers I think a lot of them will get promoted because they’ll be bringing Ai into the operations area of their company for the first time they’ll bring massive amounts of automation. They’ll be able to look around and say hey wow we run our we run our ops the way the Google runs them and we never could have done that without runwin. That’ll make me very proud I think a lot of people will get promoted for that and then our authors to whom we pay royalties I hope that we can make a lot of full time jobs for people that just want to work for themselves as an entrepreneur themselves and want to build their own entrepreneurial base on top of our platform. And would make me incredibly proud.

Alejandro Cremades: And and also for you guys I mean you have everyone now remote You know how do you? How do you go about building a culture you know where you have everyone you know somewhere in the world. How does that How does that work.

Kyle Forster: Um, Ah I’d say that’s a fascinating. It’s a fascinating question. A Let’s note sales teams have and have been doing doing this remote work thing since the dawn of Enterprise Sales. So. I Don’t think it’s fair to say that Enterprise Great Enterprise products haven’t been built this way. Great Enterprise companies haven’t been built this way in the past when about half of the company is fully remote I think we can take a lot of management tools out of yeah how people managing remote sales teams and use them to manage that. Company as a whole in-person is really important. It really is getting together. Everybody for offsites talking about the offsites. You know, just because you don’t do it every day or even every week doesn’t mean you don’t do it. You just do it at a very different cadence I Think that’s really really really important because you have to be.. Everybody’s got a meet face-to-face I think that you have to establish a whole series of routines that people trust that people think are very very predictable because the problem that I’ve seen with remote teams is that somebody just doesn’t show up for meeting and it’s kind of mysterious whereas in the office you can see somebody didn’t show up for a meeting Oh because there were. Turning green earlier the day there were clearly sick and you know 4 people in the office said you go Home. You’re about to throw up. You know, remote somebody just doesn’t dial in so I think you have to establish a whole series of routines around that I think that last you have to be really smart around how you use modern tools. Yeah, where not only do we use a whole bunch of.

Kyle Forster: Collaboration tools. But we are constantly experimenting with new collaboration tools that are all real-time that I’ll show presence to give somebody a feel for I’m working next to you even though we’re actually a thousand miles apart time. Zone is the 1 thing that you can’t conquer. We have a company time. Zone usc’s coast that is our company time zone because. Just can’t win against that. But I think a lot of these collaboration tools make a lot of other parts look It’s never easy, but it’s better.

Alejandro Cremades: So now imagine I was to put you into a time machine and I bring you back in time you know maybe to that time where you were in 2010 wondering what was going to be your you know first company and let’s say you had the opportunity of. Having a chat with that younger self with that younger Kyle and being able to give that younger Kyle one piece of advice before launching a company. What would that be and why given what you know now.

Kyle Forster: Um, I’ve over and over and over the mantra that I had in my head for years and years and years. My first company was this is your life’s work. This is your life’s work. This is what you will be known for forever. Um.

Kyle Forster: It’s a wonderful motivator to do the right thing in many cases it it Also really blinds you to very pragmatic decisions that you have to make along the way some of which are ugly personally but you just have to do them. Ah some of which are.

Kyle Forster: Yeah, hey wait this is going to be my life’s work. Yeah, but this is profitable like so you know yeah think there’s a lot of I think a lot of founders. Especially I mean I was young at the time I was by 10 years I mean I think even when the company was 25 people I was by 10 years the youngest person in the company. Um.

Kyle Forster: A lot of young founders. Especially you kind of get caught up like this is my life’s work and I think I would tell myself like you got a couple of these in you build a nice company really build a great company but don’t get so wrapped Up. Don’t get so incredibly emotionally wrapped up around every little inch of this being your life’s work that’s too much pressure on you. And it creates a lot of weirdness with the people around you and sometimes it can cause some bad decisions.

Alejandro Cremades: I love it so Kyle for the people that are listening that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so.

Kyle Forster: Um, I you know I think I just actually on Linkedin put a hey book a meeting like you can literally straight off Linkedin. You can book a meeting link with me I I am incredible I mean obviously I did it for customers but 1 other thing with bigswitch after you know a company of only about one hundred and seventy people we had 6 people go on to be founder ceos themselves every single one funded by tier one investors every single one I’ve talked to I’ve helped those that I could I was invested in everyone that I had the chance if somebody wants help on getting a company started I have gotten so much help in my career I would love to pay it forward. So. Go home like that and just book a meeting.

Alejandro Cremades: I love it well Kyle thank you so much for taking the time to be on the deal maker show with us. It has been an absolute honor. So thank you Kyle.

Kyle Forster: Thank I Appreciate this.


If you like the show, make sure that you hit that subscribe button. If you can leave a review as well, that would be fantastic. And if you got any value either from this episode or from the show itself, share it with a friend. Perhaps they will also appreciate it. Also, remember, if you need any help, whether it is with your fundraising efforts or with selling your business, you can reach me at [email protected]


Facebook Comments

Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call

Book a Call

Swipe Up To Get More Funding!


Want To Raise Millions?

Get the FREE bundle used by over 160,000 entrepreneurs showing you exactly what you need to do to get more funding.

We will address your fundraising challenges, investor appeal, and market opportunities.