In a recent episode of the Dealmakers’ Podcast, Matthew Darrow, Co-founder of Vivun, shared his remarkable journey from being an engineer to founding a B2B enterprise software company. His experiences growing up in different parts of the world and his background in engineering laid the foundation for his entrepreneurial spirit.
His venture, Vivun, has attracted funding from top-tier investors like Tiger Global Management, Salesforce Ventures, Accel, and Menlo Ventures.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Background in corporate relocations cultivated a powerful adaptability crucial for entrepreneurial success.
- The transition from coding to sales engineering exemplifies the value of exploring diverse career paths.
- A childhood fascination with roller coasters sparked his love for engineering, influencing his entrepreneurial journey.
- Vivun’s success is rooted in a team with diverse yet complementary skill sets, demonstrating the power of collaboration.
- A journey through seed funding highlights the importance of network connections and targeting the right investors.
- Vivun’s mission reflects the evolving landscape of B2B sales, emphasizing the need for expert-led, product-centric approaches.
- Prioritizing employee safety and building a supportive network of fellow entrepreneurs proves essential in overcoming challenges.
For a winning deck, see the commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here).
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About Matthew Darrow:
Matthew is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder at Vivun, a global provider of Buyer Experience (BX) software. He is passionate about building B2B companies that feel and operate differently. He is energized by bringing first-of-their-kind products to market to put an end to B2B selling as we know it.
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Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: Righty hello everyone and welcome to the dealmaker show. So today. We have another founder another really exciting founder with a very exciting company that he’s building and we’re going to be talking about all that good stuff that we like to hear and especially you know in this case I mean they’ve done. You know a few rounds so we’re gonna be talking about when to raise how to raise why to raise from those partners. Also how to deal with the ah with the different environments. You know that are coming at you like the war in Ukraine the macro environment and. Also a very interesting founding team I gotta tell you is the first time that I come across a founding team that is comprised of 2 married couples so without further ado. Let’s welcome our guests today Matthew Darrell welcome to the show. Fantastic.
Matt Darrow: Hey Thanks! Ah, thanks for having me that was a great lead in we could We could talk for hours on all those different topics. So I’m happy to be here and looking forward to sure shares a lot of my knowledge for the audience.
Alejandro Cremades: I love it. So so let’s do a little of a walkthrough memory lane here Matt because I know that you know being born and raised you know in in in Pennsylvania moving to Japan and coming back I mean there was like quite a little bit of moving there and and a lot of exciting stuff that happened you know while you were growing up so walk us through. Things you know how was life growing up.
Matt Darrow: Well I think ah I think I moved around a lot just because of my ah, my family’s corporate jobs and corporate careers. So born in Ohio in the midwest relocated to Japan relocated to Pennsylvania relocated to California a lot of folks thought that I was part of an army or a military family. Um, but just really corporate America but I think that that started to drive a little bit of the entrepreneurial spirit because I have a trouble ah sort of sitting still and and being still I always like to push things forward whether or not it’s so where I live or where I travel with the businesses that I operate um, but for me. You know I’m an engineer by background I knew I wanted to be an engineer when I was in second grade and I followed that through all the way through my masters out in California at Ucla and I very quickly realized writing software code in a very small room all day by myself was just not going to be a fit for me long term. So I started to explore other careers and I went from sort of you know code writing engineering into deploying custom enterprise software with global consulting firms like Deloitte and ultimately wound up in the wild world of sales engineering this mix of engineering and ah sort of sales professional. And I spent nearly fifteen years there and I learned a lot of lessons that ultimately generated the impetus for viven the company that I co-founded and we’re talking about today.
Alejandro Cremades: And we’re gonna be talking about you know, Bever quite a bit. Ah now 1 thing that I like to ask you about is you know because obviously the personality and the character is really shaping shape shaping up like during you know the early years and I find that you know like we. As humans we go into different chapters and every single chapter you know are giving us. You know the lens the visibility the character I guess in your case you know moving so much when you were growing up I mean that sounds you know, quite challenging. You know also because of the uncertainty because of. You know, having to make new friends. You know, moving around. You know, new environments. Also you were fluent in Japanese then all of a sudden then you’re not speaking japanese you’re back to english so I guess how? Ah how do you think that shaped who you are and then also you being able to deal with uncertainty as a human being.
Matt Darrow: I think the two things that come to mind for me. The first one is adaptability because you’re right? You’re you’re adapting to new environments new living situations, new cuisines new people and I think that led for me at least to sort of an extreme comfort in the unknown. And when I think about starting a company from scratch or being a founder. Um, you have to be really really comfortable leaping into something where you’re not really quite sure. What’s going to happen next and I see that forge from so many of my formidable years like moving somewhere when I didn’t speak the language ah moving somewhere that was a very very small town. In Pennsylvania you know my in my neighbors had eighty acres of farmland and then relocating to Berkeley California in high school which is one of the sort of the most ah diverse cities in the us. So there’s ah there’s a lot that I learned along the way that I think just helped me be adaptable. But then at the same time. You know roll with the punches. Not everything goes your way and you live to learn from it and like from it and and grow at the same time.
Alejandro Cremades: And the whole engineering approach and the problem solving how how did they love for that. You know develop.
Matt Darrow: Well this one this one’s actually a little bit of an embarrassing story because I was infatuated with roller coasters when I was when I was a kid and that’s actually what drove me to even sign up to get into engineering as a discipline later On. Because you know I asked my I asked my dad is like hey Um, how do you go and build these things one day he said well you have to be an engineer you need to know a lot about Mathematics. You need to know a lot about physics and that sent me on that journey from a very very young age and even now well you know I’m not I’m not sort of the one you know writing the software applications directly. I Still ah exercise this part of my love of engineering you know I’m a pilot on the side too. So it’s It’s kind of the world’s best ah roller coastaer where you can go and fly yourself through the sky in any maneuver that you want so things seem to turn out on that front I’ve got a pits s Two B. It’s a.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing. A pilot What kind of stuff. Do you fly.
Matt Darrow: It’s ah unlimited aerroobatic aircraft so it’s ah its ah, it’s a blast when you come out here. Ah, it’s a 2 seatter so I could take you up.
Alejandro Cremades: My god it sounds like 1 of those crazy like red bull. You know things that that people used to do all kinds of good stuff. So that’s that’s amazing now 1 thing that I like to ask you here is how do you How did you find yourself into the venture world because obviously sura you know, ended up your immediate step before. You know, founding bibon. But how do you enter the venture world.
Matt Darrow: It it? Um yeah, the real story here is it wasn’t a foregone conclusion I wasn’t you know marching through my career post-engineering saying I know that I’m going to be a founder and you know I had this timeline in my mind and I had this idea in my mind. Um. Sort of naturally ah, just all these points converged where you know after deploying s a for Deloitte and then getting into the world of sales engineering I was at big machines for a few years which was a cbq provider that got acquired by oracle so learned a lot there early in my careers and I see and then moved over to Zora and was with them from. Single digits of air are to hundreds of millions of air are on the Ipo journey and at that time honestly at the end of that ipo run um I was kind of burnt out and I wasn’t sure if b 2 b enterprise software was a space that I wanted to be. Um, it’s super challenging and there’s a lot of interesting dynamics with customers and politics and bureaucracy and everything that sort of goes into it. Um I needed a break and what found myself ah into the world of venture ultimately was when I took time off and in mind you this time off was I bought a 1 ne-way plane ticket to New Zealand my wife was at Google at the time and we said yeah, let’s ah, let’s spend some time together to reconnect and we weren’t sure how long we would be gone.
Matt Darrow: Took our house that was in Oakland at the time and we put it on Airbnb and it rented out for a whole year immediately. So we’re like well I guess yeah, we might be gone for a little while and what happened is only after about three short months of having no responsibility except kind of the the space to relax and think and unwind. I had of a series of ideas that I started to think about and one of those became Vivin which was hey you know I spent 15 years of my career building and running sales engineering teams with no enabling technology. This is a critical group to driving revenue at b two b companies. This makes absolutely no sense. There’s no product or technology or how do we start working on it and that was the kickoff where I was writing the first lines of code and developing the first version of the website even the first few pitch deck slides at an airbnb in New Zealand and ultimately when I was working on it over 14 hours a day with my wife. Ah, we said we got to go back home to the states and put a founding team together because we can’t stop actually working on this idea.
Alejandro Cremades: So you said that you had a few ideas. So how do you? you know, started validating each one of those and and why out of those ideas bibon was the one that you thought had more legs. So.
Matt Darrow: It It was the idea that I had the deepest personal experience with I think you know I would classify the other ideas that I was kicking around as just a little bit more aspirational things that maybe were tangential to Hobbies I had or experiences I had in the Past. Um, but when it came to vivin. Um, it spoke so deeply to what I had just been through for over a decade that I had a very very unique insight that a lot of folks in the market didn’t have which was what presales was capable of how it could impact their business and what technology can and should do for this group because it just never existed So when I thought about. Well, if we’re going to build a really big company from scratch. We need to have a unique market insight. We need to have a point of view that nobody else has and we need to be able to build technology to make all that come true. Um, and it turned out that you know when we started thinking about talking about what viven could be. Ah, we couldn’t We couldn’t let it go couldn’t let it out of our minds and had to keep working on it.
Alejandro Cremades: So then talk to me about getting the bound to the band together here because I mean is is I mean I gotta tell you I mean I’ve met a lot of founders. But I I think that you are the very first one. The very first company. The very first founding team that I come across that is. Not one but 2 married couples I mean talk to me about this.
Matt Darrow: But it and you know it actually made the initial fundraising process kind of difficult because you’re right? It’s it’s ah it’s not quite normal sometimes you’ll run into one married couple I think the the first thing was in your point on how do you assemble the band. Um, so you know Dominique. My wife who was ex-google she was with me down in New Zealand when we were figuring out an ideating Vivin. So we both had very very ah complementary but dissimilar skillsets so myself from a product engineering background. That’s always been my focus and she had a very big focus in customer success support and even enterprise sales. So we knew that there are 2 halves of this equation that naturally were complementary. Um, when we decided to come back to start the company. Um, it was very very clear who I was going to approach next and it was my longtime friend of over a decade John Bruce ah who I worked with at Zora on the ipo run um, that. Is also extremely complimentary, but not overlap in our skillset John brings very very deep technical engineering domain expertise as a sort of longtime computer scientist. One of the first five engineers at Pandora he was able to sort of start to bring my initial concepts to life that. I would say went from really rough Mvp that I could put together to polished product that we could start to get initial customers on and it just so happened. Happenstance. John’s wife Claire was a ah lawyer by background running ah hr in legal and operations for a billion dollar business
Matt Darrow: And um, it was about time that they were itching for a startup journey. So um, you know we approached them and we’re able to actually say you know if we put this group together. Yeah, it might look a little strange because it’s 2 married couples. But the reason we’re doing it is because the skill sets were perfect. Complementary matches that amplified everybody and being able to go on a ride with some of the folks that you’ve been closest to throughout your life is ah you know something really special about it.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s incredible now. Obviously someone that you know personally that has done a business in the past with with my wife I think that you need to have 2 different levels of communication right? like when you’re a married couple. Also you know, pushing a. Ah, Hypergrowth company like this I mean you need to have the communication that you would typically have at the house and then a different type of communication at the office and if you’re not able to really have this. You know it could be a little a little problematic. So How do you guys? go about making sure that the communication levels are right. And then also in terms of the dynamics. How does that work.
Matt Darrow: Well this is ah you’re spot on and this podcast could quickly turn into marriage counseling very very quickly here. Um, but but a lot of this is um, first of all I can’t like when when folks ask me the question around you know working with you know, close friends or you know a spouse.
Alejandro Cremades: And.
Matt Darrow: I couldn’t imagine building the business in any other way because startup building is all consuming and and I don’t think we would have the success that we have right now as a company. Um, if we both weren’t all in on the same venture. It would have been far easier for Dominique to have gone back to Google and sort of me to try my hand at viven. But when we both fully committed to the idea one. It makes it very clear. You know this has to work and we will make it work no matter what but you also ebb and flow together. So when times are good when times are bad when things are chaotic when things are calm. You can sort of ride that wave at the same time and it brings a level of sanity to kind of what is a very chaotic journey to begin with now that’s just how we approach it but you’re right on communication. You know we got caught in that struggle very very early on which is. The way that you might deal with a coworker just in meetings in performance reviews. Ah you have to be very sensitive to that so we try very very hard that there’s time that we work and when we’re not working. We don’t talk about it at all and that helps us you know, sort of keep the fire going on the personal side of our lives while not impacting what we’re able to do. Ah, from the from the business standpoint.
Alejandro Cremades: And to that point you know there is this book called the founders dilemma which is a great book and it talks about also dynamics of co-founders and also how it gets a little bit tricky too when you’re working with family members because you know sometimes you know you don’t want to or many times. You know what could happen is that you don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings. So How have you guys you know, been able to you know, come ah come come you know across this and and and and and and successfully so in order to be able to just you know. Say the things the way that they are and just making sure that there’s only one way that is forward for the company and leave each other’s egos at the door.
Matt Darrow: So the way that we approached that was from the very very first pitch meeting where we went over to John and Clare’s house for dinner to pitch them on the idea of Vivin and joining us on this journey when that when that was clear that it was interesting to them. At that point stopped the discussion to be very clear about roles and responsibilities who would be accountable for what and having been through multiple b two b exits before we know that there’s natural difficult points in a company’s lifetime where. You might not be up for the task or you might need a new leader to come in or you might might not be able to stretch to the next role so we had all that open dialogue first. So if those thorny situations were to be uncovered later one. We’ve already already talked about it. But at the same time we knew what we were getting into as a founding team member. Who was going to bring what to the table. How would we hold each other accountable. How would we talk and treat and communicate each other if we didn’t get that out on the table first I think it could have sort of derailed very quickly and actually honestly a funny story for you about that dinner and I talk about how important a core founding team is because it it keeps you going when times are difficult. Um, it wasn’t the easiest sales pitch to John and Claire to have them join when when at the time when I was flying back from New Zealand I didn’t tell them what I was going to talk to them about so down in my airbnb and I had printed out a 3 slide deck that told the story and the vision of what we’re going to do at Vivin and.
Matt Darrow: They thought we were going to be gone for a year and it was only three months so I sent them a text message hey guys we’re going to be back. Let’s get together for dinner I have something I want to talk to you about and they go okay I’m not not quite sure what this could be. They’re supposed to be on vacation. What could he possibly want to talk about in the end and I show up. And I had my 3 slide pitch deck in this blue folder and we still have this thing framed today in our houses and when I showed up for dinner. There was no context and they actually thought I was about to pitch them on an mlm pyramid scheme and try to rope them into some sort of nefarious like entrepreneurial endeavor. And they were like really really concerned. They didn’t want to be left alone with me at dinner because they weren’t sure if I was going to you know sequester one versus the other. But when I started to pitch John on the idea in the pitch deck you know Claire could see him getting sort of sucked into the idea. And she didn’t know what was going on yet so she was like really fearful and came running out of the house and say okay, we got to stop this conversation. What the hell are you guys talking about out here and then I brought her into the fold and you know it it turned from there in a really great way. That said, oh this makes total sense so you know when you recruit founders you know. They’re in comfortable positions and you have to sell the vision and then it wasn’t for another about four to five months after that event that we could fully dedicate our full time to doing this together. Um John ultimately became beta customer number one for Vivin at his current current job that helped me shake out a lot of bugs.
Matt Darrow: And then made the leap full time with us as we pushed this forward.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing. Beautiful now Now what about tell us about what ended up becoming the business model of bibon How how do you guys make money.
Matt Darrow: So we are a B Two B Enterprise Software company. So subscription So think Salesforce platform fee with a user fee based on the user types that we service.
Alejandro Cremades: Now up until up until this moment. How much capital have you guys raised to date.
Matt Darrow: Um, so this month almost to this date four years ago we started our seed round and since that time we’ve put together one hundred and thirty one million in funding from an awesome set of ah Vc players from unusual ventures to excel menlo. Atlassian Ventures Salesforce Ventures and tiger global.
Alejandro Cremades: Wow. So its like the oscars of Vc now now now let me ask you this because obviously you know in this case, you don’t you don’t you’re not burned. No knowing how to ride a bike I mean you got a fall you got to get back up and it sounds like this seat round was saying quite Bumpy. So why. What? what? what happened during the seed round. What were some of the listeners learned and and how do you think that kaapolded you and and the team to basically you know make sure that you would nail it you know on on the on the on the follow on rounds of financings.
Matt Darrow: The seed round the short answer there is we we literally did everything wrong? Um, which was a shock to us because we had a lot of confidence. We had been through exits before we had been through companies that acquired been through companies that went through Ipos we. We held leadership positions at these organizations. We felt really strongly about what it took to build and run a business. Um and when it came to fundraising though we were first -time founders. So we called our network of you know ceos and and ah ceos and mentors that we knew to kind of get their take. In all honesty, most of the stories that we were told were hey this is going to be really straightforward and quick. You know silicon valley loves to invest in founders with ideas rather quickly you kind of show up with a pitch deck and there’s a term sheet and a way you go like okay um, and that that like did not happen at all. The first thing first s and the first mistake that we had made we waited a really long time to do the seed round. We actually bootstrapped viven for the first nine months. Um on our own because we we had this expectation that nobody would ah sort of give you funding. If you didn’t have a proven business model in product already. So for nine months we spent getting our first 10 customers. Our first few hundred k in air. Our our contracts set our quoting process set our our v 1 product out the door and and we were really proud of that we’re like wow like.
Matt Darrow: We’ve got a business model we we can generate revenue. We can build a product and ship a product. So this is going to be a cakewalk right? Who wouldn’t want to found us right? We’re just going to come in there and say look at our businesses growing. Ah you know can we can we go and start to sort of put you know, put some put some steam behind this. So so the. The next mistake that we made was who we approached and this is I think one of the biggest lessons that I I would impart to ah founders out there people thinking about going through a journey is sort of know know who ah are the right Vc partners and how to approach them so for us. We had very high level connections from our prior lives and prior companies and we knew that we wanted to make sure we came in through a network connect. We didn’t want to just walk in the front door of a Vc firm or sort of respond to a cold outbound from ah sort from an analyst. Um, so we would always ask for introductions. But we were asking for introductions from partners and senior partners at firms that didn’t specialize in early stage fundraising they would specialize in series a or series b but we thought you know hey why does that matter right? We’ve got a product. We’ve got customers. We’ve got revenue why would that sort of be a deterrent and. You know for two months we took those meetings took those calls and they all ended with the same discussion of yeah I don’t really quite have the conviction yet and you know maybe this isn’t the right time or stage for us to invest. So we burnt a lot of time on a lot of cycles.
Matt Darrow: Effectively telling our story to the wrong folks. So when that happens we retrenched. We were we were very it was a very sort of you know sobering moment at the time we had some revenue we had some customers. We had a product and nobody wanted to fund us. We’re like what what are we doing wrong here. So we went back to the drawing board. And the first thing that we did was said well let’s build this from the ground up and we got a series of very strategic angel investors that we knew from our prior lives that could help give us some early stage credibility folks like Tyler Sloe who is the cfo of Zora and you know is the cfo at freshworks. Folks like Godre Abel who’s the Ceo over at g two these are people that we had worked with over our careers who said hey guys we’ll back you in these early stage rounds. We’re happy to participate like use that as yourre jumping off point fen phenomenal and then we worked to approach appropriately sized stage funds which were seed stage funds. Now for us same dynamic. We want to get in through introductions want to get in through sort of the side door. Not the front door to have really sort of strong connections. Um, and how we actually got hooked up with unusual ventures who let our series seed and has been with us along the entire way was completely happenstance because. Because of ah the fact that their founder Jody Bosel was one of the ceos of our customers harness so we had told our customer harness hey would you be a reference in this early stage round we’re but we’re putting this together and our se leader said well hey Matt you know that.
Matt Darrow: My Ceo actually just started a seat fund. Maybe you should talk to them like sure okay makes sense and ah we fell in love with you know their approach and their team and they already knew us as a customer and sort of the rest was history from that from that point forward.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s amazing now when it comes to um to investors and obviously to employees too. It’s a it’s a vision having a really compelling vision that people can really live into now a future that is. Compelling enough for for them to say hey you know?? Um I Really want to jump into this now in that Regard. You know if you were to let’s say go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world where the vision of biber is fully realized what does that world look like.
Matt Darrow: Ah, it’s a world that looks like b two b selling has completely changed That’s what we’re here to achieve and you look at everything that’s going in the market with products becoming more accessible buyers becoming more educated evaluations being more hands on. The tried and true methodology of cold outreach from a sales development rep to long sales cycle with a sales rep to technical poc from a pre-sales engineer to ultimately a big services deployment that may or may not work out. Um, that’s going away and you see that through product-led companies consumption companies b two b sales led companies that want to get their product in the hands of their buyers. It’s a very very different experience that consumers and b two b buyers want now. So our ideal vision for the future state of b two b selling. Looks very very different and it’s changing right now and it’s much more around everything is product-first everything is expert led and everything can be done effectively completely asynchronously if you want to to come to your own conclusions. And now for us to attack that big space which is how do we? fundamentally change b two b selling we needed a starting point and the starting point and the most logical starting point is the sales engineer gartner just did this awesome study on the the role of this function.
Matt Darrow: And the number 1 preference of buyers in the market above the website. The product talking to your sales rep talking to your partner is they want to interface with your technical expert who’s the se and if this is the number 1 preference of Buyer. And they want to be hands-on with your product and service if we can enable this group that has never been enabled with technology. We can completely change the way companies go to market and do business and that’s why we work with some of the world’s greatest companies like a snowflake or a Zoom or an octa. Um, companies that are really changing the way on on how they do business and and grow in the enterprise.
Alejandro Cremades: So obviously to to get there. You know you guys have had to to adapt to and to balance you know with certain you know events that were coming your way I mean from the war in Ukraine and Russia where you had engineers there in Ukraine to the macro environment now. What? what would you say? you’ve learned around you know execution and and really adapting that execution to towards some of those unforeseen events that were thrown at you.
Matt Darrow: it’s it’s it’s been difficult because even in 4 years right the first kickoff was the pandemics so just throw that one out there as well where all of a sudden it wasn’t clear if this could be a business or if business was even going to happen for the next six months or or 1 year um, I think the first thing is we’ve had amazing venture partners who have been incredible when times have been difficult even from when the pandemic hit thinking about how do you drive like like ah like an extension round to make sure that you can can keep pushing the vision forward. But at the same time you know, sort of ah not be held hostage with some of these external circumstances that you don’t know how they’re going to play out or the same thing during you know a recession or a market downturn. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with board members that sort of have been there done that for the last you know 2 3 hree decades they have a lot of really great sound advice on how do you keep an even keel when things are a little bit. You know, choppy up and choppy down sort of a time comes. But then you get circumstances that honestly folks have never seen before and I think you know the the war in Russia and Ukraine was a great example of that. Um, most individuals that we spoke with. You know that had engineers in that region of the world. We’ve all we were all going through it together for the first time that we weren’t sure how to keep lines of communication open. We weren’t sure how to keep payroll going. We weren’t sure you know what it meant if they were drafted or how we would drive coverage for that I think a big reason there is.
Matt Darrow: You know, having a very strong network of founders was helpful because um, again going back to ambiguity. You’re sort of you know trying to make this stuff up together as you go along and what you can do I think at its core is is just try to come back to. You know one of the main things that we’re trying to achieve and the main things for us was how do we ensure the safety and stability of our people and everything else revolved around that and that came up with really interesting solutions of how we would keep payroll going how we could keep them connected to our company how we could actually keep them engaged. How do we keep them safe but then at the same time. You know they wanted to be actively part of the team so they wanted to be part of the engineering scrum still and how do we do that in a safe manner and and those are the things that you know sort of no one. No one can guide you through it and write it down but we come from a place of our our employee safety was paramount and we want to keep these folks you know together and with Vivan. And and sort of a founder community sort of shared examples on how we can make that possible.
Alejandro Cremades: Now, let’s say Matt that I put you into a time machine and I bring you back in time I bring you back to that moment where you were in New Zealand you know, maybe admiring the beautiful views of the landscapes that you have there which is remarkable but let’s say you were able to sit down. Right? there next to your younger self that was you know 2021 when basically you know like you guys were coming up with this idea and let’s say you had the opportunity of telling that younger Matt 1 piece of advice before launching a business. But will that be and why given what you know now.
Matt Darrow: Foy you know what? no one’s ever asked me that question what immediately came to mind for me was to say it’s going to be hard but do it every single time that was that was you know and I think that that that is we’ve learned so much along the way. The number 1 thing that I would tell my younger self or tell listeners out there that are thinking to starting companies is to do it and to go for it. Um, because so many great ideas just sort of go unfulfilled because of the risk and the ambiguity and you’re unsure. We really threw caution to the wind and freaked out our families and freaked out our friends that you know we we had no salaries. We didn’t even have our house we we were just trying to kind of roll this thing but it’s ah it’s been one of the best professional and personal experiences of my life and and I wouldn’t trade that for anything and this years wise right? we. Four years ago was 2019 when we raised that seed round. So I was I was sitting at Lake waica New Zealand in 18 doing the ideation so it has been a little bit of a clip which is great but I’m with you that I would say you know you got to go for it every single time.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah know, thank you for providing the dates for some reason I thought it was 2021 but 2018 so let’s not let’s not take a years saying oh away those years of tremendous you know, sweat and tears that you guys have put into this. So so let me ask you this much 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.
Matt Darrow: Ah, Linkedin happy to connect there I ah I share a lot of ah, not only my own experience in the space of presales and and what we’re seeing in the market on how b two b is changing but then just generally the things that I’ve seen building and running a company from scratch. Building culture in a 100 % remote environment which we are. We have no office space we have over 100 employees in 9 different countries around the world to you know, managing through ups and managing through downs to building and structuring the right board or going through the right fundraising side. I mean one of the things that we we didn’t highlight but I think it’s it’s relevant. You talked about telling a compelling story man. My first version of a pitch deck was like a 45 slide Deloitte level thesis that really nobody cared about at all and when I went through the process it boiled down to 2 simple slides. We really raised all of the funds on the back of the first was we’re doing what our mentors did which was live a problem firsthand and have a very unique market insight that sort of only you’re privy to and I look back toward. You know our Ceo mentors whether or not it’s you know tizo who is early salesforce that. Built the internal billing system that became Zora because is ha aha moment was every company was going to have a subscription service like salesforce or carthhi Rao from you know, Vmware that had ah a whole bunch of insight into you know, microservices and monitoring which became signal effects which is where John Bruce came from that got acquired by splunk.
Alejandro Cremades: Oh.
Matt Darrow: We were. We were following the same pattern which was we had deep experience and expertise in a domain and we’re going to follow in the footsteps of building the productized version of what we personally struggled through now the second slide was succinctly how big is this opportunity and for us we are a. Unabashedly proud category creator and when you look across all the functions in b two b. There’s so many multi-billion dollar companies built on the backs of sales service. Success product engineering support but the team pre-sales. That is responsible for driving revenue with sales reps has nothing and that simple picture of the world on how many successful companies were tangential around all these other functions and the big void for technology for 1 of the most critical revenue drivers in every b two b company. Those 2 things together allowed us to propel our vision forward.
Alejandro Cremades: I love it? Well hey Matt thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Matt Darrow: Same here I’m ah I’m glad I’m glad to be part of the show and impart some of my knowledge and talk about our very very unique founding structure and I’m glad I could be the first for you to interview in that direction. Thanks Alando.
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