Neil Patel

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In the dynamic landscape of business, successful partnerships and strategic investments can play a pivotal role in transforming a company’s trajectory. The joint interview with Randall Ward, co-founder and CEO of Appfire, and Sri Rao, partner at Silversmith Capital Partners, provides a fascinating insight into Appfire’s unique journey.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Randall Ward’s journey from growing up in a tech-centric environment in Maynard, Massachusetts, to founding Appfire showcases the influence of early exposure to technology on entrepreneurial success.
  • Appfire, founded in the mid-2000s, became a global leader by providing software that enhances and integrates with platforms like Atlassian, Salesforce, Monday, Slack, and Microsoft Azure DevOps.
  • The partnership between Appfire and Silversmith Capital Partners, a growth equity firm, highlights the significance of strategic alignment and organic growth in the world of investments and business.
  • Silversmith’s unique team-oriented approach emphasizes supporting bootstrapped companies that can reach $10M in revenue without traditional venture capital, focusing on efficient operations and low customer acquisition costs.
  • Silversmith’s data-driven approach played a crucial role in discovering Appfire, utilizing datasets and connections within Atlassian’s ecosystem to identify an emerging market leader.
  • The journey from the initial cold outreach to forming a partnership between Silversmith and Appfire underscores the importance of relationship dynamics, trust, and a shared vision in successful collaborations.
  • Appfire’s focus on profitability as the engine for growth, coupled with Silversmith’s support in scaling the business efficiently, highlights the key factors contributing to Appfire’s success and rapid growth.


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 Randall Ward:

As Appfire’s CEO, Randall is focused on strategy, vision, and sales. An accomplished technologist and product strategist with a background in human behavior, software development, go-to- market strategies, and telecommunications.

He is also an advisor for several global businesses and previously worked with the United States government, Oracle, Vodafone, and many “dot com” startups. Randall is the father of three children, a world traveler, and a guitarist.

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Connect with Randall Ward:

About Sri Rao:

Sri joined Silversmith Capital Partners in 2015 and focuses on investments in SaaS & Information Services. Sri is passionate about partnering with entrepreneurs and supporting them along the path to realizing their vision.

Within the SaaS & Information Services segment, Sri is especially interested in software products that are democratizing technology and leveraging product leadership to drive growth.

Sri is focused on products that help foster deeper customer relationships or enable creators, whether they are software developers or artists, to make and distribute their work.

Prior to Silversmith, Sri was a Senior Director at where he served in various roles to create and scale the Salesforce Marketing Cloud after joining Salesforce through its acquisition of Buddy Media.

Prior to Buddy Media, Sri was an Associate at TA Associates and an Analyst with Jefferies in the Technology Investment Banking group.

Sri lives with his wife and two children in the Boston area. He is a musician and passionate Philly sports fan trying to figure out how to raise Eagles fans in Patriots country.

Connect with Sri Rao:

Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:

Alejandro Cremades: Alrighty hello everyone and welcome to the dealmakerr show. So today I mean I got to tell you we’ve done like over 800 episodes of those but as they say there’s always a first time and today not only we have the founder of this rocket ship that we’re gonna be talking about. But then also we have. 1 of their lead investors. You know that is joining us too. You know he’s going to be sharing with us. You know why they thought it would make sense to really join forces with a company and some of the really interesting you know, ah aspects you know when when it comes to board dynamics to. How you know you think about investment thesis how you know it could align you know for you as an investor and then obviously on the founder side. We’re going to be talking about how you know everything came together how they really thought about the ah really coming. You know as an entrepreneur but really having that operational background before as well as. Some of the things to really think about you know when you’re thinking about raising money because they literally were bootstrapping the whole thing you know pretty much all the way to 10000000 in revenue even though they’re now at two hundred million Plas which is a quite a remarkable growth but without further ado let’s welcome. Our 2 guests today Randall. Word and then also he’s investor from silversmith Sri Rao welcome to the show

Sri Rao: Um, thank you. It’s great to be here.

Randall Ward: Thank you Alejandro lucky to be here.

Alejandro Cremades: So Randall let’s let’s get started with the origins. You know your personal origins because you were born in Boston so give us a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up there.

Randall Ward: Yeah, life was life was great. You know, looking back grew up in a small town 35 minutes west of Boston called Maynard Massachusetts and again looking looking back. You know 30 plus years later it was amazing. Um, space to grow up because it was ah a working class town about 10000 people but at the center of our town was this old woolenmill and it was about a hundred year one hundred and fifty year Old Woolen Mill that was converted to be the headquarter town for digital equipment corporation. Deck at the time was the first us software hardware-based company to generate $1000000 in revenue first us technology company and so to grow up in that hometown with technology influences everywhere right? No one had computer labs in their high schools but we did. Ah, my entire house was littered with deck equipment. Both parents being engineers and so I grew up in a in a builder town building great technology and what a way to influence the rest of my life and so that was yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: Now your in your case, you didn’t even talk about this but the engineering you know mindset you know what’s fueled early on by building legos without instruction. So how how how was that.

Randall Ward: Yeah, look dad was kind of cruel back in the day he took the instructions away and made me build off the picture. But I’ve done it to my children since right. It’s a great way to spontaneously just spur creativity and ingenuity and everything doesn’t have to look like the picture and it’s good to break things. Right? So you have to break things first. So the idea of building off a mold was just never a part of my upbringing and so a lot of the way that I’ve learned how to explore.

Alejandro Cremades: Now in your case, you know it took a tiny bit you know before you decided to take on the entrepreneurial journey I mean it was kind of like a transition from telecommunications to enterprise and then all of a sudden you find yourself yourself building Upfire. So. What were those sequence of events that needed to happen for you to really be like it’s It’s my time you know to to take a step at this entrepreneurial thing.

Randall Ward: Yeah I was lucky to grow up again around technology writing software from the age of 7 on digital vaxes building. Um in c code learning and journeying through software by the age fourteen I had written some software that went production. It was used by our local state of Massachusetts and I heard recently that it’s still in production which is kind of wild to think about founder code still being out there and used by a local state government. And so that just flowed me into the world of software I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up I knew I wanted to use my hands and build things hardware or software and I was lucky to have launched into a startup company also out of Boston a telecommunications business. After working there for 2 years as engineer number 30 it went public. The company was called Boston Communications Group and it was really a foundational um building block for me I learned how to build and scale technology and build and scale business using someone else’s capital I was an operator of someone else’s business. And I think that’s a great journey journey person. Um, way to start in business. No matter what role what capacity or what skill sets you have because there’s just a lot of people that you can learn from in those days I was learning in the office around really principled engineers and senior software architects.

Randall Ward: And they would sit there and look at your code and comment on it and laugh at it and make critiques and you learned a lot right? So you broke things first and and that’s how I scaled.

Alejandro Cremades: So then let’s talk about taking the leap of faith. You know what point does the idea of upfire come knocking to you and what was the process of going from.

Randall Ward: Yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: The idea to incubating the idea farther validating it and and then bringing it to market.

Randall Ward: For me, it was a journey of courage right? You start with a startup environment. You build that and scale that I then went to a larger organization where I was an employee thirty I was employee 17000 And I learned how to build business units and scale business units and I got closer to the business side of the world than just the pure technology side I got closer to the customer I got closer to the Go-to-market model and I was fascinated I was just learning and exploring again in that Journeyman model and in that world I could break things as Well. It was someone else’s capital that I was deploying and learning and growing and changing and the leap of faith came when I realized I was breaking less and I had more curiosity to build something where I could get the closest to the customer where they become my customer. And I went out and I started a technology software company where I was building Boutique software if you couldn’t find it off the shelf I’d build it for you and I grew that business to about $25000000 in revenue and then it burned to the ground I brought in some strategic advisors that were wrong for that business. And um and we destroyed value slowly over time. So It’s not like it’s a ah journey of just success right Away. Um, but having filled that business and filled that startup I I picked myself back up sold some software assets.

Randall Ward: And realized I’m not ready to go work for someone else again. I Want to go try this again. Take the learning lessons apply them. Um, learn from the the wounds and and go build another company and at that time I had come from the Enterprise world where software was large in in conglomerate. And it was difficult and cumbersome to set up and configure and I realized quickly that there was patterns emerging open source software was starting to emerge red hat was um, eating up the world. There was a lot of open source communities and software development companies that were that were building. Um, open source technology stacks at the time I was working for an enterprise company called Vodafphone another telecommunications company and my day job paid. Well and I loved what I I was doing but I was running home at night to go build software for free. So I leave my day job run home at night and I go contribute to a library with strangers that I never even met and so that pattern of software shrinking and becoming smaller was really emerging and the concept of app fire was about software shrinking application shrinking and becoming Apps. There was no. Marketplaces or downloads stores. There was no Google Play or Salesforce Exchange. There was no Apple itunes store but we had this sense in this feeling my cofounder and I that software was shrinking and the world world around us was actually beginning to emerge and in 2005 we bootstrapped App fire.

Randall Ward: And we built it as ah as a business that would build small applications that could extend other platforms and fast forwardward today were a global leading provider of software that extends augments and integrates leading platforms like Atlassian Salesforce monday

Randall Ward: Um, we work with slack and we work with Microsoft Azure devops and so it’s ah it’s a world of transformation but that core concept that building block that origin story is still there apps that extend platforms that bring knowledge workers. Um, more value off those inherent platforms.

Alejandro Cremades: Now in your case it took a some time to to go out it on raising money. You know. In fact, you build a business to to 10000000 in revenue which is which is amazing. You know it’s it’s very impressive but also very dangerous too because you’re like walking this fine line and and you want to make sure that you’re not like taking the wrong step. So.

Randall Ward: Um, fifth.

Alejandro Cremades: So what? What would you say that that trigger that school of thought or hey maybe you know we’re going to delay a little bit more of the thinking about fundraising here.

Randall Ward: Yeah, to be honest, when we look back at those moments. There was a clear um delineation of when we knew we needed to raise capital it wasn’t the scary part. It wasn’t the part of scaling to 10000000 and being scared about how do we get to 12 it was that the stack of sticky notes of awesome problems were building every day we had another what we call? Awesome problem in the business that we didn’t know how to go solve so for us first and foremost this was 2017 when we first thought about raising capital. At that time we were probably 8000000 in revenue 8000000 in arr and we we had this wall of awesome problems. We couldn’t solve. We needed to build a group of people and get a group of people around us that had insight into building and scaling software companies. Not as operators. But as investors with advisors wrapped around them and the world of investment was that oyster and so in 2017 we began the journey and it was also a slow March into finding the right investor right? We were very calculated. We’ve always used time as an asset. And appfire we’re not building ah to to quickly ramp and sell this business some founders listening today might be building for that and you can that’s a great great path that was in our path. We wanted to build a long-term durable business that’s skilled for generations build something that’s around 50 years from now.

Randall Ward: Hundred years from now build something like digital equipment corporation that was built in the sixty s off the hard work of people all over the world generating hundreds of millions of dollars and and scaling globally and so for us it was. Let’s take the time to find the right investment partner. Let’s take the time to understand what we want to find.

Alejandro Cremades: I mean it took some time because it needed to be 2020 for sari to come knocking hey with silversmith so so now let’s let’s let’s let’s let’s get let’s hear the thoughts of Shari here I mean. You guys? Obviously you had developed an investment thesis and eventually ah the company upfire you know was aligning with your thes I guess before ah you go into telling us you know, but how you came across upfi and why you thought it makes sense. Why Don you give us a quick snapy shot and overview on silversmith I say as an investment team a firm.

Sri Rao: Sounds great. Happy to do that. So silversmith is a Boston -based growth equity firm and we started the firm back in 152 with a pretty simple goal which was to identify fine build relationships with. And ultimately partner with entrepreneurs like randall building previously bootstrapped companies software businesses like appfire you know we think the combination of stage and sector are really important and for entrepreneurs. As you know, really finding that right fit of the funder. The investor that understands the the awesome problems at that stage in the company’s lifecycle hopefully has relevant experience within that domain in that sector and can help the company scale over time. And so we’re generally investing in these bootstrap companies when they’re tens of millions in revenue let’s say and hopefully helping them achieve hundreds of millions of revenue over time and the the group they came together. We’ve been investing in these kinds of companies for you know the entire our entire careers. But we thought with a clean slate what we really wanted to do is to focus try to do 1 thing. Do it really well focus on these kinds of businesses. Importantly, do it in a really team-oriented way I think you know one of the unique things about silversmith is of course I’m on this call today I spend out of our partner group the most time with randall.

Sri Rao: Ah, which I’m very grateful for but every deal that we do every investment we make is a firm deal. We try to bring the bring to bear the the full gamut of resources network experience ah to bear with each investment that we make to support these kinds of companies. Um, and maybe pivoting to how we got to know Randall and and app fire. Ah, one of the things we’ve noticed over time as we look for these bootstrapped companies that are able to get to 10000000 of revenue without raising traditional venture capital is that they tend to be benefiting from. You know some secular tailwinds that maybe allow them to ah, distribute products into really large addressable markets in a really cost-effective way. They have relatively low customer acquisition costs and also are able to do it in a way that. Ah, is efficient from an r and d perspective as well. 1 common theme that we’ve seen is that downstream of some really large technology platforms. Let’s call them big tech generally speaking are these entrepreneurial businesses that really fill the gaps that you know find the seams. Because the reality is that you know, no one software vendor solves every problem for every every enterprise and ultimately every enterprise is looking for a bunch of problems to solve or ways to solve those problems and so if they can efficiently find things like the apps that app fire provides to be able to.

Sri Rao: Extend and augment and improve their workflow within a ah product like Jira that’s offered by Atlassian as an example, um, they’re willing to you know, try and buy and grow their spend with vendors like that and so one of the things that we did was to look within the marketplaces. Some of these you know bigger tech vendors in this case within Atlassian and the more research and homework that we did speaking with folks at Atlassian studying their marketplace where they’ve enabled this really ah frictionless buying experience of these apps within you know as Randall described almost like an app store. As we talked to partners in the ecosystem and customers about which apps. They really liked the name app fire kept coming up over and over again and it was very clear that it was an emerging market leader within that segment so we reached out to Randall and you know came to find that. It’s exactly the kind of business that we started silversmith ah to try to partner with and invest in that was you know 10000000 of revenue that was growing organically doing so within its means of doing so profitably. Which has kind of come in and out of vogue over the past few years but I think is is really what we’ve been you know searching for looking for the whole time and so ah, you know we reached out to randall kind of cold outreach and fortunately he replied and was open to taking a meeting with us.

Sri Rao: And that was really the start of the relationship.

Alejandro Cremades: But that’s interesting because typically especially bootstrap businesses is very hard. You know one to find them and then two to know where they’re at in terms of revenue right? like those checkmarks that you guys you know have on the investment thesis. So how. Did up Fire. You know, come across your desk you know, spill the beansri.

Sri Rao: It’s a great it’s a great question well I can’t divulge all my secrets but I’ll give you some ah you know for 1 we use a lot of data here at at silversmith we’re looking at a lot of private company related data sets to try to get a sense for which businesses are growing. Um, maybe it’s based on kind of number of employees. They had 1 year versus the next year which ones are maybe of a certain scale which might be about how many employees they have. These are all proxy metrics. You know, but they kind of help you triangulate at least? um, where to look. But I think the most important thing is that we try to go deep. In a few areas. We’re not generalist investors. We’re not in lots and lots of markets trying to get up to speed overnight on ah on a business and in this case, we happen to know a bunch of folks at Atlassian. Um, who were able to be our guides a little bit our our sherpas and we would go to Atlassian summits we would attend their events and again everyone kept kind of pointing in this direction so we didn’t know when we reached out we didn’t know when we first met that they happened to have $10000000 of revenue to your point. Um, but we at least knew it was you know. Ah, conversation worth having and if nothing else we would learn a lot from those meetings. Unfortunately you know we learned a lot but also really enjoyed getting to meet Randall and forming this kind of special partnership.

Alejandro Cremades: And how are you guys and I and I’d like to get both of your guys’ thoughts on this because when they say crystallized you know it was covid right? and and navigating you know the relationship dynamics there you know was probably not the easy. So I guess maybe we start with Usury How was that.

Randall Ward: Yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: You know different from what you were used to you know with him with making investments and then also getting to know the founder and and then we’ll pass it on to to randall so that he can give his thoughts to.

Sri Rao: Is a really really unique experience. But I would say it would not have been possible had we not gotten to know Randall in the prior 2 to 3 years and you know Randall mentioned they they kind of set out to find the right partner for the business. In a kind of multi-year journey to make sure that there was good alignment that the new partner they brought on ah didn’t break things but also could augment things and really help I think similarly for us, we try to spend long periods of time we think about them as like really long sales cycles. You know super enterprise sales. Um, they take a long time to really foster and and nurture and make sure that you know we feel comfortable making a bet on a founder entrepreneur team that there’s good alignment in how to build the business over time in values and and the important things that you know, ah. Are involved in building a company and so that foundation that was you know, laid out over those prior couple years allowed us to build the trust so that you know once we aligned on a path for okay, why does appfire think it makes sense to raise money now. What is the right amount of capital to raise what might be the use of that capital. What’s the multi-year vision for how Randall wanted to lead the business. Ah that kind of happened in January February of 2020 and as we were starting to execute against that plan.

Sri Rao: In March of 2020 this was you know, just a couple weeks after a lot of things shut down in the us is when we signed the term sheet. We had to conduct the rest of diligence you know, primarily via Zoom you know we met up in in some parks and masks and you know lots of really interesting things that you know we all had to deal with during that period of time. Um, and so it was a very different diligence process. But again it would not have been possible. How we not built the trust early on ah to be willing to kind of undertake a diligence process in such a unique period of time.

Alejandro Cremades: I mean obviously trust is a is everything. No. So 1 thing that comes to mind here when it comes to obviously getting investors involved and and also for the people that are. Listening to just get the quick overview on silversmith you know we’re talking about three point three billion under management 45 investments 17 exits. Its a remarkable track record I guess now you know when we’re thinking about bringing investors on board you know in this case for Upfire Randall I want to ask you you know vision is a really big one because. Ultimately is’s what is going to get investors excited is going to get employees etc and also customers. So if you were to go to sleep tonight and you were to wake up in a world where the vision of app fire is fully realized what does the world look like.

Randall Ward: No, it’s an amazing world I visit it often during the days. Um I’m not even do it right? after this this call with you. You know it’s it’s really easy from I’ve I’ll back up I I’ve always found it easy to spend time both in the. In the clouds. But with my feet firmly on the ground but I encourage all founders to spend and all all ceos of software companies to spend some portion of time thinking about where you want to bring the trajey of the business. It’s important to think about what success looks like and what that time horizon that time arc. Going to be and if if I closed my eyes and woke up 8 years from now I know that we are on a continued path of building software. Great software for customers all over the globe that extend augment and integrate platforms. Great leading platforms now what are those platforms. The platforms of the future and where do we play we play in the space of knowledge workers. The billion knowledge workers that exist today ride against um top enterprise platforms and so it’s it’s 1 platform begets the next where we’re going to extend our software across them and that world of the future is. Where work is flowing for knowledge workers. It’s the last mile when you think about what we do and how we extend platforms if you’re ah in an enterprise software company and you’re an engineer or you’re a product manager. Maybe you’re in marketing or sales and you’re leveraging an enterprise platform and you have a use case.

Randall Ward: Exists within your company. You might need an app that extends to make that use case a reality and so for us, we’re really Fortunate. We sit on that end Extension. We know the use case that’s being Enacted. We know the the challenge that you’re faced with as the knowledge worker or workers. And so that reality for me that future reality is a reality where we’re in the center we are the spoke in the center of all of those major platforms and we get to see that friction point of work flowing across platforms and it’s an awesome world Right. It’s a world where there’s always new problems new challenges to solve it creates that helper high and ultimately we’re engineers solving problems on behalf of our customer that we can see intelligently how they’re using these patterns in these platforms. So It’s a great world. Um, want to close my eyes right now and think about it more.

Alejandro Cremades: Ah, now now your case too. I mean when you guys say you know brought in is silversmith and and now you guys have raised you know close to 150000000. They the the level of scale that you’ve achieved is really remarkable because I mean we’re talking about 200000000 in revenue now. So I mean that growth as being really a spectacular I guess when it comes to growth and when it comes to scale. You know scaling is not not an easy thing. So I guess what? what would you say has been your biggest lesson when it comes to scale.

Randall Ward: Yeah, you know the biggest lesson that we that we find um with scaling this business is that the customers ultimately are telling us what they want to want to purchase right? So the closer we’re getting into that customer level data about utilization across our software. Helps us define what we’re building next so making sure that we understand the priority of our customers how they’re using products making sure our products are easy to use so they’re not only easy to find but they’re easy to use. Um, so we spend less time thinking about. Spending time in the go-to-market model spending time tuning and defining and scaling the go-to-market model. We spend more time thinking about scaling our software scaling our software performance and scaling the needs of the customer and so I think that’s critical for anyone building any product whether it’s software. It’s a commodity. Like you can’t get close enough to the customer and so yeah, that skill and growth came um, rapidly here we are may of 20 was when we we signed and brought on silversmith 10000000 of Ar Fast forward today here here. We are in early 24 and we are at. At 200000000 in ar and and growing and growing repeatedly and again that durable model was built. It was on purpose and only are we growing revenue but we are a profitable business I’m wearing a shirt today that says at fire 72 because I just had a board meeting recently where i.

Randall Ward: Um, broadcast to our board that we closed our 70 second of profitability and so we are we are a profitable company which is really important you know Shri had mentioned that profitability and and margins gone in vogue and out of vogue. But we we don’t think in those terms at app fire. We.

Alejandro Cremades: Wow.

Randall Ward: Profit is our engine right? It is driving growth because we can reinvest that capital in the business in many ways right? and for us first and foremost it’s on behalf of the customer.

Alejandro Cremades: Now 1 thing that comes to mind there that I’d like to double click and get the input of 3 is when you see a company like upfire you know your let’s say like investing you know and obviously when when silversmith invested you know we’re talking about ah about a big check. You know how do you go about. Making sure that obviously you’re pumping all these millions into the operation. But how do you go about first plugging in your network in a way that is going to serve the company in the best that it can. But then 2 how do you go about making sure that things are not breaking because you’re pumping a ton of money and you’re like really wanting that company to grow super fast.

Sri Rao: Yeah, it’s a it’s a great question I think to start at the close of an investment. We take some time to just Listen. We kind of think about it as like the hippocratic oath First do no harm Because. We’re investing in in great companies that have great teams and the last thing we want to do is you know, kind of upend that and so that initial period is almost an extension of the diligence period to really get you know inside the 4 walls of the company understand what makes a tick understand what’s going. Great. And understand where they might need some help and importantly identify the intersection of where they need help and what we’re good at helping With. We’re really about partnerships and not about playbooks because we think each company is very unique in those strengths and weaknesses. But again you know where that. Overlaps with what we think we can be most helpful with these companies tend to have really strong products and a lot of customer pull and customer love and so a lot of times what we’re helping with is on the business side. The go-to-market model the pricing and packaging. Ah, in this case, there’s been quite a bit of M and a activity building out the finance function and reporting and make sure we really understand the business and can start to look around the bend because one of the things that happens with scale to your point, especially Rapid growth.

Sri Rao: Is it’s very easy to kind of lose sight of maybe something that’s wobbling a little bit and the data can really guide you to make sure that you’re making sound decisions that you’re getting ahead of some of those issues and you’re making sure you’re supporting the right parts of the organization that that really need that. And so once we understand where those gaps might be exactly to your point we look you know deep within our networks to try to identify people who can help the company in those key areas in this case with appfire 1 of our independent board members is Cindy Robbins she was the ah chief people officer at Salesforce and was at salesforce for many years as they experienced rapid growth in scale and so as we’ve hired a lot of folks at appfire as we’ve had to integrate some acquisitions as we’ve had to continue to evolve. How we you know manage performance how we handle compensation all these things that ultimately are the determining factors to success because it’s a very people-driven business and that’s where our ip comes from that’s where our energy comes from and as Randa will tell you. It’s a very human-centric organization I think that’s enabled our success. You know someone like Cindy has really helped the company. Maybe avoid some common mistakes ah and improve on things that maybe were working well at 10000000 of revenue but would not have scaled to 200000000 of revenue. So we kind of go through each functional area.

Sri Rao: And each part of the business and try to figure out who might be that kind of a person to help randall along the journey.

Alejandro Cremades: So Randall I’m gonna take you now on a time machine. Okay so I’m gonna I’m gonna put you into a time machine and bring you back to let’s say 2004 you know that moment where you were starting to think about.

Randall Ward: Um, yeah is a lot.

Alejandro Cremades: What the hell you were going to do with your life. You know now you had to take another attempt another step at the entrepreneurship but let’s say you know you have the opportunity of sitting down you know with that younger self and you’re able to give you know one piece of advice to that younger self before launching a business. What would that be. And what you knownow.

Randall Ward: Yeah, look I I followed this advice back in 2004, you need to write your vision and mission down on paper. You need to reach agreement. You should enter a business with a partner. So. There’s a couple of pieces of advice right. Times are hard times are lean when you’re starting up, you need someone to lean on lean up against um and pounce ideas off of so you’re not talking to yourself so those are some good pieces of advice break things. It’s okay, you’re not going to get it off the go like it’s not overnight success. You hear that a lot I’m sure you hear that from a lot of entrepreneurs. If we were planning for overnight success. Our plan has failed right? So just know that you’re entering into this space for some period of time. it’s it’s going to be awkward. You’re going to break things at first but that’s part of everyone’s journey. There isn’t a single successful company that exists today public or private. Hasn’t gone through the same journey that you’re going through right now and so you tell yourself that as the younger entrepreneur and founder and give yourself that advice I would surround myself with as many free mentors as you can. You can find them on Linkedin with a couple of clicks clicks. There are so many entrepreneurs myself included. That will help in guide and offer time and suggest and you can get a lot of that you can also get a lot of it off of podcasts like this amazing amazing information streams that did not exist in 2004 unless I went to a bookst spent 3 or 4 ours

Randall Ward: And digested the book and may or may not have paid for the book and nowadays here. It is. It’s all in front of us. There’s so many interesting people online that you can meet virtually that have done it and scaled it and have um, found success and ahit failure points.

Alejandro Cremades: So ranolph for and and hopefully that younger self listen because unfortunately our younger cells you know they tend to be a little more dismissive when it comes to otherwise but they but that was very profound so ranolph for the people that are listening that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the for them to d so.

Randall Ward: And so you can learn a lot So I would younger self hat.

Randall Ward: Sure.

Randall Ward: You know, look. You can find me on Linkedin Randall Ward appfire that’s probably the best place I don’t spend a lot of time on x these days but that’s just because I’m busy building and scaling a business. Um, but you can find me on Linkedin I’m happy to respond back and yeah, happy to help in any way I can I also share a lot publicly out there so you can find things that we write about and talk about at app firnow she’s the same.

Alejandro Cremades: Amazing and then what about for 3 the companies that are you know now bootstrapping to intens of millions. What is the best way for them out to toyou guys.

Sri Rao: Yes, please do please reach out at ah at

Alejandro Cremades: Amazing! Easy he enough? Well hey guys. Thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have on the show tday.

Randall Ward: What a pleasure. Thahundred. hank you.

Sri Rao: Um, thank you so much.


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