PipeWise CEO On Relationships
As a triathlete and ultra runner, have you managed to compete since launching Pipewise?
Startups are tough, and we all work very hard. But my team is in this for the long haul, so we are try hard not to let our family lives, social lives, and hobbies go by the wayside.
I’ve kept up my training and racing, same as I have through all of my other startups.
You have some impressive investors and advisors, including Ron Conway and Kevin Harvey. Are these relationships you’ve built over your past 4 startups?
All of my investors and advisors are folks I know well or know people in common with. My relationship with Benchmark and Kevin goes back three companies to 1997 when they funded Kana. I was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Benchmark in 2002, which led to Vontu, which I co-founded with Joseph Ansanelli, who is now on my board.
It helps that my previous companies were successful, but I also counsel anyone I talk to of the importance of building relationships and keeping a reputation for ethical behavior. Even though most startups don’t succeed, every company is an opportunity to expand your skillset, reputation, and network, and use them to launch your next project.
What technologies have you used to build Pipewise?
The Pipewise application requires us to store and process large amounts of data securely and serve up a great user experience to our users, who are mostly marketers. We use MongoDB, Ruby on Rails, Backbone.js, Bootstrap, Foundation, and several other tools that let us build a secure and scalable application and iterate quickly.
What do you wish you’d known 2 years ago that you know now? Where do you see Pipewise in 2 years time?
Two years ago I wish I had a better understanding of this problem. I had just assumed that effective commercial solutions existed, and I had to learn first hand that they do not. In two years this will be an established category with lots of spending and multiple competitors, and naturally I think we’ll be the leader!
Who is your biggest competitor?
Homegrown solutions. Businesses have gotten resigned to needing to do this themselves, so we need to show that we can do it better and at a fraction of the cost of their devoting internal resources to it.
What are some of the most difficult challenges you are currently facing as CEO of Pipewise?
It is a new category in a new part of our economy, so it requires education and evangelizing, but that has not proven too difficult since the pain is well understood by anyone who has lived it.
Where have you had the most traction? Web applications, mobile or enterprise?
For us it is really anyone who is managing a large user base, which means e-commerce and consumer web services. We literally have a waiting list of people who want us to solve this problem for them.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
This is a company where I’m not only excited about our technology and our team, but I also love our customers. They are a bunch of fun companies who are all setting out to do something new, break new ground, and build huge businesses. We like to think of ourselves as a disruptive business selling to other disruptive businesses!