Dennis Meng’s first company was a major flop. So he started another one that could’ve saved the first. It’s called User Interviews, and he needs $4 million to get it into the hands of big companies. Will investors buy into what he’s selling now?
Today’s investors are Charles Hudson, Michael Hyatt, Jillian Manus and Phil Nadel.
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Imagine studying really hard for a final exam. In biology. You spend hours down in the library, reading the textbook, poring over your notes, doing practice questions. Only to show up on test day to find out, hey! This isn’t a bio test, it’s a history exam!
That’s kind of what it’s like when product designer builds something that it turns out … people don’t really want. The business has invested tons of time and money into a total dud — it can be a company’s worst nightmare.
Well, today’s founder Dennis Meng says he has a way to stop those nightmares … his startup, User Interviews. It’s a system for testing what you’re building, with actual customers. And he’s in The Pitch room today to see if the investors want what he’s selling, he’s hoping to raise $4 million dollars.
From Gimlet, this is The Pitch. I’m Josh Muccio. Today’s investors are:
I’m Phil Nadel
As a serial entrepreneur Phil built companies that sold for hundreds of millions of dollars. Now he manages Forefront Venture Partners, one of the largest syndicates on AngelList.
I’m Jillian Manus
Jillian is a partner at Structure Capital, where they’ve invested $98 million in high-profile startups like Uber.
I’m Michael Hyatt
Michael built and sold two software companies for over $500 million dollars and now he invests for himself.
I’m Charles Hudson
Charles started Precursor Ventures where he’s invested $20 million in over 100 startups to date.
Alright, on with The Pitch.
Jillian Manus: Hi.
Dennis Meng: How's it going.
Michael Hyatt: Hey. Michael.
Dennis: Hi, I'm Dennis. Nice to meet you.
Charles Hudson: Hey, I'm Charles, Dennis. Nice to meet you.
Phil Nadel: Hey Dennis, I'm Phil.
Jillian: I'm Michael.
Dennis: I figure that's not true.
Jillian: Jillian. Nice to meet you. Okay Dennis.
Phil: Let's hear it.
Dennis: Awesome. So hey everyone. My name's Dennis. I'm one of the cofounders and I'm the CEO of User Interviews. Before I get started, any of you log into Myspace this morning?
Michael: My rock and roll page.
Jillian: I invested in Myspace at one point.
Dennis: I figure you probably didn't log in this morning. Anybody get here on a Segway?
Dennis: And then last one, anybody wearing Google Glass today?
Dennis: The common thread here, all three of these products are widely considered to be failures. And super expensive failures right? And the thing is, thousands of products fail every single year. My last startup was one of them.
Jillian: That's good.
Dennis: And the number one reason products fail, is that they don't understand their users and they build a product that their users don't want. Luckily there's a super easy solution here. You talk to your users. And so that's where we come in. We've built a software platform that makes it super easy for companies to bring in their users for any type of product or market research. And so that's why companies like Spotify, Pinterest, Wayfair and Vistaprint, and hundreds of others are using our platform every single month.
Quick note, you may have heard that Spotify owns Gimlet and this show, but they acquired us a few months after Dennis came in. Anyway, back to the pitch!"
Dennis: So we're raising $4 million. The goal here is to get our platform at every company so they can make better decisions and ultimately better products.
Michael: Can you give us an example of how that works?
Dennis: So the first thing, we think of ourselves as the coordination layer, the participant management layer and the logistics layer. We are not the platform where people actually conduct the tests. So I'll explain more holistically how that works. I see your brow is furrowing. [laughter]
This is a veteran move … Seeing the investors eyes start to glaze over, Dennis tries again, using plain English this time.
Dennis: So the first thing that happens is a product manager, a designer or a marketer basically decides they have some sort of question that they need to talk to users about. Our platform then goes to work and manages all the logistics behind screening candidates, gathering more information about them, figuring out who you want to invite, then inviting those users to the study, and then paying them for their time. So ultimately, we're the platform that makes sure that the person you want to talk to shows up at the right spot when you want to talk to them.
Phil: Sounds like you're just doing the logistics of it. You're arranging the meeting, you're having them come in.
Jillian: You're providing them high quality...
Phil: Sending the reminders. And paying them.
Dennis: We provide the people, one. Or they can upload their own. And then we provide basically a workflow automation.
Michael: So how do you charge Wayfair? Walk us through the revenue.
Dennis: Yeah umm, we charge per participant that we recruit for one of our client studies.
Jillian: And what's average of that?
Dennis: On average, it's $30 per participant.
Charles: It sounds like in a lot of ways what you're doing…
Dennis: Sorry, I do want to answer the last part of the question, because I think this is important. And so there's basically two parts of our product today. The first is the workflow that I walked you guys earlier, where you can come through, you can invite people from our audience or yours, we manage all the logistics. The second part of the platform is what we're calling our research hub. The research hub we just launched a couple months ago. That's a subscription offering. And that's for companies that want to be tracking their users across the entire company. And so they're paying a monthly fee for that.
Jillian: How much.
Dennis: Ah so, we're in the middle of closing our first, it's about a $42,000 annual contract.
The research hub that Dennis just mentioned is the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, because it's a recurring subscription product that Dennis can sell to much bigger companies, at a much bigger price. Which should be a lot more appealing to investors than the paltry 30 bucks they get for arranging an interview with a user.
Phil: Who do you see as your most direct competitors?
Dennis: we see people using Google spreadsheets and Excel, and even Salesforce and HubSpot. The difference there is that they don't offer any of the workflow automations that we do, so they're not built for this research use case.
Jillian: And how are you better, different, complementary?
Dennis: Yeah so what we're doing is we're taking that data that they fill out and we're using that to enhance the profiles of all the participants in our audience. And that makes us better at finding participants for the companies that we're working with moving forward. And if one company comes to us and asks a series of questions we capture that data they've asked, and then if another company comes and asks similar questions, we know who to target to deliver participant…
Phil: You're saying, you're building up profiles about the participants by the surveys they're completing.
Phil: Tell us a little bit about your experience. Your background.
Dennis: Yeah. So I was a computer science major at Yale. Graduated in 2012. Worked in consulting for a year. That's where I met my first cofounder. We worked there for about a year. Had an itch to start building products. I talked about my first company that failed. It was a mobile app for business travelers. We built product for a year, year and a half, picked our heads up and had no users. umm That's when we started realizing, okay, let's talk to users, let's figure out how to solve this problem. Yeah, my wife said I shouldn't say this on air. But we basically... Our solution was to go buy refundable plane tickets, go sit at airport security, and then just talk to people waiting for their flights.
Phil: So in your, in your failed company, you're saying you couldn't find users? Or you couldn't find people to survey to get input?
Dennis: So we... Both.
Phil: Both. Okay.
Dennis: But on the second front, we were trying to get people to give us feedback on the product.
Phil: And you couldn't get...
Jillian: You didn't know where to find them?
Dennis: And we didn't know where to find them. We went to airports.
Jillian: I think that's brilliant.
Dennis: Thank you.
Phil: So this new company is solving a problem that you were experiencing with your old company?
Dennis: Yep 100%.
So far, Dennis has yet to miss a beat. And he’s staying in control of the conversation. In fact, he’s handling the investors so well. That when we come back. They decide to test him a little bit.
Michael: I want to throw something out and see how you respond to this. What if I told you that I think there's a chance that you may be totally wrong.
Welcome back to the show. Founder Dennis Meng has handled the investors questions with poise and clarity. But Michael’s been awfully quiet, which is never a good sign.
Michael: I want to throw something out and see how you respond to this. What if I told you that I think there's a chance that you may be totally wrong. There's something that's been bothering me since you started.
Michael; There's a weird thing about humans is that they're often not correct. And sometimes, survey rooms and putting people together they don't always answer the question. Sometimes there's so much bias or this and that, it doesn't quite work. I think you might face your own Uberization.
Michael: I think that if you look at the trend of AI right now, the trend is that the part of artificial intelligence which is getting really cheap and really, really good, is prediction. Not judgment, but prediction. And I would hazard a guess that the company that'll do better than you, what it'll be a company that gets out there and goes up to Wayfair and saying “these three tables with these three colors are going to be the next things you should build. And it'll be much more reliable than you getting in humans into a room, getting everybody for 30 bucks and whatever. I think I could invest in your company, and I think for the next two, three years you can make some money. But I don't think you're going to be right for long, because I believe we have to wipe out all the people, and you have to make a prediction engine that does way better than what you're doing. Because prediction, as math gets cheap, prediction gets really, really, really useful.
Dennis: Yeah. So here's why you're wrong. So ... There's two reasons. Before a product goes live, you need to figure out what to build. You need to figure out what direction you want to invest your resources in as a company. Before you actually have a product that you can test out there. And so that's why you need to have conversations with users to guide that before you actually have a tangible product that you want to predict something about. The second point about AI and predictions. So I just had a conversation two days ago with a director of user research at Microsoft. And the way he sees the world evolving is that there's a lot of tech around emotional analysis, basically you know face analysis of what people's emotions are as you're having a conversation. There definitely is going to be an overlap between AI and these conversations.
Michael: So how come Amazon, the entire Amazon runs on prediction engines.
Dennis: Amazon has a massive user research team.
Michael: Right. And they're pulling people into rooms all the time at $30 a head?
Michael: So that's how they're scaling Amazon? Through rooms of users?
Dennis: Yeah. So Microsoft, they're expecting to bring in 100,000 people over, maybe not next year but in a couple years down the line.
Michael: So the trend on Amazon and Microsoft is more people in rooms and less AI?
Dennis: I wouldn't say less. I think that they're complementary. You have to do both of them. And Amazon is releasing production code every eleven seconds. Umm they have to decide...
Michael: So you believe in the future that rooms will get bigger, more people and prediction will just follow it?
Jillian: I don't think AI is going to replace the touch...
Michael: Hold on, I want to see him do it.
Dennis: So we think they have to be complementary.
Dennis: And that's a big piece of it.
Charles: By the way, you're doing a very good job of controlling the flow of this pitch. Because we're all trying to pull you in different directions and I think you're just doing a really good job of keeping us...
Jillian: We're testing you.
Charles: On task. And on schedule. And that doesn't always happen here.
Dennis: Yeah, I found that if I don't finish, people make assumptions if I don't answer questions. And it gets messy.
Jillian: No, that's really, really good.
Phil: What's the size of the addressable market, would you say?
Dennis: Yeah. So ultimately, any company that builds a product, we think will be a user of what we're building. And so there are 3 million product companies out there, in industries that we're already working with. And so even if each of those spends $100 a month, that's a $4 billion opportunity.
Michael: How do you price your enterprise product?
Dennis: So to give you an example. There's a music streaming company that has hundreds of employees. So they have 50 full-time researchers, plus 300 plus employees full-time, like product managers, designers, marketers. So between them, they're spending $40 million on their product team that's trying to build better products. For us, we make them all more efficient. We think that's easily a $400,000 opportunity for us, and that's what we're going after. We've already started penetrating that organization.
Michael: Okay, so slow down. You've just told me that you believe your average ticket size is $400,000? Because that's my question. What do you think your average enterprise ticket price is?
Dennis: Yeah. So it will be in the range of 50 to 60,000.
Michael: Okay. That sounds more right to me.
Dennis: But as we get to... So first thing that we'll do is we'll get every researcher at this company using the product. And that's the first 50,000.
Michael: Well, you think, right? So that's your supposition. So you think there's a land and expand program?
Michael: And what are you telling your investors for by the end of 2019 your sales are going to be?
Dennis: We expect it to be about $5 million run rate.
Michael: ARR run rate?
Michael: And how much of that is your front end vs your back end?
Dennis: So just to give you a context behind that $5 million. We've grown 10% month over month since we raised our seed round February of 2017. We went from $25,000 a month to $150,000 a month in bookings. And so even if we just continue that 10% month-over-month growth, that's what gets us to that 5 million run rate. You have another question. Just want to follow up on that. To the split between how much of that is going to be software, how much of that is going to be recruiting, we expect it to be about 30% software 2019, but then 50 - 60% software by end of 2020.
Michael: Okay. So let me rearticulate your business for you so I understand it. And please tell me if I'm wrong. You have very nascent revenue on the enterprise. Most of it is on the survey side and the front. And you're raising 4 million now.
Michael: Okay. And you think your average ticket price is going to be around $50,000 and you're going to land and expand. Which is by the way typical.
Dennis: Yeah. But to, I think the one nuance here is that these companies that will be on this $50,000 ticket price, we're not going in cold and saying... We're already there. They're already spending 10, $20,000 a month with us. And so we're going to go in and say, look, all of your teams are already using our platform. Some of them for the recruiting. Some of them for the software piece.
Michael: But you're still in a kind of a bit of a test track. I mean, no I admire the confidence. But the test track still is, for this company, would you agree with me, that for this company to be worth a lot of company, that software side needs to really, really grow?
Michael: And the part that's worth more hasn't really started yet. And that's where you are.
Dennis: Yeah. I mean, if you want me to admit that on air, like yes.
Michael: I'm not trying... You're not on trial. What I'm trying to do is ask where you are because you're asking us for money. Because there's a big difference between saying, I think people are going to spend 400 grand or 50 grand, or whether you've done it not. That's like, that's a very big distance, right?
Dennis: No, understood. No. Totally understand. And I think there is partially a leap of faith in this round.
Jillian: Okay, what was it the last round? Or how much have you raised?
Dennis: We raised a SAFE at an 8 million valuation.
Jillian: 8 million? Okay.
Michael: And how much?
Dennis: So we've ultimately raised 1.7 million total.
Jillian: Okay, now you're doing 4 million?
Jillian: At what valuation?
Dennis: That's for I think you guys to decide.
Michael: What do you think the valuation is?
Dennis: I think fairly we would expect to be in the $18 million range.
Dennis: I mean I think, we're not trying to give away a third of the company on this round. I think based on the pipeline and once you see the companies that we're already in and how we expect to grow from what they're spending with us today to getting to those $50,000 contracts, we don't think that's a huge leap.
Michael: Let me just parrot back your number to you right. So at the end of 2019, about $2 million will be enterprise revenue, right?
Dennis: The way you're defining enterprise, you're talking about the software piece?
Dennis: Sure. Yes.
Michael: So if you put a 10x on that, where you're going to be in a year from now, it's worth about 20 million.
Dennis: Well, so, you're discounting the other side of the business to zero, which I don't think is entirely fair.
Michael: Give it something. But I'm saying, okay 20, 25 million at best if you hit your numbers exactly. In a year from now.
Dennis: I think that's right. I think if you want to value the business strictly off of multiples, I think that is a way that you can look at it. Like honestly, we're not optimizing for price. We're optimizing for people that understand the vision, can add value to us as we grow to that next stage.
Michael: Well, no, that's not true. You just said, five minutes ago, you said I'm not going to give up a third of my company. So you are optimizing for price.
Dennis: A third of the company at 4 million would be 12 million dollars.
Michael: Right. So I'm just saying to you it is about price as well.
Dennis: Yes. I think there's an absolute floor to the price. I think there's a floor to the price. We're definitely not going below 12 million.
Charles: This one's really tough for me. I'm not sure if I'm looking at the next SurveyMonkey or MailChimp kind of opportunity that seems really straightforward, excellent execution and ends up being 50 or 100 times bigger at scale than it looks on the surface. Or if I'm looking at a business that's very good and very solid but has some kind of natural cap on scale. And it has all the elements that I like to see. I believe the network effects part of your audience recruitment piece. I believe the software piece. There's something about it, it's like a near fit. The pieces don't exactly fit together for me. And I can't, I've been struggling for the last 15 minutes to figure out what it is. And I don't think I'm going to get there. And I don't think it's anything you didn't say. I think this is one of the clearest, strongest presentations I've seen on The Pitch.
Charles: It just for some reason I can't seem to get there on the absolute size of the opportunity. And I wish I could give you a clearer reason as to why.
Dennis: No. Appreciate that.
Michael: So I'll go. You might be surprised by me saying this, but actually I'm quite interested. I think you're super smart and I like the argument and I like the back and forth. And I enjoy the way you thoughtfully argue with us. I think you've got a lot going for you. I would like to come into your round. I think you're super smart. I like your hustle and my gut's good about this one.
Dennis: Thank you. Appreciate it.
Jillian: How much are you going to invest?
Michael: I think I'd put, either between 50 to 150,000.
Dennis: Great. Love to continue the conversation and keep that going.
Phil: I have sort of similar feelings. I have a really good feeling about you. You're obviously very bright. Early stage, but it seems that you're growing quickly. 10% month over month. And you're at good revenues so far. You're smart enough to realize that it would make a lot of sense to introduce a recurring revenue product, which you're doing. And for me, I obviously need to see what the valuation is to see what I'm investing in. But I'd like to invest 300,000.
Dennis: Very cool. Thank you.
Phil: Thank you.
Jillian: Okay. Okay. Um. So um... I love logistics. I love logistic companies. And interestingly enough I was just speaking at a CTO conference. umm And had a lot of the product designers there. And this is one of the conversations that kept coming up. And it is amazing how immersed they are in the users. More so than they said that they have ever been. They were saying, that they use every opportunity to talk about a product and try something out. And so this is just, umm this is a constant problem. But a very fascinating space. So I'd like to commit right now $100,000 of my own money as an angel.
Dennis: That'd be awesome.
Michael: Okie dokie. There you go. Congratulations.
[byes and thank you]
Dennis leaves with 450K in commitments from investors!! That’s when I popped into the room to ask about a few key moments from Dennis’s pitch.
Josh: So I want to start when Charles you told Dennis, he's doing a great job controlling the room. What does that tell you when a founder does that? What does that mean to you?
Charles: It tells me they know how to sell. Because I think it's very easy, even in a one on one pitch, to let a VC take you where they want to take you in the conversation. And if you've given your pitch enough times, you know where the deep water is. And you know, hey, I can't let this person drag me into the deep water until we've actually finished this point. So many pitches get side tracked by the VC going off on some, myself included, half-baked tangent. They say something that's interesting and you want to spend a bunch of time on it, but it's not really critical or relevant, as Jillian said, to understanding the pitch. I think he did a really good job of politely just saying, hey, well, we'll get to that. But first, we have to finish... I think part of a good pitch is the entrepreneur needs to control the dialog. Needs to control the flow of the conversation. I thought he just did a really good job of that.
Josh: Yeah he did. I was impressed. So the next moment that really stood out to me, Michael, you asked Dennis about predictive AI essentially making this business obsolete in the future. And you said before you asked the question that you wanted to see, you wanted to hear how he responded to it. And of course his first response was, I think you're wrong. Then he went on to explain it. Did he pass the test? Did he respond in the way you wanted him to?
Michael: Um... You know, I guess I like the fact that he's ardent in his position and that he believes in his business. So yeah. I'm the kind of investor that likes that kind of pushback, if he really believes that. I said, I think your whole business could be wrong. And he didn't crumble. Now everybody's going to come on the show next season, going, no, you're wrong! I know what to do with you!
Josh: But that's what you like! You enjoy the back and forth. You enjoy someone telling you you're wrong.
Michael: Well, I just want to hear how they respond to it. I mean, it just seems obvious to me. But I thought he was super smart. I think this is one of the better founders that we've had ever in this room.
Josh: That's fantastic.
Michael: He's now one of my more favorite pitches.
Jillian: I agree.
So that pitch went pretty well! Not only did Dennis leave the room with almost half a million dollars worth of commitments, the investors seem genuinely excited to work with him.
But the question is: did those commitments turn in to any money in the bank? We’ll find out after the break.
Welcome back to the show. I caught up with Dennis about 6 months after he pitched in the room. I started with something I was curious about, which was how he was feeling when Michael said he thought that User Interviews could soon be obsolete.
Josh: He challenged you by saying that like artificial intelligence is the future and there are a lot of what you're doing right now would actually be replaced by AI. What were you thinking when he asked that question, and you say that you're wrong?
Dennis: Yeah. So I think I didn't want that train of thought to derail the conversation that I was having with all of the other investors in the room. So I thought the best thing to do would be to stand my ground as firmly as I could, and so I think that's where I think you're wrong quote came out.
Josh: He commented after you left the room that was that was great. Like he actually said nothing about what your answer was. He was just like, I like that he stood his ground and had a compelling answer.
Dennis: You know I do have conviction to my beliefs so when they ask questions like that, you do always want to stand your ground. And I think it's equally as important, if not more important to have strong reasoning behind why you're standing your ground. But it's important to not be wishy washy in those situations.
Josh: Yeah you did very well in the room and in particular the investors gave you high marks for your ability to control the room. Where did you learn how to do that?
Dennis: Yeah. umm … yeah umm. I think it's easy potentially to let the room like frazzle you or it's easy to get caught up in the speed that investors are asking questions. But I think that's a trap. I think the key is to answer questions at your own pace, and make sure you're conveying the information that you want to convey. I think, yeah, I think this pitch is no different than any pitch with you have like a one on one pitch with an investor. You know It's on the entrepreneur to control the story. No matter what questions are being asked, it's still on the entrepreneur to control the narrative and get out the points that they want to share.
Josh: yeah, so, the pitch ended with you raking in commitments from three of the investors, and it was totaling somewhere in the range of like $450, $500,000. So then you triumphantly walk out of the room. What happened next?
Dennis: We walked out the room and followed up with the investors just to keep them warm. So I emailed them all to continue that conversation. At the same time we were trying to find a lead investor for our round, ahh so biggest focus for us was trying to identify that lead investor because they would then set the price ahh and then we would follow up with uhh the remaining investors that were interested. Aah It took us some time we were going through the process with a handful of VCs. Ultimately we were able to find our lead.
Josh: Who did you find? Who's your lead?
Dennis: So, Accomplice, TJ Mahony and Accomplice.
Josh: Wait Sarah Downey's fund? One of the other Pitch investors.
Josh: All the talking wasn't she, didn't they lead the last round?
Dennis: Yes, they did. Umm it was definitely a huge vote of confidence, that they decided to lead this round as well. And so that was really exciting for us.
And Accomplice settled on a 15 million dollar valuation for User Interviews. Which is smack dab in the middle of the range they talked about on the show.
Dennis: It's a price where we're very happy with.
Josh: All right, so you have your lead investor, you got settle on some terms, and then you go back to our investors who committed on the show. Walk me through what happens next.
Denni: So then I followed up with ... So I think the three investors where Michael, Phil and Jillian, sorry. Michael, Phil and Jillian, I followed up with all three. Jillian ended up getting back to me and saying that the price was a little too high for them to participate, but wish me luck, and that was a great interaction.
Josh: And then Michael, what happened with Michael?
Dennis: Michael? Unfortunately, we didn't hear back from, I think maybe ... I'm not sure what the reason was, but we shot them a few emails, but never been back.
So, we called Michael to find out, what happened to all those emails.
Michael: (phone ringing)
Michael: You guys are going to fire me soon, I swear.
Josh: (laughs) No, wasn’t planning on it [laughs]. So, Michael, you were, you were super engaged with Dennis during his pitch. And, in fact, you really put him through the wringer. And then in the end, like you were like, you were excited. You said, "I'm ready to go in." Like, you wanted to invest. But then Dennis wasn't able to get ahold of you afterward. Like, what happened?
Michael: You know, I'm going to have to take a mea culpa on this one. I think I, I kind of messed this one up. And I'll tell you how, what happened. Ah, after the show, you know, you're, you're deluged with a whole bunch of stuff and then you get back into your working life and then you have a whole bunch of deals going on, and I know this is a poor excuse for the people who listen to this show, but I literally dropped the ball on this one. And in fact the sad part is, is that he was emailing and an email address that I don't use as often, and it also went into my spam folder.
Josh: Oh no.
Michael: And then he did try to contact me a number of times, but I mean the excuse sounds like "my dog ate my homework."
Michael: And I don't blame this entrepreneur. You know, he did reach out. I did find the emails. It was too late. I, it was my screw-up.
Josh: Yeah. So, like, he sent you three emails, and all three of them went to spam?
Michael: Yeah, I didn't get them.
Michael: I, I, I'm telling you, like I normally respond.
Josh: (laughs) No, that sucks. It's just like email, like email sucks.
Michael: No look I fucked up.
Josh: This might be the one that got away.
Michael: Yeah, (laughs) it probably is, it probably turns into an Uber or something and then someone's going back on this show and they'll be like, "Remember Hyatt missed it?" And that's totally possible.
Okay, back to Dennis, who as it turns out. Seems to be taking the news pretty well.
Josh: So Jillian and Michael fell through. How do you feel about that?
Dennis: I think it's just part of the process. umm I think this isn't the first time we've had worse situations in the past and investors committing actually hard committing and then backing out later. So-
Dennis: Yeah. Not Terrible. I think this was ... Sometimes people fall off, they lose interest or other things come up. And so we expected that might be the case.
Dennis: Phil ended up umm coming in and doing his due diligence and participating in the round, so that was great.
Josh: How much did he invest?
Dennis: Yeah. He invested $300,000.
Josh: Oh, that's awesome. That's very cool. Umm So you were raising $4 million on the show. You found the lead, you set a valuation. Were you able to close around and raise the full 4 million?
Dennis: Yeah, we actually ended up raising 5 million in the round.
Josh: What? Hey that’s awesome. How did that happen?
Dennis: We just had a lot of interests in the round. And yeah, in the end we were able to, we had more commitments than we had originally planned for. So we decided to raise five instead of four. .
Josh: So You’re working with Phil now, he invested 300k you’ve closed the round you’re moving on. What’s it like?
Dennis: It’s great. I think it's been the last couple of years had been a wild ride. I think about, around this time two years ago we were just three co-founders. Now we have 23 full time and we're hiring across all different departments.
Josh: 23 employees. Wow.
Dennis: Yeah. It's been a great journey. We've got a long road ahead of us, there's a lot still to do, but we're excited about what the next two years could be.
Not only did Dennis raise 300K money from one investor who btw has impeccable email etiquette, h/t to Phil. But he raised 5Million dollars in total!
Apparently the spam folder, can’t keep this founder down.
Investor on The Pitch
Phil Nadel is the Founder and Managing Director of Forefront Venture Fund and of Forefront Venture Partners, one of the largest syndicates on AngelList. He has started and sold several companies and has invested in more than 200 startups with several exits.
Investor on The Pitch Seasons 1–10
Jillian Manus is Managing Partner of an early-stage Silicon Valley venture fund, Structure Capital. Branded “Architects of the Zero Waste Economy," they invest in underutilized assets and excess capacity. She was named one of the top 25 early-stage Female Investors by Business Insider in 2021. Jillian serves on numerous corporate and non-profit boards, these include: Stanford University School of Medicine Board of Fellows, NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center Board of Directors, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
Investor on The Pitch
Michael Hyatt is a serial entrepreneur and active investor. He is the co-founder of BlueCat, (acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners), and previously co-founded Dyadem (acquired by IHS). He currently serves as a Director of BlueCat and is also a weekly business commentator on CBC, is the Host of “Business Unplanned”, a podcast to help small businesses.
Investor on The Pitch Seasons 2–10
Charles Hudson is the Managing Partner and Founder of Precursor Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in the first institutional round of investment for the most promising software and hardware companies. Prior to founding Precursor Ventures, Charles was a Partner at SoftTech VC. In this role, he focused on identifying investment opportunities in mobile infrastructure.