The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ep 16: What I've learned building 3 companies feat Andrew Gazdecki

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Ep 16: What I've learned building 3 companies feat Andrew Gazdecki

But what is going on? Everyone? Welcome to another episode of the Revenue Collective podcast. This is your launch host, Justin Welsh, now a member of the Nashville Chapter of revenue collective. We will be featuring ideas in conversations inspired by ongoing discussion within the global RC community. In this episode we're featuring a discussion about pure entrepreneurship. My guest will be three time founder in Currencyeo of micro acquire, Andrew Gaz deck. Before we get into the interview with Andrew, I want to thank our sponsored gone, the number one revenue intelligence platform for remote sales. We are thrilled to announce a strategic partnership in which will we bring you the best events, content, research and spaces to engage with your peers. And to kick it off, they are sponsoring the revenue collective podcast. We will be bringing you stuff every month, so do not miss out. Stay uptodate on the latest collaborations at Gong Dot io RC. Also, if you're out there listening and you want to join revenue collective, either our associates program or executive program visit Revenue Collectivecom in simply click apply now. Now let's listen to my conversation with the CEO of micro acquire, Andrew Gas deck our guest today is Andrew Gazdecki. Andrew is a three time founder with three egg it's a former cro in current founder of micro acquire. He has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, INC Magazine and Entrepreneur magazine, as well as prominent industry blogs like Mashable, tech crunch and venture beat. Andre Man, it's really great to talk to you. Welcome and to thanks for having me on. I'm excited. I'm excited as well. You and I haven't I think we've sort of gone past each other ships in the night online a few times, but we haven't had an opportunity to actually sit down and chat. So I've been really excited for this one. Yeah, I'm stoked for this. Like I said, I've been a fan of what you're doing and yeah, excited just chat and see it goes awesome. So let's start, maybe by taking it back just a bit. So you started your first company, business apps, while you were enrolled in cal State Chico, and I'd love to learn how you decided to get started building at the same time that you were in school. Can you tell me a little bit about that decision? Yeah, that was actually kind of easy. So I've kind of been an not sure of my whole life. I was a kid that had like ebay business. I like sold like pokemon cards. It's kind of embarrassing to admit, but so in Chico I wasn't a technical founder and so I always knew I want to start a business and so I had this goal every summer starting a new company, and obviously I had. There's a graveyard of businesses I've started. But so business apps actually started as an idea from a previous business. I basically just went online.

I bought a script for I've you heard of like Freelancercom, like upwork? Sure, yeah, I use UPER goble time. Yeah, so you can buy scripts similar to those businesses and just, you know, put it on a server and niche it to a certain industry. So when the iphone first came out, I launched this website called phone freelancer, kind of a dumb name, but what I was doing was connecting mold developers with businesses. So basically, think Freelancercom, but just specific to mobile. And then I spent I don't know, like entire winter break just commenting on like anything related to Iphone APPS. I'm like, Hey, have you got another idea? Like come to this, you know market place, you can find a developer build out your idea. And so that actually started getting some traction and I guess saw this the same sort of job post being posted all the time. It was basically a restaurant, as an example, looking for let's call it like a loyalty program. They want to show their menu, they want to push on a vacations and I just and they would, you know, have these jobs with developers were they would pay like thirty, forty, fiftyzero. And again, this is when the iphone first came out. So every business is trying with your how to get on mobile. So I kind of had this like a light ball moment of like hey, what if I built like a template where I could reskin this? And that's my business and my goal really was like not get a job, if I'm being completely honest. So it has super humble beginnings but to kind of, you know, fast track a little bit, I ended up selling that business. Found Freelancer for yeah, I won't say the amount, but in college with inflation, it felt like a trillion dollars. It was like the fourth moment of my life and that was the beginning of business apps. It was basically like, you know, these businesses all have a similar sort of need with features, functionality. The first version was absolutely terrible, but that's how I get started. I just kind of had that entreneurial bug and started with something that, you know, led me to business apps. So you have the entrepreneurial bug and so you wanted to start business apps. But was there, you know, something that you were passionate about that business apps specifically solved? How did you come up with the idea for the the particular company? Yeah, so both of my parents were small business owners, so I had just a natural passion for helping small businesses and I just saw mobile as this huge trimp transformer made of shift. That's a big word, but whatever you want to call it, paradigm shift of how people, you know, are interacting with businesses. And if you look at your phone, every company you like or interact with has some sort of way for you to connect with them on mobile. And so, as that shift was happening, only large businesses could afford to develop,...

...you know, an Ivan App and an android APP. This is even before android and I just thought, you know, there just has to be a way to make Moll web development cheaper and easier and more accessible to small businesses because, you know, paying forty, fiftyzero dollars for a small business just isn't viable. So, you know, the passion was really just my background and also seeing the opportunity. Just both my parents were small business owners. You know, massive shift. Everyone was going to mobile and I you know, again, I started with humble beginnings. I wasn't I didn't start it with like hey, this thing's going to get funded and it's going to be super huge type of the original idea was like I'm going to build like twenty mobile apps for like twenty restaurants and charge them like hundred bucks a month and then I don't have to get a job and then I'll like figure out the next step after that. So yeah, but I love that. And as you built business APPS, did your how big did your team ultimately grow? It was it was a weird ride, man. So I started when I was twenty one. I grew to about ten million and we curring revenue. The team at its peak was over a hundred. You know, we had you know, portion remotely and then we had an inhouse, you know operation sales team, customer success team. Yeah, it was it was interesting and I was twenty three. I was like see of this like Inc five hundred growing company and yeah, we never raise any venture capital. It was just one of those moments where I just kind of feel like I caught like, you know, right market, right time, and it just took off and definitely made a thousand mistakes long the way. Man. Sure. So, yeah, right, that's that's really cool. I think that's a good segue into my next question. So you're twenty three, you're a founder. I've got a ten million dollar recurring revenue business. You got nearly a hundred people. You know, I would assume that making some of those first hiring decisions of your career we're probably pretty challenging. It was. was there a particular, you know, skill set that you looked for when hiring folks into business apps being, you know, twenty three years old? Yeah, I mean I I'll start with my biggest mistake, but hiring was, you know, when you're when you're twenty three, and he grew up without, you know, a lot of money and you interview, let's say, a VP marketing and they're asking verse six figure salary, you kind of roll your eyes are like what the heck, like, why would I pay this person six figures when I could just do it myself? As a huge mistake. You know, teams are built on, you know, hiring people smarter smarter and you as soon as possible, removing yourself from that function in the business. So you know, that took me a couple years to kind of figure that out. But you know, I had a different, different approach to hiring that I think a lot of people take. And I always looked for motivation, attitude and then skill set, in that order. And so I really just...

...had like three things that I looked forward to. Basically, could I see you enjoying this job? Could I see myself enjoying working with you? And do I think you do a good job? Like it was pretty simple. I always looks for a future potential rather than current potential and people. And so yeah, I guess you know, one thing I'm really proud of with business house was, you know, if you ask the people that worked with me, you know we had a really good time. We had a fun culture and courage and culture. We had people that started in customer success that, you know, we're now VP of sales at other companies. There's three different stars that I hired that are BEP of sales at other companies. One individual start in sales moved over to product. So we just had this like really good organization of, you know, career upward mobility and the business, and that was attracted to a lot of people. But again, it felt like, you know, such a team where everybody just made each other better and we were just high fiving all the time and there's no egos. So that's what I really look for and hiring and it worked out at the good time with everybody and we obviously had alish a lot together. So yeah, motivation, attitude, skill set. That's that's what I look for the most. Yeah, I was taught early in my career by the CEO of the First Technique Tech Company that I was a part of that intrinsics were like really important and oftentimes, sure there were roles that required someone with experience, right, very important roles that you wanted someone who had done it before, but many of the roles in your company can simply be be filled by people who are curious, excited and ready to go work hard for your mission, and so I've always been a big believer in in attitude and motivation, much like you before skill set. So I think people are starting to realize that in a lot of the sales or leaders and entrepreneurs that I talked to are are hiring in that same way. So it sounds like you just knew that potentially a little bit ahead of time. So so good, good, good for you on business apps and kind of brings me to my next question. It was acquired by a pe firm and then you went on to found alt coin thatt IO in two thousand and eighteen. So you're now into your second business in your being. You're being featured magazines and publications. In two thousand and seventeen you were in thirty, under thirty entrepreneur. So it brings me like this two part question. Number One. was there a lot of pressure because of some of those accolades to make the next thing you build really big? And then question too, was it your intention to do so? Yeah, that's a really question, you know. So this May seem weird to people listening to this, but when I sold business APPS. That was actually, you know, one of the harder times and my career and you know, yes, I, you know, sold it. You know, I had a you know, now come I'm, you know, very, very grateful for but you you go from a point where you know you're you essentially have a family and people that you really care about. I really loved running business...

APPS, but ninety days later, depending on you know, the structure of the deal, when you get acquired, you get to a point where you're just out of the business, like literally you are. You know, you go from managing all these people and having meetings all day and talking with customers and really loving what you're doing to just, you know, it's like all right, what do we do now? So I you know, candidly. I rolled into its all coin, I think a little too quickly. If I could go back, I you know, I wish I'd probably took a little bit of a break and kind of really you know, took in that big win that I had with Business Apps, and all coin was still, you know, a great venture for me. But you know, you definitely hit on something there where you know it, you know your CEO, and then you're not and so I think, you know, part of me, I'm a very driven and an ambitious person. But yeah, I definitely think, you know, there was some some thought and pressure in there, just like hey, you know, I got to go do something else, because I think there was a part of me that wanted to prove that, you know, I could do this more than once. You know, they say if you do it once, he a lucky, you do a twice, you're good, and so I think I had a little bit of chip on my shoulders show like I can build another company and then also get it acquired. And Fun fact, to from the day I sold business apps to the day all quite acquired, was then three hundred sixty five days. So it's two acquisitions and one year. So I if I could go back, I would. I would take a break for sure and just, you know, kind of really figure out, you know, just how big of a win that was for me. You know, probably travel the world a little bit, but now I rolled right back kind of another serial role, a you know, new set of problems with, you know, a new talented team. But yeah, that's that was a really good question. Thanks, and I know you mentioned that Alt coin was was ultimately acquired as well, and you go through that acquisition. And then next on sort of your list here is you take the chief Revenue Officer at a company called Spiff, and I was reading a blog post of yours from about a year ago. You say you know, as an entrepreneur I'm obsessed with finding practical solutions to real world problems and first of all I love that quote, but it made me want to ask, how did you evaluate the decision to join a business that was in existence rather than take, you know, that third swing at founding a one? Yeah, another great question. So this was another thing that I wanted to do, which was have a job and say I did that. No, but seriously so, at business apps. I was a customer of spiffs, one of their main competitors. I won't mention who it is, but just didn't have the best experience, but I deeply understood the problem that they were solving. And, for those of you listening and aren't familiar with Spif they automate really complex sales commissions for really large sales teams. Amazing team,...

...amazing product, amazing founder. Can't say enough good things about that company. But you know, again, I was originally going to be an advisor and I just kind of looked at, you know, their current sales strategy and there go to market strategy and just said, Hey, I just looked at my calendar, I have nothing to do. And Fun fact just in this is kind of embarrassing dimension as well, but I was a top one hundred mad and player during this time because I had so much free time, and so I was like I this isn't good. I need to like get into something and I got really passionate about the promit spit for solving, because I was on the other end of the coin of just, you know, using clunky, outdated solutions and they saw, like when I first saw the product, I remember it like it was yesterday. I was like, oh my gosh, you guys, this is gonna be really big. And then I basically kind of baked Jarren, the CEO, for job and had a pretty good run there. Is was a ton of fun. Yeah, that's it's neat. Man. I can recall, like, if I were to rewind my career back eleven years, I was in, you know, the Med device space and it never heard of the texting in two thousand and nine and I got introduced to Zock Doc in New York and I had had such a terrible experience just trying to book doctor's appointments that like the idea that someone was building a market place that solve that problem. Like I was obsessed with finding the practical solution to that problem. So that quote really resonated with me and it's really neat to see that you were on the other side of the problem at spiff, which allows you to be, you know, really obsessed with their mission as well, and I think that ties back into the way that you hire, right. I would assume that you look for people who are obsessed with, you know, the mission or the challenge that you're solving. Is that right? Yeah, absolutely, and I love how you mentioned that too. I mean, when you're passionate about, yeah, what you're doing, what you're selling, what you're marketing, man, you're going to be so good at it because you're going to put in that extra ten percent because you like truly get excited about it. And you know, there's a lot of like sports analogies that I usually pull when I talked about this stuff. Like you see people like Michael Jordan and Tom Brady, who's another one that was just Kobe Bryant, super, super talented, but you know it was their motivation that made them rate. And so, you know, when you find that and people in a business, special things happen. And then when you're able to unlock that motivation within people and they don't necessarily have it all the time, through the good times and the bad times, that's when you can do some really amazing stuff and that's that's probably my favorite thing about business man's when you find, you know, ways to make people just passionate about what you're doing and then motivate them to be better than you know they are when you bring them into the business. So totally agree with that. Just you know, if you get excited about something, I would recommend taking that job over, say, a job that pays even all those highs,...

...fifty percent more, because you're going to protect better, you're going to be happier and you're just going to be excited about it, and I think that's something that a lot of people kind of you know, I can't speak for everybody, but get behind something that you're passionate about and you're going to you're going to go far. So let's bring that that passion you know, to the present day. So you recently found it in launched micro aquire. So to start, you know, tell us about what micro quire is, and then what was the passion behind building that? Yeah, so I I took a plan out of your book. You know that quote that you said, where is basically like, you know, just do something free for like a year and then monetize it. Yep, yeah, so, okay, so mic requires you're a business model. What I currently spend my day doing is really what I'm passion about. I love speaking with entrepreneurs, love helping them just advise on their business. I love talking to, you know, other entreneurs on the other side that may be looking to acquire a company. So, to answer your question now, I just spend all day helping startups get acquired completely free, because the other routes to getting acquired is number one. You can, you know, hope that, let's say, Google knocks on your door one day. But you know, most startups are sold, not bought. There's a common phase and startup land. You know, most, like the best startups, are bought and not sold. For my experience, typically startups are sold, not bought, unless you're in the one percent. Your slack growing like crazy or whatever. But you know, there's a lot of entrepreneurs. You build these like really, really good businesses, you know, doing between let's just call like a couple hundred thousand a month, you know, up to you know, a couple millionaire. Not Growing fast enough for venture capital, probably too small for traditional private equity, and so they can work with, you know, a broker that'll take like ten percent or an investment bank, depending on the size of the business. And so I really just, you know, given that I sold to a private equity for myself, I just mapped out all the private equity firms that are Sass buyers and I just help auntioners, you know, potentially get acquired. So do it completely free. Have them figured out the business model to that yet? But yeah, very, very long winded answer to your question. But yeah, micro require helps startups meat potential buyers. That it's really neat because it feels like from business apps to micro acquire it's sort of comes full circle. There's sort of a commonality there where you know you're supporting small businesses. Is that sound about right? Yeah, I mean a lot of the founders I talked to, are you know ones that you've never heard of. Yeah, their boots trapped. They haven't been featured in tech runs. Their profitable. Typically they ran by, let's say, you know just a few. You know, maybe they have more expertise on the of the building of the product,...

...they're technical, but when it comes to you know, sales, marketing, go to go to arch strategy, that's where it's lacking a little bit. And so, you know, those are really good acquisition targets if you have a background in sales or marking or, you know, you're just passionate about maybe owning a hundred percent of a company. So yeah, definitely. You know, micro Sass is kind of the term at that I specifically use. Yeah, really cool, man. It's a it's a great story and it's one that's obviously not not yet close to being over. So, you know, we're kind of coming close to the end of our time. But I have one last question and that's when I when I talk to entrepreneurs that have built multiple businesses, and the last two companies I've worked for have had, you know, multiple business founders, they often have one or two sort of top takeaways after a decade of just creating could you sum up in maybe a lesson or two, what you'd like new entrepreneurs, those who are just getting started to know, Oh man, we're even start number one. Just jump in the pool. You know, so many people want to start businesses today and I think the biggest hole back is just fear, and it's scary for even me, like, you know, this is my business or something like that, and you know, I think all the time. I have I got to get from A to B or something like that. But you know, that's the funnest part about entrepreneurship is, you know, enjoying the journey and not being so focused on getting to the destination. So, you know, if anyone's listening to this and I thinking about starting a business, I would just get really clear on you know, why are you building this business? Because in order to be successful as an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate about what you're doing, because you're going to have hard times, you have ups and downs, you're going to have, you know, a big customer, go with a competitor, xyze, investor says no, like you got to get really good at hearing know, and like when you're passionate about what you're doing that's going to push you through the Times that are difficult. And then the second thing would just be yeah, just jump in the pool. Like I probably have said this you or somewhere on Linkedin, but to me, starting a business is truly the most rewarding thing that, in my opinion, you can do, personally and professional in your career. So you know, I know not he has his trademarked, but I'd say just do it. It's like my advice. You learned so much about yourself. You're able to have an impact on so many different people and positive ways. I mean, obviously I'm biased, but you know, entrepreneurship is something that, you know, changed my life and I hope to see more in the future. Great Stuff, Andrew. Man, it's been a pleasure having you on the show. Really enjoyed the talk, hearing your journey, hearing your success stories. What's the best place to go if you know people want to...

...learn a bit more about you, get in contact with you or maybe learn about micro require? Yeah, you can add me on Linkedin. Andrew. Guys de key, if you can figure out how to spell that last name. A guys de ki out twitter, if you can figure out out his fellow last name or, you know, reach out to me on micro require, just micro required pool and it's Ga Zde C K I if you're looking for gas, De key Andrew. Really great having on the show man. Thanks for being out with me. I appreciate it. Yeah, I appreciate you having be.

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