How do you start a business from your bedroom? How do you move to the next level? We speak to Gerald Vanderpuye, CEO and co-founder, BuyerDeck to give us an insight into the rapidly changing world of startups.
What exactly is your business and how does it help people?
BuyerDeck is a sales tool that helps b2b sales reps to collaborate more effectively with their buyers. We create a portal for every deal a sales rep has where buyers/sellers can interact. Salespeople can share content, have real-time communication with buyers and measure buyer engagement with the deal.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I got the idea when I was working at Rackspace in Enterprise sales and I made a mistake by sharing my notes intended for management with my buyer! Turns out, this unintentional transparency gave the prospective buyer an opportunity to validate his notes and collaborate on the major assumptions of the sale. So I decided to productise it and teamed up with one of my technical buyers from my time at Rackspace to build it.
Where did you start your business? How long have you been trying to make it a success?
We started 3 years ago with me in London and my co-founder, Ilgvars, in Riga Latvia. We both quit our jobs and Ilgvars build a development team in Riga. A year ago we began building the sales team here in London and we are now a team of 5 looking to build a development team here in addition to the team in Latvia. We are on the hunt for a superstar full-stack developer in the city if you know anyone that might be a fit!
What has MassChallenge UK done to help you and your business?
When we joined MassChallenge UK, we were a team of 5 and had about 10 customers. One year on and we are profitable, turning over a quarter of a million in revenue, and a team of 8. Being a part of the first MassChallenge UK cohort provided us with a network here in London which really aided our growth this past year.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
We’ve faced many challenges over the course of the past 3 years, as every startup does – the challenge of fundraising, hiring, the doubt of whether or not you can keep your business afloat much less make it successful. But what is present for us right now and our biggest current challenge is distribution. We have 25 customers but the big challenge now is generating awareness around BuyerDeck and being able to grow that 25 into the hundreds.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business? What is the best advice you have been given or have read?
Before I started my business I did a startup MBA taught by Rob Fitzpatrick who talked about the concept of the Mom test. This shows every founder how to talk to customers and learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you. This is now translated into a book and it’s a must read before you start any business.
Where do you expect to be in a year?
In one year we hope to be a team of 9, generating 1M in revenue every year with 70 superstar customers.