L-R: Chaz Felix, investor; Sam Bayer, CEO, Corevist; Joe Colopy and Kevin Mosley, partners, Jurassic Capital
Corevist’s next chapter
Last week’s investment by Jurassic Capital closed one chapter in the Corevist story, and opened a very exciting new one for us. Aside from extending my gratitude to everyone who helped make last week possible, I would like to give a little perspective on why we raised capital, why now and why with Jurassic Capital.
First a little history. Then the gratitude. Then why now and why Jurassic? And finally, what’s next?
A little Corevist history
Twelve years ago, in January of 2008, three guys who previously worked together at HAHT Commerce in the late 90’s early 00’s (myself, Joe Pryor and Adrian Zehnder) shook hands and decided to resurrect the mission of “Making B2B eCommerce accessible to all manufacturers running SAP ERP”. We knew that the market for what we had pioneered in 1998 was far from totally penetrated. We also knew that the SAP market still needed an alternative to the overly featured, overly complex, overly priced and overly-risky-to-implement solution that SAP and their ecosystem had a propensity to provide. We also knew that this was going to be a long and expensive journey to pursue, but we were committed to bootstrapping it until we were ready… whatever that meant.
Along the way, just like with all entrepreneurial stories, we had many ups and downs, good news and bad. We were focused on our mission, fueled by our passion and guided by our core values. However, unlike the vast majority of entrepreneurial stories, thanks to; our clients, our employees and their families, a little bit of luck and a whole hell of a lot of hard work, we survived 12 profitable years of growth and are now poised for accelerated growth.
Now for the gratitude.
First and foremost, I am thankful for all of our clients who on a daily basis reaffirm that our mission and its execution is valued. From the very first order placed in December of 2008, to the thousands of orders per day that we process today, we appreciate that each one of those orders brings value to our clients. We’re grateful to be given the opportunity to be our client’s trusted B2B eCommerce partner working with them to manage their daily operations and jointly plan their future with them.
We’ve grown to 45 people on two continents, and I am grateful for the contribution that every single one of us makes everyday. We didn’t need Coronavirus to tell us that it’s smart to let people work from home. We’re living proof that if you treat people like the adults and professionals that they are, be explicit about what the business needs in order to succeed, they will deliver. I’m proud to work with such a talented and dedicated group of individuals. I’ve grown immensely from all of my interactions with all of you!
Although I’ve never met him, I’m grateful to Gino Wickman for having codified a very pragmatic Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) that he calls TRACTION. EOS held up a mirror to all of the heroic efforts required to keep Corevist on track and gave us a vision and path to truly scale beyond them. We’ve been on our EOS journey for almost 3 years now and I’m 150% certain that without our commitment to it, last week’s investment by Jurassic Capital would not have happened.
Why now and why Jurassic Capital?
I’ve witnessed first hand what happens when a management team has overwhelming pressure to spend money to effect hypergrowth before they are ready. It’s not a pretty sight. There is a lot of chaos, personal ego and plenty of blame thrown around.
- That you truly know who your target market is, (which clients will you walk away from)
- That you truly know what your unique value proposition really is, (what clients are buying not what you’re selling)
- That you have systems in place to manage the most critical business processes required to find, sell, implement and support them (understand the difference between working “in” the business versus “on” the business.
When you start scaling too soon, you chase deals that you shouldn’t and regret winning some of those because of the cost to service them. You also don’t take the time to build the systems and processes required to scale because, as they say here in the south, “you’re too busy chasing the pigs to build the fence”.
The finance industry’s benchmark for a company that is ready to scale is $5M in revenue. I now know from experience that that is a pretty accurate benchmark. When you get to $5M in revenue you should have numbers 1 & 2 above nailed and are well on your way to implementing #3.
So we’re ready. It took us 12 years to get here, but we’re here now.
We’re ready for the breathing room that a little cash can provide us.
When you’re bootstrapped you not only have to be profitable, but you have to keep an eye on cash flow. That’s not a bad thing, mind you. What it does mean is that you can’t always make the kind of investments that will accelerate your growth and you sometimes have to scramble to make your operational commitments.
Thanks to Jurassic Capital we now have a little bit of financial breathing room.
We’re also ready to learn from people who have been where we want to go. Everyone at Corevist knows that we have a great product-market fit and we can run our company profitably. We’ve been doing that for many, many years. Now that we’re ready to scale, we want to short circuit as much of that trial and error learning as possible.
Thanks to Jurassic Capital we now have a team of experienced coaches that we can lean on.
In the short term, nothing new. Corevist has our 2020 plan and we’re executing on it. Nothing drastic is going to happen.
With that said, one of my personal priorities is to gradually remove myself from the daily operations of Corevist so that I can focus on what I truly love (and what’s best for Corevist’s future)–innovating.
I love designing products that will bring more value to our clients and the market. I love expanding our partnerships with complementary technology and service providers. I love helping our existing clients figure out new ways to derive more value from their relationship with Corevist. I love evangelizing Corevist to prospective clients, employees and the industry.
As far as our clients are concerned, you have always been, and will always be, our first Core Value. We will always be passionate about you and your success. This investment from Jurassic gives us the opportunity to accelerate some of our product and infrastructure investments on your behalf. Our internal processes will evolve and be staffed to deliver even more responsiveness to your business and technical requirements.
It’s taken us 12 years to get to this point. From one perspective that seems like a very long time. From another perspective it’s gone by like the snap of my fingers. I’m very proud of everything that we’ve been able to accomplish at Corevist over the past 12 years. I’m even more excited to be a part of what we’re going to accomplish in the next 12.
Want to see Corevist in real life?
Download this case study on LORD Corporation. You’ll learn how this leading industrial manufacturer re-platformed onto Corevist Commerce and kept SAP at the core.