In IVP’s Hyper-Growth Podcast series, IVP investors talk with CEOs from the fastest growing companies and discuss the ins and outs of company building in the hyper-growth environment.
In our third episode, IVP’s Tom Loverro sat down with Eric Rea, Co-Founder and CEO of Podium, and Adam Edmunds, President of Podium. Recently named one of Forbes’ Next Billion-Dollar Startups and Fast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Companies, Podium is a next-generation customer interaction platform for local businesses.
Headquartered in Lehi, Utah, Podium started by selling to single location small businesses –dentists, doctors, car dealerships – eventually catering to larger, multi-location corporations and franchises. Podium has grown rapidly, from approximately $1 million in run-rate revenue in 2015 to $60 million in 2018. IVP led Podium’s $60 million Series B financing in June 2018.
The idea for Podium came to Eric after witnessing his father run his own local tire company. The pain points of managing a small business, from filling the sales funnel to maintaining online reviews, revealed themselves as clear opportunities to Eric, who views himself as a natural entrepreneur. Eric set out to create a solution built on the thesis that modern small businesses depend on their online reviews and presence to grow organically and profitably.
Local commerce isn’t going away, yet small businesses don’t have the time or resources to keep technology updated. With that revelation, Eric created a set of online tools for small businesses to communicate with their customers by gathering customer feedback and reviews. Together, Eric and his team at Podium realized they were facing a massive market opportunity spread out in pockets of small business owners across the country – all trying to solve for the issue of customer discovery and communication.
Today, Podium helps small businesses interact with their customers pre-sale (webchat, mobile text chat, appointments, etc.) and post-sale (reviews and feedback). Podium integrates with over 100 CRMs and scales to enterprises with thousands of locations.
To reach Podium’s goals to win over investors and customers alike, Adam and Eric discovered a few valuable lessons along the way. Here are a few key takeaways:
Product Market Fit Should be Obvious
“That first zero to one is hard.”
Podium figured out early on what customers needed and where there were gaps in the market from existing solutions. “The reason people buy and stay with Podium is because we help them get customers, and then we help keep customers,” Eric recounted noting. Podium’s customers saw an immediate increase in sales. That qualitative feedback gave the Podium team confidence it was on the right track. Podium’s product market fit also demonstrated itself quantitatively—the company kept “zooming past” its financial projections. There was little room for doubt Podium’s product had excellent fit with its customers and market, even quite early on.
Use Engagement Data to Guide Product Expansions
“Just launch it and then you see what happens.”
Podium didn’t launch any major new functionality until they were in market for nearly three years. They wanted to go deep before they went broad. When they finally did feel ready to make a major product expansion, they tested and iterated quickly in search of fresh product market fit. They rolled out the new features to a few users at a time and looked for the signs of deep product market fit and engagement before committing to rolling those features out globally.
Selling Software to Small Businesses Can Be Profitable
“Our experience proves it.”
Conventional wisdom in tech startups is that you shouldn’t sell software to small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) because they are difficult and expensive to reach and churn quickly. Podium has found that through a combination of focusing on a specific target profile of SMBs, namely larger revenue accounts in specific verticals, and selling a product with a measurable ROI that can be communicated over the phone and through a quick demo, SMBs can be a great customer set.
The company’s numbers are still heading up and to the right, and perhaps more importantly, Podium continues to deliver value to its customers thanks in part to Eric and Adam’s leadership.
The full transcript is below.
Narrator: Welcome to IVP’s Hyper-Growth Podcast. In this series, we talk with CEOs of the fastest-growing companies and discuss the ins-and-outs of company building in the hyper-growth environment. If you like what you hear, consider following us on SoundCloud or subscribing to our podcast on iTunes. Thanks, and enjoy the show.
Tom: Welcome everyone. I’m Tom Loverro, an investor at IVP. On today’s podcast, we are joined by Eric Ray, Co-founder and CEO of Podium, and Adam Edmonds, President of Podium. Podium is a next-generation customer communications platform for local businesses. Podium was recently named one of Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups and was just named one of Fast Companies’ World’s Most Innovative Companies. Podium grew from a million in run rate revenue in 2015 to 60 million in 2018. And for those of you keeping score at home, it’s pretty fast, especially for a company that burned very little capital to get there. The company is headquartered in Lehi, Utah, and has over 400 employees and IVP had the privilege of leading Podium’s Series B in June of 2018. Eric is a graduate of BYU and former software engineer at the International Atomic Energy Agency. He co-founded Podium in 2014. Entered Y Combinator in January 2016, raised a Series A in 2017 and he hasn’t looked back since. Adam is a graduate of BYU as well and was formerly the founder and CEO of a customer feedback platform that was successfully acquired. He had joined Podium in January of 2016. Welcome, Eric and Adam. Thanks for joining us today. Let’s start off by briefly explaining what Podium is in plain English. So maybe the first question, who buys your software and why?
Eric: Yes, that’s a good question. We started out selling to a single location local businesses like tire shops, dentists, doctors, car dealerships. We said that’s still who buys our product today. What’s happened over the last few years is we’ve realized that there are really, really, big local businesses as well, and so now we have customers like massive hospital groups that have hundreds of hospitals throughout the United States. We have car dealership groups that have hundreds and hundreds of car dealerships across the United States and Europe. And so that’s kind of the mix of who we sell to.
Adam: Like Eric mentioned we, we started selling to individual locations and we, we never really set out in the early days to say hey we’re going to go start selling to massive organizations. We just started to be organically pulled up into larger and larger footprints. You know, we’d go sell to two or three car dealerships and the product just works so well that you know, three months later the corporate office would call us and say, hey we want to buy this for every single one of our dealerships. And so, it started, you know, where we start, you know, we would get a company with 50 locations and then a hundred, and you know like Eric said, now we have customers with thousands of locations and international footprints and that mix is now really, really, even.
Tom: And why were they buying this software. What does it do for these local businesses?
Eric: So, it, it actually makes these businesses feel like a modern business to a consumer. So, we haven’t, we call ourselves an interaction platform and what that means is we make the experience between a customer who wants to maybe do business with you. We make that seamless and convenient for both the consumer and the business. We help that experience once you become a customer, and then we help make it easy to become a return customer. And then we also help internally at these businesses, we help the interactions between employees and their managers and make sure that basically they have the technology to compete in the modern economy. Because when we first started Podium we realized, I mean our main, our main thesis was that local wasn’t going away. It was actually going to speed up, and increase as time goes on. And they didn’t have the technology to compete in the modern economy.
So the whole reason we started Podium is my dad owned a tire shop when I was growing up, and because I worked at the tire shop and had firsthand experience of my dad running it, I realized that there is this massive problem of these local businesses not having good technology to run their business. And that seemed like crazy because I knew that it wasn’t a small market. I knew there were millions and millions of businesses like my dad’s and a lot bigger businesses like Adam talked about that… that didn’t serious, didn’t have the technology to run a business in the 21st century. So first started out Podium by helping them solve what we thought was the biggest problem they faced which was discovery. We just noticed that as a consumer when you when you need to get your carpets cleaned or go to the hospital or buy a car, you go online, and you find something that’s local and close to you, but then you use reviews to make your purchase decision. And we have Amazon to thank for basically programming every consumer in the world to make decisions off of reviews. And so, the first thing we did is, we built this product that made it so easy for a business to get a review on a site that consumers use like Google or Facebook right in the moment through mobile. And that was our first product. And it was probably one of the best, fastest paths to product market fit that I think a lot of investors that we have, have seen. It just became a fantastic product to sell and… and provided a ton of value to our customers from day one.
Tom: Why did these businesses like having reviews? Is it just an ego thing or can they tie it to some ROI in their business and how does Podium enable that?
Adam: A lot of reasons including what both that you just mentioned there, and actually it’s funny it is an ego thing I remember when we launched our competitive product a few years, or their competitive feature where they could benchmark themselves against five, you know if you’re deep- a car dealership pick five dealerships around you and the GM, and the sales managers just loved and became obsessed with that little feature. So that’s part of it, but ultimately people come to us and they… they believe and know and can see very quickly and ROI around reviews open up the top of the funnel for them. And all of these discovery sites, you know they’re spending all of this money on advertising, and ultimately that’s just going to drive consumers to research them online. And if you look poorly there, they just inherently know that people aren’t going to convert, they’re not going to they’re not going to come into the store. They’re not going to try and contact your sales reps. And so that’s what kind of drives, and it’s an emotional thing. You know you talk to any business owner, and they’ll tell you about the last negative review that they received. And you know from the early days, you know these… these people we sell to they’re trained to sell cars and fill cavities, and you know install solar panels. They aren’t marketing experts. When you say, hey this will help you unlock the top of the funnel for them, they don’t really even know what that means. They just know they need more inbound customer leads. And then once they get someone in the shop, they know how to take it from there, and that’s what that reviews product is, has always done. It does it better than really any other marketing spend that they do.
Eric: And in the early days I’ll just add on, when we were first raising money, we actually found it hard to make, to help investors make that connection that reviews were so important. So one thing we did, as a way to make that connection for them, is we talk to them about that, that website that used to be kind of popular called The Funded. You remember that Tom?
Tom: Oh yeah.
Eric: Yeah. So, we’d be like, hey how does how Accel look on The Funded in every part of the book. Oh, that website sucks somebody you know they just they leave a better view, and you don’t fund them it’s not because we’re bad and then we’re like yeah. So think about how you feel about your presence on The Funded and then that’s how local business owners feel about their presence on Google and Facebook and then what makes this problem even more complicated and complex is there are like 15 sites depending on what vertical you’re in that you have to actually show up and have a presence on.
Tom: So, you help by getting these reviews, and you started off as you said helping your dad do this with his tire shop. At some point, you decided to raise some money, and you applied to Y Combinator. Why did you do that and ultimately why did you decide to move to the Bay Area for a period of time?
Eric: Yeah, so like we said we started with this very simple product that solved a really important problem for these businesses. And what we realized really quickly was, yeah reviews are super important, it helps, it helps open up the marketing funnel or the lead funnel for these businesses it’s the, it’s the first point of, of discovery for most of these businesses, but there is so much more to solve for these businesses like the communication with leads was huge, the communication with their customers, the how to schedule appointment, how to collect a payment, how to communicate internally with your employees. Like we realized when we would go into these, our customer’s businesses and see how they ran their business. Like Adam said, they’re amazing at fixing cars and filling cavities and selling homes or doing surgeries, but they’re not good at all of these other things that make a business successful. And so, we realized that the problem that we could solve was about 100 times bigger than just this review’s problem. And so, once we realized that, we knew we need to raise capital because we knew this is a big problem that somebody was going to solve it and be a winner. And then we applied for Y Combinator because we had been a Paul Graham disciple ever since we started Podium. It was the reason we knew from the beginning, the reason we focused on products so much is because we read Paul Graham essays and that’s all he talks about is like just go build something people love and then try and get into as many people’s hands as possible. And so, when the opportunity came up to go to Y Combinator, we, we applied, we flew out. We were sitting in the room. My co-founder Dennis and I at Y Combinator and we were, we were sitting in a room with a bunch of other companies that were there to interview. And the guys on our right were M.I.T., electrical engineers, were working on some A.I. thing. The guys on our left were from the Russian version of M.I.T., and other guys were from Stanford across the table, and we’re like, oh yeah, we’re from Utah, and we went to BYU, and though there’s no way we’re getting in. And so, we went and did our interview got out and kind of like right before we boarded the plane to go back to Utah, I got a call from the partner there, Aaron Harris, and he said you guys are in. We want you to come out. And it was a no brainer for us. And so, then we moved out we moved our entire engineering and product team out to the Bay Area for three months and lived in a house together. And it was a fantastic time where we really accelerated the product.
Tom: So ultimately you had this founding team. And I think it was January 2016 or so maybe you brought on Adam onto the team and Adam had some operating experience. So, I just would love to hear a little bit about the relationship between a CEO and a President at a startup and also just how you two met and how you know, how you made the decision Eric to bring Adam on?
Eric: Yeah so this… this was like the real turning point for Podium. So, Adam and I got introduced through one of our seed investors from Utah. We went to lunch at this barbecue place. I remember it vividly because Adam was wearing a visor, which I had never seen I hadn’t seen somebody wear one in person for years and years and years. And we make fun of him for it to this day.
Adam: Oh no way. They made fun of me behind my back for about a year or so before they finally came clean and admitted that they’d been making fun of me, but I thought I looked awesome.
Eric: We called him Visor Guy for about the first six months that we knew. Anyway, we met Adam and we hit it off right from the get-go because Adam’s experience was in this this customer experience company that he had started and run for about seven years and it was very closely tied to what we were doing, but we had such a unique twist on it that I think it intrigued Adam as well. And so, we met in June of 2015 and then we just kind of got his advice for about six months, and he attended a board meeting, I remember. And then you know later in 2015 he approached us and said, “Guys I think you have a winner here and I want to help you guys build this.” And it was a no brainer for us. We said we were like, this is fantastic. Adam has the experience, he has the go-to market knowledge. He has a finance background like let’s do this. And I think the reason we’ve always been so open to, to welcome experts that have way more experience than us into Podium is because we really do believe that this can be a… a fifty billion dollar company, hundred billion dollar company. We think that this problem is so big, and you know that it makes up 38 percent of the GDP. So, we’re not lying when we say it’s a huge opportunity but, we’re so confident in that that we realized we needed experts that knew more than us, that had experience and things that we didn’t, to make it work. And so, Adam joined and basically 2016 was the transition of Podium from a good product with an okay go to market motion, to a good product with an amazing go to market motion. And I would say that is, that’s made all the difference.
Tom: Adam, what does a President do at a high growth startup?
Adam: Yeah, that’s a good question. You know maybe it’s, it’s, it’s good to even rewind to you know how I came into the company you know I never, I never thought I’d work at a company I didn’t start myself. And you know of all of the hundreds of entrepreneurs I’ve, I’ve met over the years I never once ever considered that. But what I think made it work and what kind of allowed us to figure out these two roles over the last few years is Eric and Dennis were always super humble. When I joined full time actually none of us really even had titles, it was kind of a hey let’s figure this thing out. And the way that’s evolved you know to answer the question is you know I spend my time, you know more on the go-to market side. I’ve got a master’s in accounting although I never actually had a job as an accountant, so I’ve always kind of able to help out and kind of finance side and maybe you know a bit of the legal stuff that I’d seen before. And but there’s then, Eric got this like crazy, passion about the vision and where we’re going and the product and this drive for perfection and this like unrelenting will that you know, you can’t fake that. You can’t bring in someone from the outside and fake that. And so, you know that’s just what’s driven it over the last few years, and you know there’s honestly been parts of the different departments or different areas of the business that depending on how the other areas are going we’ve kind of passed back and forth to each other. So it’s still, it’s still a fluid relationship.
Eric: Just, just this week we, we have transitioned our business development function from reporting directly to me to reporting to Adam because we’ve, it was really product focused for the last two years and we realized this week that it’s now very, very connected to our go-to-market motion and it fits better in Adam’s, Adam’s part of the business. So, we just made that switch and everybody’s, everybody’s open to that. We tell everybody on the executive team and in the entire company that we’re still figuring things out and this is a dynamic fluid organization. And so, I think that’s been hugely positive for us.
Adam: Yeah and it just works from day one because Eric’s never had an ego about it like and I don’t think, you know, I came in with any high expectations around titles or roles or I need to have this kind of an office or this type of package, just any of that kind of stuff. He was like, hey let’s just go build something really cool, we’ll figure this out together, and it’s… it’s just been, it’s been awesome.
Tom: So much of the Podium story is about product market fit. So, I’d love to turn to that topic. You used a really, small amount of capital I think just under three million dollars to get to that magical 10 million of run rate revenue of ARR in a very short period of time. Was that explicitly intentional? Did you both sit down in a room and say, hey we don’t want to raise lots of venture capital. You know we want it to be really efficient. We’re not going to burn anything or did, did it just happen organically? Was that an output?
Eric: Well I’ll, I’ll let Adam take this, but I’ll just start it off with, we didn’t know if we could raise venture capital in the early days. We knew we raised a little bit of money from some local seed funds in Utah like in 2000… late 2014 and we kind of felt like we did trick them in a lot of ways because it’s just me and Dennis in the spare bedroom of my apartment. And then I remember doing a couple of calls with some VC’s out of the Bay Area, and then I remember we had one, I think an analyst from Bessemer or something actually come to Utah, probably not for us but came to Utah and came up to our, our office that was in this attic of a bike shop. And the meeting went like horribly. And so we thought we don’t know if we’re going to be able to raise a ton more money and so we’ve always been very, very capital efficient.
Adam: And it was Eric talked about that first board meeting I remember going to in 2015 and you know I think the company was at four or five hundred thousand dollars of ARR but you could tell at the at the early, early onset that something was working here and you’ve seen this Tom, any investor has seen this but, you know there’s kind of different phases these startups go through of like that kind of getting zero to one million of proving product market fit then there’s kind of this one to five of building some go-to-market and then there’s five to 20 where you actually have to build a company around it. But that first zero to one is hard. And I remember in that board meeting in June of 15, and they are like four or five hundred, and I still remember they’re like we’re going to get to a million dollars by the end of this year. And I remember thinking like, oh yeah that’s a good goal but guys I mean you basically started at zero at the beginning of 15 to go from zero to one in a year is really rare and you only raised $500K so you know let’s… let’s see if that’s actually going to happen. But then it just, they zoomed past. I mean just to just to let you know how small the company was at that point. I remember when they were talking about those projections, and they said, we’re going to have this dip in July. And I remember asking, well what’s the dip? Is that like a seasonality thing? They said no, our sales guy is going out of town for 10 days. So, we’re just expecting a dip right there. Like that’s how small it was, but from the beginning for how fast that zero to one million was happening on such little cash burn was, was crazy and then ended up getting you know well beyond. I think you hit one million by September. Yeah, like zoomed past it. So, from the early, early days you could tell that that things were working really well.
Eric: We had one point eight but by the end of the year. So, we went … our goal is one, we hit one point eight. So, we thought, hey, something is working.
Tom: I remember meeting you all in the summer of 2016 after the introduction from Aaron at Y Combinator and you told me what your ARR was and what the projection was, and I actually just didn’t believe it. I said these guys are naive and you know obviously you guys crushed it and continued to beat your projections and IVP invested in June of 2018 and you know there’s nothing like a company that actually throws up aggressive numbers and then hits them. So, you know at IVP we have a just a ton of respect for that incredible product-market fit and the execution that’s enabled it. I’m curious though like at what point did you know you had product market fit? Was it, was it a qualitative thing? Was it a quantitative thing? Was it when you were at a million of ARR or 10? When did you start thinking, this is more than just like a little business you know that we can flip someday?
Eric: I think there’s two, two events that we, that I can remember in my mind where we kind of knew we had something. The first was really early on when it was still just the Dennis and myself in the spare bedroom of my apartment, and we had signed up probably 30 businesses just in our area. We’d drive to the business and walk in and try and talk to the owner. So we signed about 30 businesses, and the reviews started coming in, and then we started getting emails from our customers saying, hey this is working. I had some lady drive down from 100 miles away on the weekend and bought a car from my dealership, and she passed two other Honda dealerships on her way down, and the only reason she did that is she said that my online reviews were better than them. And that, so I remember that really, really vividly and thinking OK this is important to these businesses, it works, we have something.
Tom: How did you decide what to do after those reviews? We talked to a fair amount about that first product in the early days. I just want to now touch on as you started growing, how did you decide of all the things you could do on this platform next, what that next big product would be?
Eric: Yes. So that’s actually, leads into the second thing is when we realized that we could get businesses of ten thousand reviews on all the different sites that people were discovering them on. But if we didn’t help them actually convert those consumers into customers that we weren’t really going to be able to show them a full ROI of we weren’t going to be able to attribute what we were doing to… to their business. So, we realized that that was such a bigger problem. And then we just kind of took a chance right. Like I remember we just decided one day, we we’re probably at an offsite with our executive team. We thought we need to build a messaging platform. We need to build an interaction platform because that is really the big problem, that is not reviews like I said is, and today reviews is such a, it’s an important part of our business, but it’s really not the reason people buy or stay with Podium. The reason people buy and stay with Podium is because we help them get customers, and then we help them keep customers and we can prove that. So yeah that’s kind of the second event in my mind, and then we build it, and we started launching it to our customers, and again it was kind of that, that qualitative feedback where you launch something and people you know you don’t even know if people are going to want to use it. And this is before we had a chief product officer, this before we did a ton of research and had a research part of our product team. So, just launch it, and then you see what happens, and we started seeing these conversations happen between consumers and businesses, and we started seeing transactions happen. And that’s when we knew we had something.
Tom: That’s awesome. I want to turn now to talk about some things that you guys have done that are really different. There’s I would say at least two things about Podium that are really unconventional, and that’s not even counting the Canadian Slurpee machine in your lobby. First, you sell software to small businesses. Some are large and well-known, but many are pretty small. And a lot of folks in Silicon Valley would say unless you’re a self-serve product just don’t bother selling to anyone except a mid-market or large enterprise. How do you two react to that?
Adam: Yeah. Traditionally that is, that you know that’s the thinking. And you know theoretically, it actually makes sense. But what we found here is it actually is the complete opposite. You know we actually met with a really large company in the Bay Area this week that’s trying to, you know, add a self-service layer to what they’re doing, and they’re taking that same approach of we’ll simplify the product, we’ll make it so that you can sign up online and pay off the credit card and they will come, and this is going to be easy. What we have found, I mean you’d really have to like sit with one of our sales reps as they do a demo. But when you’re, when you especially for the- when we started out early when you know when we sell to the larger organizations today, it’s going to be from a more traditional enterprise sales cycle that you’re used to, where you’re selling to a CMO or a COO with a budget and you know you’re kind of running a sales process but when you’re selling into the GM or the owner of that business these people are running around all day long. They’re not in front of their computers, that they’re running 20 different trucks in their home services business. They’re you know, they’ve got employees all over the place getting them to sit and research a product that’s just not what they what’s, not what they do. You know a lot of their current spend before we find them is they just pay outsourced agencies and consultants to do all this for them and just hope that they’re acting in their best interest. And what we built here that is really unique is just an insanely efficient acquisition model from lead generation marketing perspective all the way through qualifying leads, getting appointments set and demoing the product that’s you know very laser-focused kind of on the math throughout each of those steps. And what we found is it’s really hard to sell the owner of a tire shop something unless you get that person on the phone and you have a chance to walk them through it and like I said unless you sit in a demo it’s, it’s hard to visualize it but you know you sit in on a demo with a tire shop owner, and he’ll interrupt you four times to answer his other line and say, “Yeah I’ve got those tires in stock, or I don’t”. Like that’s, that’s the day to day for these customers that we’re selling.
Tom: So, I think the next response from a typical Silicon Valley investor operator would be well what about churn? Isn’t churn just make this really unattractive?
Eric: Yeah. That’s all that’s also the common thought, right. Oh, you’re, well you can sell SMB’s, but you can’t keep them like they go out like SMBs is go to business at a rate that’s higher than you would want your software churn rate to be so. We also have a completely opposite view of that, and our experience proves it. So, our retention is fantastic. We’ve figured out the businesses that will be lifetime customers, and we figured out the ones that are probably a little too small to support the price of Podium.
And then we’ve just been laser-focused on the ones that are, that are good targets for us. And then the most important thing is our product actually works like the product does the thing the business needs to get taken care of. And so, if we’re doing that and we’re making them more money, there’s no reason for them to ever cancel.
Tom: So, in terms of breaking convention, as I can attest, you’re located in Lehi, Utah which is a place I’m sure a lot of our listeners have never heard of. And there are many investors in the valley who say they won’t get on a plane. So can you tell us a little about Lehi and Utah more generally and why it’s the right place for Podium?
Adam: Yeah so Lehi, Utah is right smack dab in the middle of Salt Lake City where the University of Utah is located in Provo, Utah where BYU is located.
So it’s become kind of this little tech hub. It’s where the Adobe headquarters is here. Oracle has moved here. You’ve got us, Domo. And Structure just put another building here, a Pluralsite is coming here. It’s become really the tech hub of the community, and you know just Utah, in general, has just become an amazing ecosystem to start a business. When I think back to 15 years ago when I started my first one you know there was very few companies to kind of look up to and pattern match off of, you know, you think, now this, this ecosystem has been built you know first by maybe Novell and Word Perfect and then you had companies like Omniture and Altera come along and then recent you know big successes like Pluralsite, like Qualtrics, like Domo, and Structure – have created just this great ecosystem where whether it’s developers, product people, salespeople marketers, there’s now just this amazing workforce that’s done and seen a few things before. And then you’ve got great universities that are you know putting out really good, smart, hungry graduates that you know we can pull into a company like Podium and teach him a number of different things.
Eric: Yeah. And then I’ll I’ll just three things. I’m not from Utah. Like I said before I’m from Canada and there’s three things that stick out to me. Number one, cost of living is just incredible.
I have taught whenever I go to dinners in the Bay Area with other tech companies I tell them how much I paid for my five bedroom home with a two car garage and they just like faint because it’s how much they are, they paid for a studio apartment. So that’s fantastic. So low cost of living, high quality of life. We’re next to the four of the best ski resorts in the world and arguably the best snow in the world, so we’re 30 minutes from Snowbird. So we’ve kind of have a rule that if it snows more than two feet like you’re kind of okay to go get a couple laps at a resort before coming in in the afternoon.
And that’s amazing. This is an amazing place to be that I don’t think exists anywhere. And then the third thing is, we’re next to so many national parks. It’s just, it’s just the nature here, the mountain biking is incredible.
Tom: Do you feel like the perception of Utah has changed just in the last few months or years are you guys getting more inbound either from talent or venture capitalists or bankers?
Eric: That was actually my third point.
We, I would say out of the last five senior hires we’ve made four of them have had multiple Bay Area candidates who have reached out because they’re burnt out of the Bay Area. They can’t afford a home for their family and they want to move somewhere where they can own a home, be close to their kids, get up to the ski resorts, and Utah is a perfect place for that.
So yeah we’ve seen a ton of action there, and then we’ve seen a huge influx and like banks moving here, investors putting offices here. So yeah I think it’s huge.
Tom: Hey guys thanks so much. It’s a really inspiring story. I also just loved the early product market fit and the fact that you guys did things a little bit differently and just figured it out as you went along and have built an incredible business. I really just want to thank you for taking some time today to be on the IVP’s Hyper-Growth Podcast. For anyone interested in learning more about Podium, please visit Podium.com. Thanks again guys and thanks everybody for listening.
Narrator: Thank you for listening to IVP’s Hyper-Growth Podcast. You can learn more about us on IVP.com or join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting @IVP.