It’s hard out there in the startup world, but a great idea, serious hustle, and the ability to wow investors (with all the knowledge you can muster) will help you turn your dream into reality. SalesLoft is a great startup fairytale we’ve been following over the last few years – recently landing $10M in venture capital and upping their staff to over 70 employees. We wanted to hear about their success and share some of their life pro tips, so we sat down with the CEO and Founder to hear how their story unfolded.
Kyle Porter is the prince charming behind SalesLoft, a sales development software company hoping to grow into a billion-dollar Atlanta Unicorn. What we loved so much about Porter was his repeated emphasis on company culture – it’s not everyday that you find a company buying drones for the largest software event in San Francisco, or rotating a Porsche 911 to the top sales rep of the month.
“Sure, we want to be a billion-dollar company, but that’s an external scorecard (cue Warren Buffet for more on this). The internal scorecard is to change the lives of our people and to change the fabric of the Atlanta tech industry.” SalesLoft is well on their way with investors Tom Noonan and David Cummings on their side – not to mention the countless others making the company the best it can be.”
“At the end of the day we build a software product for sales people – they are left with the product so we have to leave that product right and tight. We didn’t want an investor who didn’t believe in this market. We ultimately went with someone who believed in sales development and believed that running a business culture first was the best way to be successful.”
While they are a shining symbol of success, a burning question in the back of our minds was how they got there (and from a founder’s perspective no less). “You have to get past the startup 101 – educate yourself and interact with others – you have to come by as knowledgeable, and not a waste of time to investors. Angels are here in Atlanta; you just need to get into the network. Having a great idea and building relationships will help you get there – just make sure you do your homework. Your vision, mission, and core values need to be hammered in so your story makes sense. Having a great business, with metrics that show a great business is key. Paint the future and know the market better than your investors.”
Porter has no plans to move SalesLoft out of Atlanta. When asked about any relocation pressure from non-GA investors, he made it clear that the option was off the table during any negotiations. “We wouldn’t even consider it. From day one with this business, we knew it was an Atlanta business. Our core mission is to be an Atlanta Unicorn – it crumbles our entire identity to leave. What we’ve done, Ionic has done, FullStory has done – this is what Atlanta needs – startups that bring investors here. We are Atlanta through and through.”
If you can’t tell by now, Porter’s love for the Atlanta startup community runs deep. To support the next wave of tech talent SalesLoft is giving $25k to be the exclusive sponsor of Georgia Tech’s AKPsi and Startup Exchange over the next year – underwriting the 3-Day Startup (3DS) and Round One events. The goal at 3DS, is to break down the perceived barrier of entry to the startup world and inspire the unique talents and passion of students. Fifty students interested in taking the leap into the startup world were selected to spend a weekend building a company hands-on, all while surrounded by talented advisors.
“We love that this program is being run by entrepreneurs and for entrepreneurs, while leveraging the resources of Georgia Tech. We’ve also witnessed first-hand the great entrepreneurs this program has put out into the startup community and were compelled to help them however we could. I’ll personally be providing talks, tours of the office, and advisory. Many others on our team will make themselves available for mentoring young entrepreneurs. With startup exchange and the startup fraternity, this community will grow and prosper.”
Be on the lookout for more news on SalesLoft. In the meantime, follow them: