The secret start-up playbook says that start-ups raise money. Lots of money, and often far earlier than they need it. At Promoboxx, we’ve done things differently.
In 2010, we raised a bit of money (approx. $2 million) and focused on finding great customers, all while growing capital as efficiently as possible. With today’s announcement of an $8.2 million investment, you might be thinking: What makes you ready now?
We’re ready for three reasons:
- Our market is ready.
- Our team is ready.
- I’m ready.
1. The Market
Promoboxx makes it incredibly easy for leading manufacturing brands like GE Appliances or Trek Bicycles to support the local retailers who sell their products with digital marketing. When we first called, brands would say, “Our retailers aren’t ready.” They were right.
Six years ago, the market was different – Baby Boomers still dominated local retail, and they were stuck in the ways of traditional marketing (TV, radio, print). Lots of money would not have helped to change this.
Now, retail has evolved and transitioned to a new generation of Millennials, all ready for new ways to meaningfully connect with local retailers.
Fast forward to today, and brands are now calling us. They tell us that their retailers need digital marketing support, and they are asking for something called “Promoboxx”… This market is ready.
2. The Team
Six years after our founding, Promoboxx co-founders Dan Koziak, Sonciary Honnoll, Jamie Fiedler, and I are all still leading the company. We’ve had great people join us along the way, but our founding base has been incredibly consistent.
We’ve done some great things, made mistakes, and taken the time to grow up together and establish the Promoboxx culture we have established today. If we raised money earlier, we would have been pressured too soon and diluted that all-important culture.
The team today is a battle-tested founding core, complemented by 30+ newcomers from the likes of Facebook, Vistaprint, BizUnite, Iron Mountain, and more.
The same team who built the company – who took the early risks to join – were the people I turned to for support in this round, and they provided that and more. This team is ready.
It’s incredibly self-centered to discuss this fundraising decision from my perspective, but if there was one decision that I was in complete control of, it was this.
As a profitable and growing company, the choice to take on more risk is never clear. I kept thinking back to a high school art teacher of mine. She would challenge my projects by saying they were nice, yet too small, saying, “Show us what you can do on a bigger canvas!” I didn’t understand what she meant at the time. I do today.
If the beginnings of Promoboxx were an art project, it was nice but small. With this round and opportunity, we’ll all get to see Promoboxx on a much larger canvas.
So, why did we raise capital today? Because this market, this team, and this CEO are ready.