On December 1st, Microsoft acquired 18-month-old Acompli for $200 million dollars. The company was one of the first in the Heavybit clubhouse and founder Javier Soltero has also been an avid advisor and speaker on the Heavybit stage on everything from board meetings to making your first million. In addition to a massive exit, Soltero’s company was also named one of the Most Capital Efficient VC-Backed Tech Exits of the year. We caught up with Soltero and asked him where he prioritized his spending and staff resources prior to the Microsoft acquisition.
Soltero’s list of priorities included:
- Hiring: Seems obvious, but you can have a great idea, and without enough of the right people to make it happen you won’t get anywhere. We worked with a recruiting team I had worked with in my previous company, and also used Hired.com to combine networks and get maximum reach in our recruiting efforts. More than the product, I am most proud of the team we built.
- M&A: Early on we acquired a company called Circle38. The three guys from there wound up being an integral part of making a great product and building a great team. The Circle38 team initially came in as consultants to help us build the iOS app, but our plan all along was to figure out how to get them to fall in love with the company and the product and want to join us full time. They did, and it made a huge difference.
- Beta program: One of the biggest challenges of building an email client is the fact that even getting the basics right requires real world testing that no QA program can match. You need a broad range of people with a diverse set of email usage patterns. We got this by engaging first with friends and family and then later by running an extended, invite-only beta program. It was priceless.
- Remote Resources: Our testing and customer success functions are staffed using some amazingly talented, hourly remote workers who give us cost effective scale in two critical functions. Odesk & Testlio (which we learned about through the Keen.io team) were and are a critical part of how a small team has been able to get to this scale quickly and cost effectively.