Thomas Cottereau - SightCall

SightCall: The Long Road to Building a Scalable Enterprise SaaS – with Thomas Cottereau [394]

SightCall: The Long Road to Building a Scalable Enterprise SaaS

Thomas Cottereau is the co-founder and CEO of SightCall, a cloud-based platform that helps enterprises provide remote visual support for complex customer issues.

In 2008, Thomas was working as a telecom engineer when he and his friend had an idea. They wanted to create a solution that could bridge the gap between the world of telecommunications and the internet.

So, they started working on what would eventually become SightCall, spending their evenings in his friend's basement to bring their vision to life.

They bootstrapped the company for 3 years, creating a prototype in just 4 months. However, building a scalable, enterprise-ready platform took 5 challenging years.

In 2012, Thomas started showing up at Salesforce's San Francisco office every week, determined to get a meeting. Despite facing repeated rejections, he persisted until he finally secured the meeting he was after.

Their prototype and unique approach impressed Salesforce, leading to a pivotal partnership that helped them land HP as their first major customer.

Using SightCall, HP could remotely guide customers through printer issues, fixing problems without dispatching technicians or handling returns, saving millions in product returns.

But getting to this point was no easy feat. It took years of hard work, constantly improving the product, and never giving up. And even after landing HP, it was just the beginning of the challenges they would face.

As SightCall grew, they encountered numerous obstacles. Legal issues forced them to rebrand, sales and marketing teams clashed, and the pressure to scale rapidly intensified after raising significant funding.

Today, SightCall is an 8-figure ARR business serving hundreds of global enterprise customers with a 100-person team. They've raised $54M to date.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • How Thomas and his co-founder identified a gap in the market and built a product to bridge the gap between telecom and software.
  • How partnerships with major companies like Salesforce helped SightCall land key customers and drive significant growth in the early stages.
  • The challenges SightCall faced when forced to rebrand due to legal issues and how they turned it into an opportunity for improvement.
  • Why raising substantial funding can create intense pressure to grow quickly and how to manage the challenges that come with it.
  • How Thomas takes care of his mental and physical well-being as a founder and the importance of having ways to manage stress.

I hope you enjoy it!


Click to view transcript

This is a machine-generated script.

[00:00:00] Omer: Thomas, welcome to the show.

[00:00:01] Thomas: Hi, Omer.

[00:00:02] Omer: Do you have a favorite quote, something that inspires or motivates you that you can share with us?

[00:00:07] Thomas: Yes, absolutely. The one that I really is one image is worth a thousand words.

[00:00:12] Omer: Why is that important to you?

[00:00:14] Thomas: Because that's the. fundamental sentence that I used to build cycle, right?

[00:00:21] So we are in a world where today there's too many what I call blind communications, where you try to explain, what's going on, what is in front of you, what's your problem, what, where it should be so much easier if you could show this one picture. And collaborate with vision rather than again, just text or words.

[00:00:43] So really like this sentence, and I think it's absolutely true. Try to describe, any type of image. It'll really require over a thousand words.

[00:00:53] Omer: So tell us about SightCall. What does the product do? Who's it for, and what's the main problem you're helping to solve?

[00:01:01] Thomas: Yeah, we are, cloud software.

[00:01:03] So what we deliver is an enterprise solution to help see and analyze on guide remotely. So what does it mean? It means that in a lot of different service circumstances, which can be customer service or feed service, you have some tasks to be done remotely. Rather than having just, again, this text or voice communication, we bring vision into the process.

[00:01:36] So typically, for example, you have a problem with your coffee machine or your washing machine. You contact the vendor and they will send you a link to your smartphone. You click on the link, it starts the back camera of your phone, and you can show. What the problem is on the remote customer service agent has some augmentation, augmented reality to explain you what to do on the which part, to remove what, to zoom in, and really guide you to the repression process.

[00:02:09] Or even if you cannot repair it, for example, identify which part needs to be replaced and lead you to the right troubleshooting. Through this visual component that is is provided by SightCall.

[00:02:20] Omer: So if I understood this correctly, if I was using a company that was providing support through SightCall, let's say maybe the Icemaker in my freezer has broken and this person, I'm showing them with my camera, my, my phone.

[00:02:36] The ice maker. And with the ar that would actually, let me see as well, like specific, if they're talking about a specific part of that mechanism, the AR kind of highlights that. And I can see that too as a customer in terms of Oh, that's the thing he's talking about ex.

[00:02:52] Thomas: Exactly. So think about it as a two-way collaboration.

[00:02:56] On one side, there's this customer service agent. Who, usually would see it in a contact center and cycle is integrated with all of these cloud contact center solutions on the CRM solution that it would use. So just by one click they would see the, the streaming of your camera directly into their contact center solution.

[00:03:17] And they have some advanced command that they can use through cycle Yes. To guide you. On your phone, so directly over your phone, that's where you're gonna see this augmentation. For example, if they ask you to remove this part of the ice maker, then they can, put a screwdriver on, show you that the screwdriver should go there.

[00:03:40] And that's the one thing that you need to remove there to get it out. So it's really all of these, visual guidance that they can provide to you as, the end customer there directly on, on your phone.

[00:03:53] Omer: Yeah. Love it. Who are your customers? Who are some of the companies that are using SightCall today?

[00:03:58] Thomas: So we have around 200 enterprise customers. Usually it's, global organization, very big brands manufacturing in field service, we have companies like GE Healthcare that would use SCO every day when they have a problem to, for the maintenance or installation on this MRI machine in the hospital, it can be also more consumer service brands like your, you mentioned your fridge with the ice maker.

[00:04:27] If you have a whirlpool. The use cycle every day to help customers fix problem remotely there.

[00:04:33] Omer: And can you give us a sense of the size of the business? Where are you in terms of revenue size of team, and so on?

[00:04:41] Thomas: Think about it this way. 200 global enterprise customers, a hundred people in the team.

[00:04:47] We don't disclose our revenue, but we are in the eight digit numbers. And it's really a global organization that's one of our characteristic as well. So I'm based here in the San Francisco Bay area. Headquarter is, but I started the company in France. We have teams on the offices, from Boston to London to Germany up to Singapore.

[00:05:11] So we really delivered this service at scale for large organization. And also what's very important in the way we build this platform is the fact that it can deliver. A high quality service for people all over the globe. So typically, you know the contact center that you are reaching out to, even if you are.

[00:05:33] In the Philippines. So it's very important that the connectivity and the optimization that we've built here across this global platform can provide this high quality of service between the Philippines and where you are right now.

[00:05:46] Omer: Cool. Okay, so let's go back to. 2008, you are in Paris when you founded this business and for the first three years you didn't raise any money.

[00:06:02] You bootstrapped the business. So firstly, where did the idea for this come from?

[00:06:12] Thomas: So where the idea came from I'm a telecommunication engineer. Studied telecommunication and studied my career at uni. So UNT was at this time, at the end of the nineties the biggest internet service provider in the world.

[00:06:30] We were literally building the infrastructure of the internet on carrying over 40% of the world internet traffic globally. So we were really, the internet pioneers had the chance to even work with some of the founders of the internet. Very technical team, building all of the infrastructure.

[00:06:49] I was leading Southern Europe engineering group there. And we were working with all of the European team as well as the US team on continuing all of this expansion at a time where the, the bandwidth requirements was so high that we had to literally double the size of the network every three months.

[00:07:09] So it was really a race of building, changing of the technology, finding the new solutions to be able to continue to deliver the service that everybody was discovering. So that was really a kind of a very intense time. Up to the and I was, at unit doing the dot coms and the very exact exciting time as well.

[00:07:32] We saw the internet traffic literally exploding. And then a couple of views in a row. We were acquired by MCI WorldCom. So if you remember, MCI, Whatcom was a very large, telco on the acquired unit to make unit their new internet arm. And it was a cultural shock when we were acquired because we were the internet guys on, our life was internet.

[00:07:59] Were going at lightning speed and we're, working night on days on building all of this cool technology where, mC Whatcom was a very typical telco where everything was siloed, segmented. That was a new world where they say, all now you're gonna have to work this way.

[00:08:16] You're gonna have to get big project. I remember even one of the first big project that my new boss asked me to work on was to merge the data network of MCI WorldCom with uni. Walked on it and said, okay it's gonna be a two year project, so take your team, welcome back, get it done on the show me the progress.

[00:08:37] Came back less than six months later. It was done on, when I showed the result, he said, no, that's not possible. Said it's done. It's here. And I still remember this feedback that was, oh. You guys have to slow down, which was Yeah. Was really, at this time for me to say oh, I think there's a problem there.

[00:08:59] Right? There's a serious cultural shock. I think that's the other way that you guys have to understand that the internet is gonna go way faster and we will not slow down, but you guys have to speed up, and then, I took out a project that was interesting was at the beginning of voiceover IP out of the communication, going through the internet.

[00:09:21] I worked a lot on the, launching two project new project there until the time where we went chapter 11. MC Whatcom was one of the I think still today, one of the. Three biggest fraud in history and the OCO went to jail and everything froze, right when you're in chapter 11.

[00:09:42] I didn't even know what chapter 11 was. I was in Paris. So that in the news, okay, what is, then you Google it. What is chapter even? So, and then, get, getting through all of this. . With some of my teammates that it was time to, to change the dynamic there to build a new type of infrastructure that could deliver real time communication services to the world without being trapped in a, a tel telco type of behavior.

[00:10:18] At this time I was still missing some experience, right? Because I was really in tech on the deep engineering. I never grew up. A business. So I joined the CEO of an an interesting company that was based in France who was providing software development and consulting for telcos and enterprise small company at this time, around 40 people.

[00:10:44] And I knew the CEO and he told me, I told him my story. And say I want to learn. I want to learn business, right? Because my goal is to start my own company and I miss this spot. And it was great. He say, all take your first sales guy and go for it. So we had a good five years there that I spent with them.

[00:11:07] Literally we grew from 40 people to 450 people. Company was cash positive great success learned a lot. And then came the time where I thought, okay I've learned enough now. And I can go back to this initial idea that we've had to transform the communication world with technology.

[00:11:29] And I started to work with one of my friend from school. We worked with me at two unit on MC Whatcom and we started to design, the platform on what it should be and how it should work literally in his basement every night. Until, we had the true pillars that were designed.

[00:11:49] One of them was the fact that we absolutely wanted to be fully virtualized. Where on, think about it, in 2007. Where you could not do any enterprise communication without deploying a lot of hardware, right? So we didn't want any hardware dependency, so we thought it, it'll be a software play, we gonna virtualize all of the real time communication work.

[00:12:19] The second one was more about the fact that now that we were. Virtualized on the internet, we did not have any more silos or barriers between the media where, you know, with a telco you have a voice channel that disconnected on, its only voice you have then a text, it's Sunday text, or there was a revolution when they introduced MMS on top of SMS.

[00:12:45] You can maybe send a picture in your text message. Wonderful, thank you. Took them five years.

[00:12:53] Omer: I remember when that was a big deal. The MMS communication,

[00:12:57] Thomas: but that was done, the telco way again, five years, massive hundreds of millions of investment, et cetera to do it.

[00:13:05] Where,

[00:13:07] Omer: so I'm curious, as you were thinking about. Designing this business, did you know, were you already clear about the product in terms of what SightCall was gonna become, or was this more about we wanna build a business, we know it's in the, in this space, this is the kind of problem we wanna solve.

[00:13:30] How much clarity do you have about exactly what that idea was gonna be At that point,

[00:13:34] Thomas: it was not a hundred percent clear, right on the exact problem that we would solve in the future. What was clear is that we were bridging a big technology gap between telecommunication and software. On how to use it, on how to, what our go to market would be.

[00:13:54] That was actually the third pillar that we've designed where we thought that our go to market should start by a ps. So it's very engineering style where we thought, Hey, let's provide a platform that can connect. With all of the other enterprise software solution to deliver these capabilities to the enterprise through them, with them.

[00:14:23] So that's why our go to market was we've got all of these features of these capabilities. Now that we broke all of the, the barriers between all of this media. Out of these things we can aggregate. That was the beginning where we say, Hey, why not adding, video on top of voice with screen sharing, but any type of data.

[00:14:44] And that's where we started to play with augmented reality with a lot of things that we can also use through the same channel, because we did not have any con constraint anymore. So that was more of a discovery of everything we could do. Not that we unleash all of these capabilities, but to be honest with you.

[00:15:04] I was not a hundred percent clear on the exact problem that we would solve for the enterprise market at the end.

[00:15:10] Omer: Yeah, as I hear you talking about it, it definitely sounds like a very techie approach, that we have this great technology, we can make this technology better and let's find a problem.

[00:15:26] That this technology will solve as opposed to, what we hear about these days and the Lean startup staff about talk to customers, find a problem, and then build a solution. You guys were very solution driven, looking for the problem, right?

[00:15:40] Thomas: Yes, we were very solution driven. In term of the problem, we knew a lot of problem because all of these.

[00:15:48] Enterprise, and again, we're focused on enterprise since day one. And that's my word. I've never done any solution for consumers. So we knew that everybody was struggling with, getting enterprise product that can make all of these collaboration features with all of the visual component part of it.

[00:16:07] Available through their software ecosystem, in their infrastructure without having to, deploy massive equipments in there, et cetera. So that was a true problem that everybody was facing, but the value of it, the exact, model on use case, on the day to day that when I gave you the example with your icemaker, no, it was not clear back in the day.

[00:16:32] Omer: Yeah. Okay. You what I wanna try to figure out is like, you are bootstrapping the business so you don't have, unlimited funds or millions of dollars to go and invest in this business. You are targeting enterprise, which means it's not, a weekend minimum viable product that you're gonna go and sell to somebody on Monday.

[00:16:54] How did you get started? What was that first version of the product? How long did it take you to build? But more importantly, like how long did it take for you to find that exact problem that you were gonna go and solve?

[00:17:10] Thomas: It took us literally four months to get a prototype that worked where we could, demo our vision through software.

[00:17:23] The hard part of it was to build a true platform that would scale globally under these enterprise ready. And that took us five years. I did not anticipate five years, right? Which is a big gap between four months and five years, as you can imagine of your life. It's not the same story. So why did it take so much time is because there were so many, changes that we had to overcome to make the right solution for the enterprise market.

[00:17:54] And we were really combining this towards the telecommunication on the software that did not communicate together. That did not work together in the past. And so we hired some telecommunication engineers, some software developers, get them on the Sam, deck on working on the, in the Sam office every day.

[00:18:19] And even after several years, they were still not speaking the same language. So just to highlight the big, gap between these two industries that we were bridging. That was, yeah. Painful was long. So in, after three years of building the platform, we had, first POCs here and there on trying to test the market to see how to how to deliver our product.

[00:18:43] And that's where we raised our seed fund of round of funding.

[00:18:47] Omer: And when you got to that seed stage. Had, you did clearly define the problem. Now, like in terms of this is, the Sitecore Pro product that you told us about earlier.

[00:18:57] Thomas: We had some good ideas as you do in in seed.

[00:19:02] You have a good power points and you explained all of the problem that you could solve on the few POCs that are ongoing. Um.

[00:19:10] We started, to we used a bunker to find, some investors back in Paris. And, after a couple of months the bunker told us that that there, there was no response and it was not really, and didn't find any investors. So I was a bit upset with that. So I asked the bunker to, uh, let us do it by ourselves.

[00:19:30] And we've got it reached to a first investor there directly. There, there's a fun story there. I, I hope this investor would, not be mad if I if I share it with you, but it, I reached out to this guy I identified at one of the biggest fund in in France.

[00:19:47] The one guy that I saw had the perfect profile investing in in software in tech, and also having some understanding of the telecommunication. Background. So he was the, hey, that's the one guy I want to speak to this one. And even went through the same engineering school as we've been through before working in New York in the stock exchange.

[00:20:09] I have this stuff. So I dropped him an email, no answer two, email, no answer, three, email, no answer. So maybe after the number four or five I sent the last one and said, all right, I was not, and it was not a nice email. I literally was very pissed. I say, you're a prick, right? You could even answer my email on on that.

[00:20:30] That sucks. We, we've shared the same background. You could even, even if you're not interested in investing, we could go grab a beer on that would just be a, the right thing to do as a human, literal five minutes after he responded, said, oh, no, I'm sorry.

[00:20:45] So it really worked. It really worked. He told me we made a lot of fun about this story after, because he invested in the company. And it told me, Hey, I was really not used to receive this kind of email.

[00:20:58] Omer: Yeah, don't try that at home. Doesn't always work.

[00:21:01] Thomas: No. I cannot give that as, as a recommendation for everyone. But this time it worked.

[00:21:07] Omer: Three years you've been building this product. You get to the seed round, but even at that point, you don't really have, it's a prototype. You don't have a fully functioning product, you don't have any customers yet.

[00:21:23] What happens? How much money did you raise in the seed round and then how did things change?

[00:21:28] Thomas: So we raised the 1 million Euros and yeah, the expectation was to launch the product on Find Our Market. That's, it took us maybe another year to get everything lined up on the platform.

[00:21:40] Ready? Ready and then started to test the product with different prospect large companies, large software vendors to see their reaction. And that's where something interesting happened is I, I pitched the product to Oracle in Paris and they found it very interesting. I did not know why at this time, but I knew after that the person I pitched it to literally received two weeks before a study from his team that.

[00:22:16] Explain that in the state of the art of the technology at this time, what we've done was not possible. They asked me to, to go to meet with the team in the US and that's why I studied, the back and forward between the Silicon Valley on Paris on seeing, their reaction.

[00:22:33] I thought, Hey, I should try with the other vendors in the Bay Area. So I started to go and meet with the other ones, and I had also some very positive feedback on that, where the decision was made in 2013 that was at the end of 2012 that I would move to the US to launch a product from here.

[00:22:57] It was a, a big bet, say Hey, or go to market. Is gonna be with the large enterprise software vendors to provide the video assistance capability on top of the platform to their customers. And so that's where, I moved with my family. I have my wife on two kids, and we moved to the Bay Area in 2013 on launched a product from there.

[00:23:24] Omer: Tell me about your first customer. Who was that? And. How did you land that first, first customer?

[00:23:31] Thomas: So we started with one or two small ones, but the first big one was actually at this time, the biggest Salesforce customer on which sign it with Salesforce, which was hp and. hp with the printer division of hp.

[00:23:49] HP was the number one Salesforce customer. They had these executive meetings where they share their strategy, the problem where they would like to get some improvement to be done. And they shared this problem with Salesforce that was literally every year between 20 and 30% of the printers.

[00:24:10] That our customer would ship back to them because from the customer's perspective that did not work when they test them, they would work or have a very simple problem like a paper jam. So this, imagine we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollar of waste. In term of product return, refurbishment tests, providing a new printer to the customer, total mess.

[00:24:41] When they shared that with Salesforce, that's where say maybe let's bring, or partner at cycle in the loop. We joined, the meeting and we shared what we could do and they decided to move forward and we deployed s call in Salesforce Service Cloud into their contact center in different countries from India to Philippines, to latam and to provide this.

[00:25:07] I would say to empower the customer service agent to not only try to understand what the problem is, but also to see and guide the customer to its resolution and avoid a product return. It was a blast. It worked very well, and it really, opened up doors to others and that was the beginning of the success there.

[00:25:26] Omer: Yeah, that's great. HP great logo to to get early on. What I'm curious about is like, how did you become a Salesforce partner in the first place?

[00:25:37] Thomas: That's a good question. I think by, getting entered into their office every week. Seriously? Yeah, seriously. It's, I moved to the Bay Area for one reason because I wanted to work with these guys.

[00:25:51] I was committed to it. I say, alright. And they didn't have the big Salesforce tower yet, it was not here yet here in San Francisco, but they had big office, in one market every week. Yeah. I found, a couple of guys that I met, asked to introduce to others and blah, blah, blah.

[00:26:06] And every week I was there until I had this, presentation here in front of the team at Service Cloud who really saw the interest on who even shared with me after that. The demo that I showed them was something that they would even present at Dreamforce the same year. But as they didn't find a product that could do it in the cloud, they would hide some video equipment under the desk to make it a big show, as if everything was in the cloud, which it was, it, it was not, because again, they didn't have a solution.

[00:26:44] And when I showed them that it, the solution was there, then they say, oh, shit, actually there's one. That's how the kind of the partnership started. But they didn't, the very different from, this seed run story where it's all about slides here. It's all about something that really works.

[00:27:04] Remember after this meeting with service Cloud at Salesforce, they asked me for an API key. On the same day I even received an email by midnight the same day from this guy, lead the product engineer there, send me an email and say, okay, I tested everything. It works as you said, I don't believe it.

[00:27:23] Come to my office tomorrow.

[00:27:26] Omer: So it was that persistence of just not giving up, continuing to basically get in to, as whoever you could talk to. At Salesforce and I, I think it was a combination of that persistence and obviously the technology that you guys had built. Something that, everybody else thought, the technology wasn't there yet to be able to do that.

[00:27:49] Thomas: EE, exactly. Yeah. This five years of hard work. And trust me, we're not playing golf. Uh. We're paying because Yeah, behind the, the nice pitch, it, it was a true, robust enterprise platform that was delivering this promise.

[00:28:04] Omer: Great. So after all of this years of persistence, you've built the product.

[00:28:09] You have got this deal with hp, this partnership with Salesforce. The business at the time was called WiMo, not. SightCall, and then you've got a nice not so friendly letter.

[00:28:26] Thomas: Yeah, that's this letter is part of what I call my welcome to the us where in in Europe I did not have any problem with WiMo.

[00:28:35] And even before moving to the US we did little bit of research on the name and we asked, if it was okay to even t trademark this the, this brand in the US and there was no problem. So that's what we've done. And we started to operate with the name WiMo. And yeah I received this very aggressive letter from a lawyer.

[00:28:56] That literally explained me that if I did not change my name within the upcoming two weeks, they would, drag me to court on the, gonna be in very tough situation. And it was from a very large company that on WiMo is the name of one of their products. It's not the name of the company, but one of the product is named WiMo.

[00:29:17] Not it was written differently. We had W-E-E-M-O on their WEMO. But they didn't like it though, so we went through a couple of discussions, uh, to cool down the situation and to give me more time to change the name. I asked them if they would, be okay if I was way more in Europe.

[00:29:40] Which they said, no, absolutely not. We'll sue them. You there? To which I told them that, I'm from there. I know everybody there. And by the way, my brand was trademark before their brand up there, and so I would wait for them. Welcome them to kick their ass in Europe.

[00:30:02] So we ended up into a trade off saying oh. So they did some research say, oh yeah maybe it's gonna be tough in Europe.

[00:30:10] Omer: So you had the French trade, you had the French trademark for WiMo.

[00:30:13] Thomas: Yes. Oh yeah. The European one was Covid. Yeah. So we went to this trade off where they said, anyway, we will not let you operate WiMo in the us It's gonna be a pain in the US for you.

[00:30:23] Maybe you're stronger in Europe, but it's gonna be a pain as well. We agreed that they would give me one year to transition, take another name on the get there. And I think that was the best thing to do. When you are focused in growing a very small company at this time, you don't want to spend your energy into getting into this type of process there, right?

[00:30:43] So that's why with the board, we, even if it was. Painful. Alright, let's rebrand everything. Let's find a new a new name that really now that we know exactly what's our go-to market is that can also, be a bit more clear about this ability to see on guide remotely, which is site core.

[00:31:02] Omer: Okay. And then, so for the next couple of years you were using partnerships as we talked about with Salesforce and HP. As a way to, to grow land new customers, and I think it was in 2015, you were able to raise your series A, which is about eight and a half million, I think.

[00:31:25] Yep. When you and I were talking about this, you said, fundraising is one of those really hard moments. I said, yeah, and I was like expecting to hear the same thing about, what you said earlier, can't get investors attention or time with them, or it was really difficult to get the money and all of this stuff.

[00:31:43] And you said, actually it was the day after I raised my series A round. That was really hard. Can you explain that?

[00:31:53] Thomas: Yes. So just to put things in context we were growing fast, right? Since, 2013 when I moved here, signed HP and we were really growing the business, finding new customers here and there, signing new partnership.

[00:32:10] We haven't had an ad on TV in France with, company named dirty, that's the French Best Buy, right? Who thought that it was a wonderful idea to help their customer to typically troubleshoot any type of problem with their home appliances and provide this type of remote support.

[00:32:29] And they made a very, funny. A because obviously the one question everybody has is, but what if, you know through the camera you would see someone in a situation that you would not like to see? Right. They made this ad where actually the the wife was in video call with Darty and asking question about where to install the new washing machine.

[00:32:52] And she would go in the bathroom and obviously the husband would get out of the shower naked. I'm going through the camera this time. So it created some buzz. I think it was great. Also, good way to, get around some of the the fear that some brands could have, right? With using video.

[00:33:10] So we are doing well, we're growing nicely. So that's why it was time to raise a Series A on Series A is all about scale, right? Scaling sales on marketing to grow the organization. So we've raised this round, 8.4 million and it led to a lot of expectation from our investors, right?

[00:33:33] And us say, alright, now let's compress time. Instead of growing the way you do, you have this kind of pressure that comes on you. I cannot, I raised this, over 8 million. It's not to continue as I was doing, the reason why this guy believe in all ability to scale is because we're gonna have to change everything and go way faster.

[00:34:00] That's what I started to do. I think the speed would hit me there on trying to change everything in an organization that was going well. Was a hard time. Then that's where, you went from a place where everybody was really focused. Working together, building together as one team into a company where you see new management coming, creating some silos.

[00:34:25] And it even led me to a war. I call it a war because it was very, first time I hired A-A-C-M-O who came into a company, great guy, did a lot of things, grew nice companies. And then, he had all of his ideas. And one of them was the fact that we should sell online. Obviously your sales guys, enterprise sales guys did not like that.

[00:34:55] Make our pricing, public of the things where they whether work with our customers, to build the right business case that mapped to their organization on their needs. And the war started to happen. And I even had to take a hard decision to say, all right, so do, how do I fix that?

[00:35:16] And I had to decide to. The marketing side, 'cause my sales were the guys the ones selling. And then obviously during this time, it creates some hiccups in, in, in the organization, the speed on, instead of, really accelerating at this time actually you slow on the bit because you lose your focus.

[00:35:34] Omer: When you say sales and marketing went to war, what does, what did that look like? You it's not uncommon for there to be, some conflict between a sales and marketing org, but when you use the word war, it's like, how bad did it get?

[00:35:46] Thomas: I trusted more IT sales and I trusted my marketing.

[00:35:49] In other words, in between. And even the, I wanted to let the marketing try, the idea. So they made our pricing, available online, Italy. A couple of weeks later someone reached out through our website, incoming request from the 1400 company, right?

[00:36:13] Then I had one of my sales guy who started to discuss, the opportunity with this person. The way we would start and build a model with them and the person replied no I just want one license to test.

[00:36:26] Imagine now the salesperson. We say, okay I've got a big lead. I can work with this company. We can help them, and now it turns into, this one person. From a 1400 company who says that he wants to buy one license, so that, that really created this, big tension there where I say, okay, all right.

[00:36:46] It's gonna be bad.

[00:36:47] Omer: You said to me that every round that you've raised has created. Some kind of challenge or pressure. You raised a series B in, I think it was a few years ago. Yep. What was the challenge there?

[00:37:00] Thomas: It was the same story. Uh, with marketing this time, but with kind of scaling the organization again to go faster.

[00:37:09] Same pressure, right? We raised this time 42 million. So you increase the level of pressure, right? The more money, the more pressure. And then think, okay how then do I scale the organization, to go to a much bigger company. That's where you again, start to bring new Heidi, experienced people who did it multiple time over their life. Time on that can bring this expertise, right? Because you want to, again, get very strong people with you who've done it already in the past, so that they help you find the past to this to, to this growth and to scale.

[00:37:52] Again, one more time. I did not go into war this time, but I also had this kind of tension creation of silos on beginning of, political discussion. Everything you don't want in a startup, right? A startup, it's all about speed. It's all about, flexibility that we have that the large organization cannot have, we have to be able, to be smart enough to navigate in complex situation, to find the right path, to get there on on, to evolve in permanent right permanently because in the cloud, as in SaaS software it's not a one time purchase.

[00:38:29] You buy a service. This service is evolving every day on if you want to keep your customer with having good, customer stickiness, you have to continue to provide new features, new capability, continue to lead the market, continue differentiate. So this, again this momentum to keep in there that, where you really don't want to go into the path of being a big company.

[00:38:55] Omer: It's funny, like when you told the story earlier about your manager saying, go and take two years to go and do this project, and you come back in six months and they weren't moving fast enough. I. Then now suddenly you're in a position where every time you raise money, they're telling you now that you are not moving fast enough.

[00:39:15] But every time you go and spend the money, it actually slows things down, at least for a while when bring new people in or the dynamics change or of the organization, it subsides of. Fundraising that I think often Penn say, I don't hear about, we hear about the struggles of raising the money and so on, but less so much about, Hey, here are all the problems that got created once I'd raised the money that actually, to be able to go and do what I needed to do.

[00:39:43] Thomas: Yeah I find it harder. After the fundraising then to get the fundraising by itself. That's a Yeah, uncommon interesting fact. But I'm sure that if you question other CEOs who can share honestly, the complexity of this post fundraising. I think that's a two topic.

[00:40:01] Omer: Yeah. Yeah. All right. Would love to keep chatting, but we should wrap up. So I'm gonna get onto the lightning round. I've got seven quick-fire questions for you, so just try to answer 'em as quickly as you can. Okay. What's one of the best pieces of business advice you've received?

[00:40:17] Thomas: When I started the company, one of my advisor told me, Hey, keep in mind that it's gonna be a marathon, not a sprint.

[00:40:27] I keep this one here and I'm glad that I didn't, run it as a sprint because I would've died before.

[00:40:35] Omer: What book would you recommend to our audience and why?

[00:40:38] Thomas: There, there's one book I think every CEO should or should not read, which is hard Things About, hard Things from Ben Horowitz.

[00:40:46] And the reason why is because literally if you want to know more about my story with this book it's everything, all of the pain that is describing there. I had to go through. I think all of them,

[00:40:57] Omer: I know we're in the lightning round, but you have to just tell us very quickly what you told me about the re getting ha, halfway through the book and saying, okay, I just read about my past.

[00:41:09] Do I want to now just tell us that

[00:41:12] Thomas: Yes. That, that, that was really really scary when I, I was maybe, yeah. Had to book on where I say, okay, no, that's exactly where I'm at now on thinking about it. That it was so true. I. Know that all of these stories that are highlighting in this book, I had to go through all of these, hurdles on point.

[00:41:30] I said, do I really want to know the future? Because if I read that and if it, would it help me or would it destroy me? So to be honest with you, I continued to read couple of chapter and I stop. So I never to be fairly honest, I never went to the up to the end of the book yet. But I will.

[00:41:49] Omer: Yeah. When you retire, you can go back and take a look at the book. What's one attribute or characteristic in your mind of a successful founder?

[00:41:59] Thomas: I will give you one French expression on in French. It's so literally, it means being straight in your boots. So the, what it means behind is someone that would stand by their principle, their value or their ideas, and will not change their mind, right?

[00:42:19] And I think that's very important because you're gonna get so much, influence. People want you to think differently, to do things differently, et cetera. That if you are not crisp on on, on straight into your ideas on where you want to go you will never get there.

[00:42:36] Omer: What is your favorite personal productivity tool or habit?

[00:42:41] Thomas: It's riding my bike.

[00:42:42] Omer: What's a new or crazy business idea you'd love to pursue if you had the time?

[00:42:46] Thomas: A crazy business idea would be to use a solution like Cycle with within the gig economy. I would love to empower anyone to have to be tasked. Guided remotely by someone who knows either someone who knows, or even ai to help them perform tasks that they thought they could never done or that were not trained on.

[00:43:15] Omer: That's a super interesting idea actually. Especially because the gig economy is just continuing to explode in many ways. What's an interesting or fun fact about you that most people don't know?

[00:43:26] Thomas: Now they will know it. But when I grew up, when I was a kid, my parents moved literal Italy in a barn in the mountains where you could not keep what they tell me I was young, that you could not even keep a condo burning because the the walls were just wood plunks where the wind would go through.

[00:43:46] And it was wild.

[00:43:49] Omer: Oh. And finally, what's one of your most important passions outside of your work?

[00:43:56] Thomas: It's, I would say mountain biking. Any type of outdoor activity. Again, sa save my life because it's this combination of gain getting out refreshing your mind. And also what I love in mountain biking is that there's.

[00:44:13] It's a very complete, experience on sport where it goes from, a lot of effort to go up the hill, right? And I like to say no pain, no reward. And then it can be very technical in the downhill. Use your brain. You have to calculate everything. You have to be very crisp on the on every movement and everything you do.

[00:44:33] There's a lot of fun. Adrenaline is there. Good amount for risk as well. When you go into a big work or this kind of stuff. So everything I like.

[00:44:44] Omer: That's awesome. Awesome. Thomas, thank you so much for joining me. It's been a pleasure to chat and, go through your story of building this business since two, 2008.

[00:44:55] It's been quite a journey so far. If people want to check out SightCall, they can go to and if folks wanna get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to do that?

[00:45:07] Thomas: Yeah, you can reach out to me by email thomas[at]sightcall[dot]com on I will respond.

[00:45:11] Omer: Awesome. Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure and I wish you and the team the best of success.

[00:45:17] Thomas: Thank you, Omer.

[00:45:18] Omer: Cheers.

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