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I’m here with Casey Allen, the founder of the Enterprise Rising Conference. Casey, what is your favorite part about Enterprise Rising?
Casey Allen 0:09
Here’s what I love, Jay. I love it when founders get up on stage and really open up and be really candid and super honest about not just their startup, but about life. When Ben Milne, founder of Dwolla Des Moines talks about how he doesn’t work a zillion hours a week anymore, and how he balances his marriage and his kids. Or when David Karandish is the founder and CEO of Jane.ai out of St. Louis talks about how he turns his phone off one day a week and how he balances all this travel. Or when Rob Walling from founder and CEO of Drip, which he sold, gets up on stage and talks about all the stresses and anxieties and how he didn’t destroy his marriage, even though it might have came close several times. That’s the stuff founders really want to hear. And that’s the stuff they don’t get anywhere. And I really, really love hearing founders talking about that stuff.
Jay Clouse 0:55
How is Enterprise Rising different this year?
Casey Allen 0:58
If you’ve ever attended online event you know, networking sucks slack and discord really just don’t cut it. So we have custom built for Enterprise Rising 2020, an online platform that’s like startup masterclass, meets the Sims, where every attendee has an avatar, you’re in a building, you’re sitting in chairs, you’re sitting on couches, you’re having real video chats with the people next to you. So what we’ve done is we’ve recreated an actual virtual environment where networking happens, just like it does in real life.
Jay Clouse 1:23
Casey, when is Enterprise Rising? And how can people get involved?
Casey Allen 1:27
Enterprise Rising is the end of October, the 20th and 21st is two full days is all online so you can dip in and out for as much or as little as you want. Go to enterpriserising.co. That’s enterpriserising.co. And you can use discount code Upside to score 20% off as many tickets as you want. So discount code Upside at enterprise rising.co. All the details are there. The entire conference is online. It’s going to be a great time.
Matt Valeo 1:55
I don’t look at capital as being like this accomplishment. You know, I see I see TechCrunch you know celebrating equity raises all the time and all I see is well okay, you sold 30% of your company. I hope I hope it ends up worth it. Right because to me, my stock is the most valuable thing I have at least monetarily.
Jay Clouse 2:13
The startup investment landscape is changing. and world class companies are being built outside of Silicon Valley. We find them, talk with them and discuss the upside of investing in them. Welcome to Upside.
Eric Hornung 2:41
Hello, hello. Hello, and welcome to the upside podcast. The first podcast finding upside outside of Silicon Valley. I’m Eric Hornung, and I’m accompanied by my co host, Mr. snail mail himself, Jay Clouse. Jay, when’s the last time you got a good old fashioned letter in the mail.
Jay Clouse 2:59
Maybe your wedding invite? No, I mean, I get I get stuff like that we’re in a season of life where we get a lot of wedding invites. I got a wedding invite from my cousin recently, which doesn’t feel like a good time to go to a wedding to be honest, is like the September. Which just not gonna do it. But I like letters. I actually was cleaning out this office that you see around you last weekend. And one of the biggest parts of that was I had like a filing cabinet and a bunch of just like miscellaneous paper stuff that was piled up, but so much that paper stuff are old, like thank you notes and nice letters that I just can’t get rid of.
Eric Hornung 3:39
I think so I’m reading a lot of presidential biographies right now. I started with, well, I started I went out of order for a little bit. I went Teddy and Lincoln. And now I’m back at Washington. And you know, I’m working my way through. I’m on Madison right now. And so much of those are based on the correspondence that they wrote through letters to each other, I think just into the future, are we gonna? Like when we’re looking back on our lives, we’re not going to give everyone access to our emails? Or maybe we will. And when there’s memoirs written, are they going to be written from the perspective of the emails we’ve sent? I don’t know.
Jay Clouse 4:15
Maybe, but the thing is, you wouldn’t even need to be your permission to emails because you’re dead. So maybe the people that you wrote them to could grant permission and people would learn about you through your emails to others, granted by the person who received it.
Eric Hornung 4:28
Oh, that’s interesting. It’s like, I guess it’s the same way it happened back then if they pulled it from your file or someone else’s file or papers, but I think it’s just a it’s an interesting way to look at life through the lens of correspondence.
Jay Clouse 4:42
I was listening to that audiobook that you shared with me about Robert Caro, who wrote the biography of Lyndon B. Johnson and so much of that was also records. So yeah, documents have played a important part in our history and understanding our history and understanding are current and former leaders in documents Eric have been kind of the same for a long time.
Eric Hornung 5:08
Yeah, I think like the biggest innovation in documents was probably on a fax. And then here we are with email and nothing’s changed since.
Jay Clouse 5:18
Eric Hornung 5:21
Jay Clouse 5:23
That’s better. That’s better. Well, today we are talking with a founder who is setting out to change that once and for all we’re talking with Matt Valeo, the founder and CEO of Documo. Documo is document workflow solutions that make working with documents easy, more secure and better for the planet. They have three separate document products and sign which provides legally binding e signatures on any device mFax which is secure cloud fax, and M drive cloud storage for workflow critical documents. Eric, I gotta say looking at documents website is one of my favorite website designs I’ve seen in a very long time, which doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with documents, but was something that I wanted to call out.
Eric Hornung 6:08
Yeah, that’s very nice. I think that document sounds like it’s gonna make your life a lot easier. And speaking of your life, if you want to live the one life you have the best way you can, you should check out our friends at Ethos Wealth Management, you can go to upside.fm/ethos to learn more.
Jay Clouse 6:27
Documo was founded in 2017. They are based in Las Vegas, Nevada, although their team is fully distributed. And Eric, I believe they are bootstrapped to this point.
Eric Hornung 6:37
I love a good bootstrap company ,Jay. You know, we had aner on a bit ago and he said, there’s these bootstrap extremists and I wouldn’t put myself in that camp. But the boost strap movement. I am I’m all aboard.
Jay Clouse 6:52
What’s the boost strap movement?
Eric Hornung 6:54
So it’s bootstrappers who take a little bit of alternative funding to get to the to boost themselves to them. Next level.
Jay Clouse 7:00
Eric Hornung 7:02
A little st swap and all of a sudden look what you got.
Jay Clouse 7:05
Look what you got. Well, I’m excited to talk with Matt I love speaking with bootstrappers or maybe even boost strappers would love to hear your thoughts on this episode as you listen. This episode or episode.
Eric Hornung 7:15
You said episode.
Jay Clouse 7:16
Because I don’t like episode. You can tweet at us @upsideFM or email us email@example.com and we’ll get that conversation with Matt right after this.
Eric Hornung 7:28
Let’s bring in Scot Ganow, an attorney at Taft Stettinius and Hollister teach us about data privacy and security. Taft is a full service law firm known for assisting entrepreneurs across the heartland. As a reminder, the following remarks by Taft’s attorneys are for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information is not intended to create a receipt it does not constitute an attorney client relationship. No person or organization should act upon this information without first seeking professional counsel. Scot, we made it through the disclaimer. How are things going?
Scot Ganow 7:58
Things are going great. Thanks for having me.
Jay Clouse 8:00
Scot, thanks for coming on always appreciate you being here. If I’m a first time founder, are there any privacy or data security standards that I should know about?
Scot Ganow 8:09
Absolutely. But it can be a challenge, especially for US based companies. Because unlike a lot of countries around the world, we don’t have a universal privacy and security federal law in place that sets standards clearly for all industries. Rather, we tend to handle it in sectors healthcare sector, financial sector, consumer reporting sector, they each have their individual standards for protecting information such as HIPAA in the healthcare space. Likewise, we also have the challenges of a global economy where data is not just coming from the United States anymore, there might be implications for individuals that live in the European Union, or Canada, or the Asia Pacific region. And as a result, those laws may have different requirements and standards that would govern the use of information. It’s for these reasons that regardless of sector in which you operate. I encourage clients of all sizes to think more broadly and holistically about the standards they seek to implement and look to things like ISO 27 001 series or maybe the NIST information cybersecurity and privacy standards and framework that provide a roadmap for all the things you should be thinking about when it comes to privacy and data security. The benefit of taking such a holistic approach is many fold. Number one, these standards like ISO and NIST are even recommended by some of these federal regulations. So by following them, you may very well be checking all the boxes without an applicable law, but they’re also helpful because they allow one standard across your enterprise that all employees can follow. And that’s very important here. It’s important to be legally compliant, but you’ve got to be able to operationalize that compliance. And if employees don’t understand the policy, get confused by it or can’t implement it universally in the same way across the board for all types of data, the chances of compliance are reduced significantly and the chances are increased they’re gonna make a mistake. And when something bad happens having such a program in place that is holistic with a commercially, an industry standard, like ISO or NIST in place really puts you in the best position to defend your practices. I always say it’s not a sin to have a data breach or even have something bad happen. But it’s a sin not to have a plan in place that you at least anticipated the risk and had something in place. So following a universal standard that’s out there can definitely help you on many fronts. And I encourage organizations to look at that well before their product hits the market. So they’re ready to go ready to grow and tackle the opportunities and not just the compliance requirements.
Eric Hornung 10:47
Awesome. Thanks for that Scot. If people want to learn more about Taft or yourself, where should they go?
Scot Ganow 10:52
We make it easy Taftlaw.com or you can also find me on LinkedIn.
Matt Valeo 11:02
It’s pretty non traditional. So be before Warren. I actually played poker for a living for about eight and a half years prior to founding document, which at the time of its founding was actually called Foiply. But yeah, always been kind of a tech enthusiast but never really imagined myself working in tech. It’s been quite a journey.
Jay Clouse 11:21
All right, well, tell us more about this eight and a half years in poker. How did you get there?
Matt Valeo 11:28
If we go back a little bit earlier, I actually was in the financial services world, where I started out in the mortgage business at 19 years old. At 21. I got my Series 7 and 63 stockbrokers license. And that’s where I kind of made my way east to New York to kind of pursue the Wall Street dream. I figured out pretty quickly that it was just not a long term fit for me, so I had to kind of look for the next chapter. Well, lucky for me, that decision was kind of made for me in 2008, when a financial ruin was being wrought upon the world. And, you know, I quit my job and there wasn’t really ample opportunities to kind of re enter that world. So I had to kind of figure out what I was going to do. So I had been playing poker since 2004. Not like, not professionally or anything, just kind of as a hobby. And, you know, by 2008, I was playing pretty regularly online. And so I was playing online kind of looking for work. And that turned into eight years. So what ended up happening so, yeah, so fast forward. I was kind of looking for my next chapter. And I had moved to San Diego after Black Friday, which if you don’t know in the poker world is kind of when US regulators shut down online poker in the United States. And so I kind of transitioned from being an online player to a live player. And it was kind of, you know, just looking for the next chapter but wasn’t really seeing kind of it was really tough for me to envision going back to kind of a nine to five corporate job, after having that kind of freedom for so long. Got introduced to somebody in San Diego in the tech world. It was actually in the document space and kind of guy introduced to this problem that document was now trying to solve and just decided to kind of go for it, you know, didn’t didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. If I didn’t know like, what the first two years would be like, I probably wouldn’t have done it. But I’m very glad that I did now.
Jay Clouse 13:16
I can’t resist asking just at least one more question on this poker space because it’s, it’s something that’s totally unknown to me living as a professional poker player, essentially for eight years. How did you think about that as someone who clearly has some business acumen like. What does planning for cash flow look like? In a world where you’re playing poker professionally? How do you think about like, what is good enough? How how much I need to play like I just don’t even know how, what the considerations are.
Matt Valeo 13:43
Yeah, it’s very similar to running a business actually, you know, your your tool is is money, right? That’s, that’s the tool you need to go out and make more money similar to a business and people think of poker players and they think of these like people that are sitting there and like reading into people’s souls and stuff like that when you know the reality of most successful poker players, it really comes down to discipline and money management. So, you know, kind of understanding what edge you can get in any given, you know, game scenario that you’re faced, and how to extrapolate that edge over a larger sample size. So it’s actually really boring, you know, because you’re, most of the time you’re sitting there just taking a very disciplined mathematical approach to, you know, the hand rages you’re willing to play and kind of figuring out what types of ranges your opponents are willing to play and, you know, basically just waiting for those kinds of exploitative scenarios. And it’s, it’s very time consuming, you know, you can’t you can’t click a button and just like get rich, it’s, it’s you’re really just extrapolating a relatively small edge, actually, when it really, really boils down to it, and you’re trying to get as much hand volume in as possible. So, money management is extremely important because you’re going to take swings, you’re going into the third, you know, we call it variants, you know, outsiders call it luck, variants. It’s all the same, right? It’s, it’s basically the variables that are outside of your control and to a certain degree, the outcomes are outside of your control. But you know, good decision making over time, you know, will result in a win. And that’s it’s similar to trading the stock market or running a business. Yeah, there’s, it’s, I could I could spend quite a bit of time on it. I considered writing a book on it actually, but decided to point my energy as something more productive for more people than myself.
Eric Hornung 15:20
How did you use those skills which are like the difference between 51% wins and 49% wins? It feels so minute compared to starting a business where things are going from zero to one, just on a pure mathematical basis? How did you use kind of your thin edge skills to launch a business?
Matt Valeo 15:42
Well, I don’t know if I if if that particular aspect of it was very useful, but there was a lot of things that were very useful like, like money management and taking a very kind of fiscally conservative approach to spending and starting the company. You know, I didn’t come from the Silicon Valley world. In fact, I had no real exposure to venture capital or any of that. So, you know, to me starting and building a business was you either build or you buy something for 20 cents and you sell it for $1. Right? And so there’s obviously some upfront capital expenditure that goes into, you know, like you said, going from that zero to one. And so, you know, I just, I just kind of modeled the whole thing out very similar to like you, you manage your poker bankroll, right, if you want to make a certain amount of money in poker, you basically have to figure out what stakes you need to play, what’s your win rate at those stakes is going to be and then you need to figure out what is a reasonable bankroll that you’re going to need to be able to withstand variance and and do it over an extended period of time. Right. And so, when I looked at starting a company, it was a very similar exercise I was looking at Okay, what is it going to cost me to get a website up? What is it going to cost me to build a an MVP of a product to get an initial customer set to give me feedback on whether this is working or not, you know, what do I need to you know, feed my family. What how much time isn’t going to take, it was the exact same exercise from that perspective. And so you know, and that’s, that’s, that’s exactly what I did is I got a very lean MVP up and alpha Dory started collecting customer feedback. And this was, you know, I had, I had no thoughts to hire anybody or to raise capital during this period of time, it was really just, I wanted to prove a thesis, right. And then once I had done that, I went out and started looking for Angel funding. This was, you know, this was two years from the time I incorporated the business and started working on it, I was still playing poker, you know, to support my family. And then, you know, once I was about 12K MRR, that’s, that’s, that’s when it finally occurred to me to say, okay, maybe I can turn this from a project into a real company.
Jay Clouse 17:41
So before we get into that, which, holy cow already, I’m thinking like 12K MRR after just doing this on the side. That’s awesome. How can I have one of those? You said that you moved to San Diego and someone introduced you to this document problem. So tell us more about that moment in what drew you in about that because on its face doesn’t sound like the the sexiest problem to solve.
Matt Valeo 18:01
No, it doesn’t. That’s actually that’s actually what really appealed to me though, to actually, you know, take a take a crack at it myself. So I had moved my family to San Diego, this was just kind of on a whim, you know, and wanted somewhere to go, we wanted good weather, San Diego seemed as good a spot as any. And I actually just by pure happenstance, metal gentleman who actually owned a small technology company in the document space, and just kind of getting to know him and getting to know his business. You know, I had some very kind of long conversations with him and started kind of bouncing ideas off of him. And he came back and said, You know, he really likes how I think and, you know, it’d be cool if I if I could contribute to the business in some way. And I basically told them, Hey, I am not really a nine to five, like, kind of worker bee kind of guy, you know, like, I’m happy to kind of contribute or find a way to add value, but if we’re talking about like, just like a full blown work engagement, you know, that probably is not for me. Luckily, he came back and you know, he basically said no, hey, like, we can do this thing on your terms. You know, we just kind of some of these fresh ideas. So that’s how I got introduced to this space was kind of through this consulting work, which is, which is funny, right? Because I didn’t have any background so real no, you know, like, I had no resume to offer to say, Hey, this is how I’m qualified, it was just really just like bouncing ideas over or beers. But it was great because, you know, it kind of pulled me into this world and got me to really start thinking about, you know, some of these use cases, and all the kind of problems that all the archaic processes, I should say that that, that these companies are still implementing on a day to day basis for mission critical documents, I’m talking about healthcare organizations, government entities, you know, banks that are having to move millions or billions of documents that have a lot of times very sensitive, you know, information and they’re doing it in a way that is basically designed to fail it’s it’s it’s very old processes. So there’s there’s a lot of kind of pain points and things that I think technology can make better. I decided to kind of just pick one of them to go and work on it and fax to me. Again, it’s not sexy at all by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s actually a, you know, a multi billion dollar industry with a double digit CAGR. And I didn’t really see any innovation coming into this space, you know, so a lot of people, they hear the buzzwords, you know, augmented reality or AI or machine learning and say, well, that’s cool. I can go raise money on that idea. I wanted to go after an industry where 1000 new startups weren’t coming out of yc all trying to solve the same problem, right? I wanted to go on industry where the incumbents were asleep at the wheel. And that’s what I did.
Eric Hornung 20:35
When you are thinking about, okay, I have all of these problems I have. I found all this stuff through this consulting, I learned about these use cases, how did you narrow it down to this is the specific problem I want to solve and were there others that were kind of competing for your focus?
Matt Valeo 20:51
Well, I was just as shocked as any kind of person my age would be in 2020 that you know, is not in these industries that fax is even still a thing. You know, like, totally shocked, like, I couldn’t believe it. And so, out of curiosity I really started digging in to like, why does this protocol still exist? Why is it still a thing. And as I the more I uncovered in the the deeper I dug, the more I realized that there was just like, it was very obvious to me that there was a very big opportunity here for a company to come in, build innovative technology and help these companies that are kind of stuck using this ancient protocol. I looked at it as kind of lowest hanging fruit you know, that this this was like a very obvious problem, and a space that nobody was really paying attention to. I got excited about it is as weird as that sounds like I was researching and kind of digging in I started looking at the existing solutions every time I’d open a new solution. I’d be like, Oh my god, like how this is horrible. This this UI experience is terrible. Like like this, these these solutions look like they were built in 1995. Yeah. And I got excited. I got excited, I’m like, geez, like, it wouldn’t be that big of a stretch even for someone like me without the background and experience to come up with a better solution. So I kind of took that better mousetrap thesis and started drawing up a game plan to take something to market.
Jay Clouse 22:17
I am fascinated to know what you learned about this because I agree. Every time I see a fax number on something, I think, how is that still a thing? And to me, even just email and a lot of ways is a solution for fax. But I’d love to hear from someone who’s really dug into this. What keeps faxing around? What do people use it for that it just needs to remain in place?
Matt Valeo 22:40
Yeah, so it’s a few things. So the companies that are really still using it are basically companies in the regulated industries here in the US. It’s still being used internationally. But in the US, it’s particularly a big problem because when you look at health care, government, legal entities, financial entities, they’re all kind of wrapped in these regulations and they are not able to send PHI in the healthcare space or other or, you know, anything that’s covered kind of by Information Security regulation by email, right. And there are other technologies that can be used to transport a document from A to B, thing about faxes. It’s the least common denominator. Everybody basically has a fax number, and you don’t have you have this kind of chicken and egg problem. Where are there better technologies short, can you get everybody in all these industries to simultaneously agree on one of those technologies so that they can begin transacting with each other? Well, very clearly, the answer is no, because it hasn’t happened. So you know, fax is here for the foreseeable future for that reason. And like I said, it’s actually growing Vax volume is actually growing year over year, believe it or not, and so, you know, it’s one of these things where, you know, these companies kind of refused to let it go. And because of that, there’s an opportunity to go in and say, well, for whatever reason, You know, you you’re not going to let this technology go. But it doesn’t have to be painful, right? It you can wrap it in an API, you can, you can put a great user experience a web interface in front of it, you can create other cool modern tools like web hooks or integrations with EMR platforms, or mobile channels, you know, you can do all these things on top of this protocol, and these things just weren’t being done at a very good velocity. And so, you know, document came along and and built a great product in a short amount of time. We’re number one rated on jeetu crowd and capterra. And we’ve grown to 117%. In the last 13 months. You mentioned
Jay Clouse 24:35
that the first couple of years were really painful. So what did the first couple years look like and why was that so painful?
Matt Valeo 24:42
Yeah, well, it was tough because in the very beginning, I was by myself, I didn’t really have any kind of playbook or mentorship to, to go off of I still needed to earn a living. So you know, I was bouncing between, you know, a poker table and travel and kind of working on this. project on my laptop. And every time I would make one step, I would I would run into five new problems, right? Like, and I’d have to teach myself these problems. And so, you know, like, like any entrepreneurs journey who doesn’t just like wake up one day with millions of dollars of funding, you know, it’s it’s tough. And I don’t know if my experience is that unique compared to anybody starting a company. I mean, the reality is building a company is hard. It’s very hard, there’s an there’s an inherent barrier there that it just takes a certain kind of person and a certain amount of willpower, and a certain amount of, you know, focus and drive and dedication, you know, the willing willingness to roll up one sleeves and get to work and stuff. And I think I think that’s going to be the case for for most likely any startup right and, and some of your initial thesis is are going to be wrong, right? You have to be willing to get proven wrong. I think that’s why a lot of a lot of startups fail is they have a thesis and they refuse to get proven wrong until the company dies, you know, whereas I love to get proven wrong, you know? I love for a customer to tell me something that we’re, you know, I had an idea about it, but the than the actual customer says no, this is this is that this is actually my pain point. And then I go and solve the customers problem. So, you know, it takes time to kind of get that critical mass it takes takes a lot of work. It’s a lot of you know, I I moved my family from San Diego to Vegas, for that reason, actually, it was to cut my cost of living. Because, you know, the more hours that I started putting into the business, the less hours I had to play poker and therefore the less income I had, because I didn’t take a salary from the company for almost three years. So I had to figure out how to make it work.
Eric Hornung 26:35
You must have been pretty good at poker.
Matt Valeo 26:37
I was okay.
Jay Clouse 26:39
You mentioned when you first started this, it was called Foiply. And I’m looking at your LinkedIn and it says for people he was from 2015 to 2016 when Documo started what was the the rebrand? Was it like a big structural change in the business or was it just a rebrand and why?
Matt Valeo 26:57
It was mostly a rebound rebrand although there was a structural change. Well so Foiply is a play on FOIP fax over IP. Right? So similar to Voip, Voip is the fax version of voice over IP. And so I was looking for kind of a short.com name that was related to the product. But as I started building this product, my vision continued to grow and grow and grow. And in 2016 is when I decided this wasn’t just going to be, you know, a fax product, this was going to be a company that that’s really trying to solve document workflows, multiple use cases, multiple products, I wanted to build a suite of products. And so I decided Foiply wasn’t the best name for the company anymore. So I bought Documo.com at this point in 2016, I actually also brought in Matt Schultz, who’s our COO and also a former professional poker player. I met him playing poker. He played poker for about six years for a living and brought him into the company to kind of help me turn this from a project to a company. And then in 2017, that’s when we set out to raise a little bit of funding to kind of get us to the next level.
Eric Hornung 28:05
You mentioned earlier, you’re not from the Silicon Valley background, you don’t have millions of dollars, but you’ve started going down the path of raising funding. Do you think that this is turned from? Okay, we’re gonna bootstrap, we’re gonna get this thing to however much arr makes sense? Or are you thinking, as you look forward, this is going to be more of the blitzscale we’re going to go see a, b, c, d, and really scale this into your full vision was it look like for you?
Matt Valeo 28:32
We don’t have plans to go kind of the standard venture route. We did raise some funding, but we I mean, we’ve raised under a half million dollars in total equity capital to date. You know, we did 244,000 in revenue last month, like I said, up to 117% since July 2019, which you know, so that puts us at about a $3 million run rate. We’re profitable. We’re growing fast, as I just mentioned, and I don’t want to close the door entirely on ever raising equity capital again, but you know, we don’t we’re only gonna raise capital if if either a we need it or B we see enough of a delta between you know the bringing in the level, the capital leverage and doing whatever we’re already doing what we’re not willing to do is we’re not willing to cede control the company, we’re not willing to sacrifice our culture, how we do things, we have a, an amazing team of very talented people all over the world. And I don’t look at Capital as being like this accomplishment. You know, I see I see TechCrunch you know, celebrating equity raises all the time, and all I see is well, okay, you sold 30% of your company, I hope I hope it ends up worth it. Right? Because to me, my stock is the most valuable thing I have at least monetarily. So I am not going to give it up easily and I’m certainly not going to give it up if I don’t have to. That’s how we’re approaching it for this business. And I think I think there are other businesses out there you know, like a SaaS company that has 85% gross margins profitable. My opinion is bro that to the moon white, white, why sell any equity right? If you don’t have to do are businesses that maybe are a better fit for venture capital? And it might make more sense to kind of do a land grab or, or skill really, really fast. I am working on some other projects where I think VC might be the right fit. But for document, yeah, I’m, you know, we’re kind of playing it by ear here. And we’ll scale and run fast if it if it makes sense. But I mean, the partnership has to be, has to be total line, a lot of things have to go right. For me to, for me to feel like raising from VCs at this point is is a good idea.
Eric Hornung 30:29
Take me back to your customer. You mentioned regulated industries. When I think about highly regulated industries, I think, generally slow adopters, long sales funnels, high customization, integration costs, how did you break in and kind of find your niche and then what’s that niche look like today?
Matt Valeo 30:49
Well, in the early days, you know, I didn’t have enough of a product to to even be really able to sell into these larger entities. You know, they have security requirements, they there. They want you to provide SLA and do all these things. And like, I just wasn’t equipped to do that. So, you know, what I wanted to do though is I wanted to get some customers. So really, it was an SMB product on day one, you know, somebody whether a small clinic or real estate agents, you know, someone in these industries, I did want to make sure I was going out to the right industries that that I was going to going to be selling into, but I wasn’t able to go and sell to very big companies. Luckily, it dawned on me fairly early that I was going to need to make this product more enterprise ready, if it was ever going to be anything more than a Microsoft company. So I immediately started working on really trying to understand the problem from the IT administrators point of view. And we built kind of a very robust administrative feature set reporting compliance, you know, and really, really base the product on this idea, even though it wasn’t ready to sell to those people on day one. I basically was selling to SMB well, while simultaneously figuring out how to get the product ready to kind of go to bigger companies. And so it’s been kind of a cool journey to watch in that we have continually just kind of moved up market, right, we started hitting kind of mid market, and now we’re kind of hitting enterprises. And the reception is great, because every time we go into those markets, we’ve already kind of been iterating for those markets for, you know, six to 12 months prior to actually getting the interest. So, you know, it hasn’t been the fastest journey, but I think it’s been the right journey for us in our culture,
Jay Clouse 32:32
Something that I had a little bit of experience with in the healthcare space. We knew it was like an antiquated industry. We wanted to build a product for it. But because it was clear that it was like this antiquated legacy, like gross industry that hadn’t been innovated on, the people in that space had been peppered with people who were trying. And so it was really hard to get their attention in the beginning because here’s just another one of these will probably run into the same issues that we ran into with the last 10 vendors who tried this? Was that a similar experience with fax technology or document technology?
Matt Valeo 33:06
Yeah, to some degree, for sure. You know, these industries have a lot of similarities in that regard. There’s, there’s a lot of startups, especially in the healthcare space. And also, I mean, there’s, there’s tons and tons of software companies are trying to sell the law firms, for example, these niche kind of software products. And to some degree, you run into that the good thing about fax is it was a very real pain point. And although there have been kind of these cloud fax vendors around for a while, because that pain is real, and it’s something that that you know, it’s hitting them every day, if you can build the right inbound marketing funnel for the so that when the person starts thinking about it, you kind of lead them to you show them how you solve the problem. You know, it really tends to shorten those sales cycles and really gives us a good opportunity to win that business. Now, as we launch new products, that’s not always going to be the case, you know, like we’re launching an E signature product. And there’s a lot of solutions that are not horrible. So, you know, it’s gonna be kind of a different, you may have more of an educational element, you may have a longer sales cycle at the enterprise level, you may have, you know, some of these other challenges, but I’ve learned so much and kind of taking this product to market and penetrating kind of these, these, these legacy verticals, that I feel very confident in my ability to just just continually get better in the company to continually get better at, you know, both delivering a product selling the product supporting a product. It’s fun, it’s the challenge is there, but it’s it gets funner as you grow.
Jay Clouse 34:38
If I’m reading between the lines, it sounds like you are coding this yourself.
Matt Valeo 34:42
Yeah, the first version was me. And luckily, as I got a little bit of traction, I was able to hire much more skilled developers to to build the better versions of the product.
Jay Clouse 34:53
Did you have a background in that before you started Foiply? Or did you teach yourself to code so you could build it?
Matt Valeo 35:00
Everything is self taught self taught piano self taught poker self taught coders self taught parent. You know, I, I, I love learning, I love learning new things, I always kind of have this insatiable thirst for knowledge. And so, you know, it’s it’s, it’s always exciting when I can go and build a new skill set.
Jay Clouse 35:22
Real quick, before we dive deeper into this, I would love for you just to kind of lay out because we haven’t hit on an explicitly. Can you lay out the breadth of what document Documo is today?
Matt Valeo 35:31
Yeah, so you know, well, I told you, we’re about a $3 million dollar run rate. And that’s that’s largely all entirely from our FX product line. We have two new products we have m drive, which is a secure document storage product. And we have m sign which is a secure electronic signature product that we’re bringing to market here in the next 30 days. So now we’ll have a suite of three products that are deeply integrated with each other with a focus on the regulated industries and we have a very aggressive product. roadmap, our goal is to is to launch a new product every 18 months, and to eventually have an end to end document an automated workflow solution where people can work with the with the document from its inception all the way to the point, you know, to the various transactional layers or whatever that document is meant for, right? every document has a lifecycle, there’s a purpose for that document being created. And typically it has multiple touchpoints. From the time it gets created to the time it gets, you know, archived and maybe later retrieved. And so what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to really deeply understand the life cycle and use cases of why people are still putting information onto pieces of paper. And we’re trying to digitize these processes and automate and reduce kind of human error, reduce security risk, and ultimately save these companies a lot of time and money and, and how they deal with documents. So we’re still very, very early in that journey, I think, but that’s that’s kind of the big vision behind the company.
Eric Hornung 36:58
How does a core potential decision maker, how does someone hear about Documo.
Matt Valeo 37:05
Mostly through through an inbound marketing funnel, right. So like, you know, an IT administrator somewhere is saying I’m fed up with this legacy fax server I’m dealing with, so they go out to look for a solution. Luckily, our customers have been great about singing our praises in the digital world. So places like G2 crowd and Capterra. You know, they’ve rated us as one of the top solutions. So we can now be found. We also have a fantastic head of growth that we brought into the company in December, who’s been kind of going in penetrating new new channels working on SEO working on a content strategy. So most of its just inbound and referrals. Although as we launch our new products, and as we kind of expand our content footprint, we intend to kind of be a little bit more visible through display advertising, social networks, we typically plan to be more active in those channels to kind of build that brand awareness and have a bigger reach.
Jay Clouse 37:53
Something else we talked about during my again, very brief time in healthcare was because we had to protect HIPAA type information. If there was a breach, the fines for that basically run a small company out of business. We call it we call it a with your problem where we’re after it’s over. So how, how have you worked through being compliant in this way? Because being self taught, yeah. Being self taught, I’m sure there’s a lot here that you’re learning for the first time with very, very high stakes.
Matt Valeo 38:23
Well, yeah, so Well, basically, when I was working on the MVP of the product and getting some initial traction, you know, one of the most common things I would run into is people would ask, Are you HIPAA compliant? And it became obvious to me very quick that that if I was going to sell this product into the healthcare space, I would need to figure out a way to become HIPAA compliant. So that meant reading through this act in its entirety and the rules surrounding it and and looking at other HIPAA compliant solutions, trying to figure out what vendors they were utilizing, trying to figure out, you know, how did they go about doing it and then same thing drying up the game plan and I mean, you have to make a decision, like do we want to sell into these verticals? Or do or is this just going to be kind of too much liability, too much pressure on on a small startup and I decided that, you know, it would be worth it, you know, and healthcare today represents about 35% of our user base. So you know, it’s which is our largest vertical. So a lot of work a lot of a lot of treading lightly and also investing in the right vendors and in the right processes. And, yeah, I mean, it’s something that we’re still, we’re still trying to solve today. I mean, we’re actually in the in the process right now of going through our SOC 2 Type 2 audit, which is, you know, very expensive, very time consuming, but in the end, we think it’s a it’s a good investment.
Eric Hornung 39:39
Why do customers churn off of of Documo?
Matt Valeo 39:43
They don’t much. We have net negative churn. If someone is spending a minimum of $50 a month with us, they turn under 1%. So it’s one of the one of the one of I think the best metrics of our business that says, Is this a viable company that can grow to be big revenue growth is great. I think I think headcount is kind of a vanity metric. But customer churn, I think is a very real, very sustainable metric.
Eric Hornung 40:09
When you’re looking at your kind of three products now, is the facts product, like your opening wedge, does that get you in the door to the other two products? Or is it? How’s that work?
Matt Valeo 40:23
Well, it does today, because that’s our only paid product. So, you know, we have about 1,200 or so we’re approaching 1,300 paying accounts, about 30,000 users. And so it’s great when we launch these new products in the next 30 days, because we have a enthusiastic customer base that knows us trust us knows what kind of support you provide knows what kind of product we deliver, that we can go and sell into. And and we have an immediate opportunity to cross sell and expand or ARPA. That being said, we still have to figure out how to go and get new customers. But the good news is, is we’ve taken a modular and kind of segmented approach to the products. They’re all they all live within the same platform. So the idea is, you know, simplicity, ease of use and moving from one product to the next. But they all have their own marketing sites and domains, which can then feed each other. So for example, if somebody is looking for an E signature solution, we’re not going to drive them to the document website and say, you know, here’s, here’s kind of all these products, I think it’s too much, so we drive them to the site website, we say, Here, it is easy to use e signatures, you know, so that person has demonstrated an interest in one product, we pull them into the platform, and we show them the value of perhaps adding another product and then another. It’s a strategy that we’re taking that we think we think is going to work pretty well because one we have a customer basis sell the products to right away. Two is we don’t have to be one thing for everybody or have a very kind of confusing message with with saying, Hey, here’s all these products in one, we can drive people in to the product that they’re looking for and build a relationship over time.
Jay Clouse 42:00
Real quick question, where’s the M come from an mFax, mSign? What’s M mean?
Matt Valeo 42:05
He was already taken?
Jay Clouse 42:06
Eric Hornung 42:09
It’s Matt. It’s M for Matt doesn’t it?
Matt Valeo 42:11
Well, there’s so the yeah, so that’s that’s kind of that’s kind of the easter egg is you know the the two kind of principles in the company are be myself Matt Valleo and others Matt Scholtes. And so, you know, we were looking to rebrand. We started with the, for a very short time we had this domain that was called Move, and it was like we move documents and but it was bad io. And it was a misspelled version and move. And so we decided, like, you know what, let’s, let’s find a .com. So if I found document.com and we’re like, Okay, what should be called the products right? Do we just say that their fax and sign or whatever, now that’s lame. Then we decided to kind of highlight the M in Documo and say like, oh, let’s just call everything M this, M this, M that. And so, yeah, I mean, it’s just kind of how it all worked out in the easter egg. There is Matt and Matt built the end products
Jay Clouse 43:03
Love it. Were cracking, were cracking the code here. So it seems to me that theoretically, since these products are supposed to help people move documents from Person A to Person B, it seems like if Person A loves mFax they’re trying to send something to Person B, who doesn’t have it, there’s an inherent network effect where they’re going to try to push that person to get on the platform. Is that true? Or is that an issue? Or someone says, Well, I can’t use this because this other party doesn’t have it?
Matt Valeo 43:27
Well, it’s it’s not the last part of your statement is not true, because that’s kind of the least common denominator thing I told you about faxes. If somebody is faxing on one end, and they’re faxing the other end, you know, one end can be an old fax machine transmitting at 8600 baud. And the other end could be a fax server, or right fax server or it could be a cloud Fax Service, or it could be another fax machine, or it doesn’t really matter as long as both ends are speaking the same language similar to SMTP protocol, right? SMTP protocol, right. Like if you’re using you know,Gmail, And the other person is using their own email server, whatever, like, they’re both talking the same protocol doesn’t really matter, right. So that’s the same is true in fax. Although on one end, one person might have a very good experience and the other end, one person might have a very bad experience, because of the whatever medium they’re using, right? So. So you don’t really have that problem where you can’t sell it to someone in you know, because they need the other person to be on the same thing. But you do have an opportunity for network effect. And we’re just at the very early stages of exploring that. One thing that we’ve never done with our product is we never, like put any advertising on the cover page or done something like that. So we’re trying to figure out ways to kind of very gently and unobtrusively help get people to help us, you know, advertise in that way. So we’re kind of experimenting one with like a freemium version of the product where we may have like an advertisement on the cover page, they can use it for free, but with that kind of caveat, we’re also kind of experimenting with other other ways to kind of build those network effects. But we’re in the very early stages of that.
Eric Hornung 45:02
Earlier on in the conversation, you mentioned culture a few times, how would you define the Documo culture?
Matt Valeo 45:09
Eric Hornung 45:11
Well, that was the easiest answer.
Matt Valeo 45:13
No, I’ll expand on it. I mean, you know, I, I have been an advocate of remote work since the inception of this company. You know, it was funny, it’s funny, because a few years ago, when I was out, pitching angel investors, and when I tell them we were fully distributed, I mean, they just, they could not wrap their minds around like, how can the CEO not be where the where the employees are? How can you bond? How can you? You know, I can’t be helpful to you unless you’re in Silicon Valley and like, really, dude, like, the internet’s been here for a while. Like you like, are you literally gonna just be like coming on over and talking face to face every time we talk, like, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that they thought this way and they apparently couldn’t wrap their head around, building a really great distributed team, although I pointed out to them that that there are other people that have done it, you look at Buffer, look at Envision, Zapier, Get Lab. People are proving this out constantly, you know, but I, I knew early on that if I was going to do this, I needed to be very intentional about it. Right, I needed to make sure that there was an environment of collaboration. Everybody feels like they have a voice can make an impact. Basically all the things that in my mind, I thought were wrong with kind of corporate environments. I wanted to do the exact opposite. So that’s how we built our team. And it’s worked out pretty well. I mean, we we don’t have we don’t have employee turnover. Everybody is happy, enthusiastic, incredibly talented. And it’s just, you know, I, one of my biggest worries is that we will lose this at scale or lose some part of it. So, you know, I’m at least making an effort to make sure that culture is a focus when we onboard when we hire and when we look for candidates, and I’d like to keep this hopefully forever, but if not as long as possible.
Eric Hornung 46:59
Why are you worried that you’re going to lose some or all of that?
Matt Valeo 47:03
Well, it’s tougher, it’s tougher. When you have a small team, you know, it’s it’s much easier to be tight knit, like I can personally talk to everybody spend time with everybody. I believe small teams are very much a reflection of the CEO or leadership team, they tend to kind of pull how they, how they think about product, how they think about customers directly from that executive team. But at scale, that’s not always the case. It’s it’s the, you know, the executive team moves more towards a delegation role. And so now you have multiple layers between the executive team and new people getting on boarded. You can’t you know, you can’t realistically spend time every day with you know, 200 people, right? It’s not it’s not a realistic thing that you can do. So I’m not saying that larger, larger companies can’t have great cultures I believe you know, when I look I mean buffer i think is 85 people get live is sure in the hundreds now I don’t know how many people they are but I I’m sure there’s several hundred people and They reportedly have a very strong culture. So I know that there’s a way to do it. I just think it’s, it’s going to be a little more challenging. So I don’t know if if my worry, you know, will play out that way but it is a concern of mine. For that for those reasons.
Jay Clouse 48:13
At this point in the business’s lifespan or lifecycle just about to launch You know, this this new offering seems like the product suite is growing and MRR is growing. What is the the grand vision that you have for Documo like what is the ultimate win if everything goes according to plan.
Matt Valeo 48:32
For me, if if we can solve a real problem and make some kind of positive impact out in the world, you know, by solving that problem, and at the same time build a company that has an inclusive culture is a great place to work to meet that’ll be a win regardless of what revenue figures or exit outcome or anything else. It’s it’s being able to feel good about what you’re doing, that you built something of value. That to me is what fuels me every day. So it’s it’s it’s become addictive since I kind of became an entrepreneur. I have two other companies I’m working on right now, in addition to being you know, CEO of Documo, but you know that that sense of fulfillment you get from doing those things is is highly addictive to me and would equate to a win to me.
Eric Hornung 49:17
How do you think about spending your time and your focus? When you’re working on so many things?
Matt Valeo 49:24
It’s tough. I mean, I, I, I very much have that, that pool to constantly be solving a problem or working on something exciting and interesting. I’ll be honest, I’ve slept very little last six years or so. You know, I find myself working at three, four in the morning constantly, I find myself you know, working hundred hour weeks or seven days a week constantly. It’s tough to find that it’s tough to really find a very good balance just because I am one of those people that kind of constantly feels the need to be productive to be doing something. To be to get that kind of mental stimulation, you know, deep down, I kind of hope that over time, you know, it won’t always be this way, but I feel like I’m in kind of the prime of my working years. So, you know, until I find kind of a better solution for, for balancing kind of that work life balance or health or whatever it is, like I’m just going to continue to push and, and hopefully good things will come of it.
Eric Hornung 50:23
If Dropbox or DocuSign offered you 30 million today for Documo will you say yes,
Matt Valeo 50:29
No, that’s that’s that’s that’s that’s a wildly low valuation. Hello, hellosign Dropbox bot Hellosign last year for 230 million. And they’re at a scale not too much bigger than we are right now. You know, DocuSign trades, it trades at 40 billion in the public markets. And they are you know, they’re an okay product really, with one product. So, you know, I don’t it’s not about the money or the big numbers or anything like that, but I would be doing a disservice to our shareholders. If I were to even consider an offer like that.
Jay Clouse 51:00
Is there anything that we haven’t asked here about Documo that you feel like we should have asked?
Matt Valeo 51:06
Let’s see, what did we cover stage, team, culture? Problem we’re solving? I don’t think so. I think I think I think your, your audience will have a pretty good insight into myself personally in the company.
Jay Clouse 51:20
Well, I love interviews like this, especially about founders that are on the end of bootstrapping, because you are voluntarily giving us numbers that usually we have to ask for. And usually people are pretty guarded about because you’re like, this is, this is what we’re doing. And we’re crushing it. And here’s why it’s great. And I love that. So thanks for sharing all that.
Matt Valeo 51:38
Well, again, like I don’t I don’t come from this mindset. I mean, if a competitor come and ask us for our numbers I’m going to tell them to and I have because we’ve had two large public companies inquire about acquisitions, just in the last couple of months, and I tell them straight up. Well, I’ll tell you everything you want to know because I don’t feel threatened by you. And we play in a big enough market where there’s, you know, there are others always going To be multiple players, no one is going to own this entire market. You’re welcome to try, but I feel I feel very good about my chances to continue to gain market share. And when I tell them that they’re like, at first they’re like, a little bit like, what? And then, you know, they’re like, yeah, okay, you’re right. You know, it’s fine. I mean, you can you can, you can just by looking at any given company and their web traffic, you can kind of guess what size they are anyway. Like, there’s no sense in pretending to be bigger than you are or smaller than you are, whatever like, it is what it is, let’s let’s let your product and your service do the talking.
Jay Clouse 52:32
Well, if people want to learn more about you, or Documo, after the show, where should they go?
Matt Valeo 52:36
Well, you can you can DM me or follow me @Phenomaly on Twitter. I also write a little bit on medium. You can just look for my name. We look for, you know, our company website will lead you to all the product websites documo.com. Yeah, and I’m working on some new projects. One of them’s incognito right now, but I’m going to be putting out a website very soon, actually, probably in the next week or two, the product I’m particularly excited about and I’ll be writing about it and kind of putting it out there very soon.
Jay Clouse 53:06
All right, Eric, we just talked with Matt Valeo of Documo. We got a little bit into the world of professional poker again, how does this keep happening?
Eric Hornung 53:15
This podcast is really just a poker podcast hidden by startups. We have a great poker face.
Jay Clouse 53:21
It’s a it’s a Where are they now have professional poker players?
Eric Hornung 53:25
Yeah. What if that was actually the the hidden message behind Upside the entire time?
Jay Clouse 53:31
Our whole thesis with this show is that the greatest founders and investors are actually former professional poker players,
Eric Hornung 53:38
and they all live outside of San Francisco.
Jay Clouse 53:41
Eight and a half years though, can you imagine that your job for eight and a half years is just being really good at poker?
Eric Hornung 53:46
I can’t imagine doing anything for eight and a half years.
Jay Clouse 53:49
That’s a good point.
Eric Hornung 53:50
You. What have you ever done in your life for eight and a half years that isn’t like live or school? Well, no school school changed, I guess maybe but I mean, if you if you pay through K-8.
Jay Clouse 54:00
Yeah, yeah, I mean, like K through K-8, but also I feel like high school through undergrad like
Eric Hornung 54:08
You thought those were the same experience. I feel so bad for you.
Jay Clouse 54:14
No point being there’s nothing that I’ve done for eight and a half years.
Eric Hornung 54:17
Is there anything that you’ve grown 217% in 13 months, though? That’s the question.
Jay Clouse 54:23
Maybe my calorie intake.
Eric Hornung 54:26
You’re looking felt,
Jay Clouse 54:28
Oh, okay. I appreciate that. Well, Eric, this is a space that I would not call sexy by any means. But we love that. We love that here. We love the innovating in spaces that no one is paying much attention to. And you know, as I said a little bit in the interview, I looked around at faxes, especially in the healthcare space for about a year and I was like, I can’t believe this is the way things are being done. So it’s it’s good to see that someone’s breaking in and having a lot more success than I did.
Eric Hornung 54:59
One of the things that I, I love when we get on Upside is just something on the fringes of entrepreneurship. And it seemed like so much of this interview and so much of what Matt is building at Docomo is like on theme with kind of this emerging style of technology that, I think, and I’ll speak for you here. Okay. You and I have found particularly interesting and convincing. It’s in the tiny seed models and their earnest capital model. It’s in just the bootstrap mentality. We had it with SLP toolkit, now we’re having with Documo, it’s just a different style of entrepreneurship and what gets talked about on Twitter and, and 20 minute VC and kind of all the big podcasts.
Jay Clouse 55:39
The interesting thing is, it’s more like the old style of entrepreneurship, though, you know, people will talk about entrepreneurship on the whole is on a decline in America because people aren’t starting as many brick and mortar businesses. It’s like all software and a lot of those things are getting consolidated or like destroyed. But I mean, traditionally speaking, you had people that were Either bootstrapping or maybe taking a bank loan to start a company and they slowly built a profitability and they build a small team and that became like a great little business. And this bootstrapping movement is really like the digital version of that in my mind, you know, Documo has 11 employees today, they’re doing $240,000 in MRR just under three ARR. What an awesome business that sounds great.
Eric Hornung 56:22
In when I was in between my sophomore and junior year of high school my mom sent me to entrepreneurship camp for a week. And that’s a little fun fact I never told you about they would they taught you like how to write a business plan and that we went and visited different entrepreneurship are different founder around the community every day. And they weren’t software founders or anything like that. It was you write a business plan, you build your financials, you go to the bank, you get a loan, you start the business, and I thought that kind of went away. And maybe the bank portion of that has but the coming up with a plan building a business yourself definitely has not gone away in this country.
Jay Clouse 56:57
And what I love about interviews with founders like Matt Because he has completely built this from the ground up because they don’t have investment and returns necessarily that they’re worried about. We didn’t even have to ask members questions. He’s like, Here my numbers 240 K, MRR, we’ve grown 217%. In the last 13 months, healthcare is 35% of our user base. We’re approaching 13,000 paid accounts. It’s just given us these numbers, which is great. It helps us to understand and see very clearly like, wow, this feels like a very healthy business that is generating a lot of cash. And it took, you know, several years of him teaching himself how to code building the first versions of this, they went through a rebrand and, you know, fast forward several years and you have something that’s growing quickly and doing very well.
Eric Hornung 57:49
I thought it was interesting that he said he would turn down a fairly attenex offer on revenue saying that’s super undervalued. I would never accept that. And maybe I just don’t realize how hot the documents space is. But I think the number he threw out I forget what it was it was significantly high. kind of gets that question of what does winning look like if we were to invest in this company, one of our kind of four deal memo questions. Seems like very limited dilution, very limited appetite for taking on dilutive capital going forward. So if you could get in as an investor, this seems like it would be a, a home run about that. That’s a phrase we’ve never said, we’ve never said on this podcast.
Jay Clouse 58:30
Never, never, never did the sports metaphors. I also, you know, I think this is implicit when I was saying, but let me just call it out. I really like Matt, as a founder. I like someone that is very, no nonsense if you want to use people’s words that I don’t necessarily use very often. Very, no nonsense, very straightforward, very strong opinions that are based in his own data and experience, which I appreciate. You know, he wasn’t trying to prove anything to us or represent anything. That wasn’t true or easily evidenced. So that was a good mark for me on that as a founder. But did you have any thoughts?
Eric Hornung 59:09
He doesn’t really care about the vanity metrics. I mean, we got introduced through Twitter. And we just started kind of talking. And I think the opening quote to this is episode is his his line that he doesn’t see capital as an accomplishment. I mean, he’s building to build, which I like he’s not building to be out there. He said, in our Twitter conversation, that he doesn’t even really do interviews, because he doesn’t really care about the publicity and stuff. So it was more of a conversation. He wanted to share the story that was different. So I yeah, I love I love and as a founder,
Jay Clouse 59:41
What do you want to see from Documo in the next six to 18 months?
Eric Hornung 59:43
I think they’re going from a space that is niche, and there isn’t a lot of innovation happening there because there isn’t a lot of people funding that space. So facts, right, and he talked about how their new products are really expansion revenues. So fax gets them in the door. And then they have the opportunity to go to M sign or M drive those spaces. There is a lot of capital in those spaces that you’re competing against. So wanting to see what that rollout looks like, is is it successful is I mean, when you’re competing, it’s box and Dropbox and Google directly, and DocuSign. And all of these companies that are currently trading at infinite price earnings ratios, it feels like they’re public companies and they have unlimited access to liquidity and capital. They can just outspend you in those spaces. So is fax a good enough wedge to open expansion revenue to keep that 200 plus percent yearly growth? And does it need to be I don’t know. But they’re obviously investing resources into those products.
Jay Clouse 1:00:51
Yeah, that’s that’s about all I had to you know, he said, of the 240 MRR. Almost all that is from mFax and mSign coming in the next month. So six to 18 months, I want to see what they’ve learned and how well that ecosystem is working together and what the biggest upside to having that ecosystem is, is it higher retention doesn’t suck, they have a retention problem. Is it greater adoption? Is that the entry point and now they have a user that’s very sticky. I want to understand more about how that ecosystem works together in concert, and what the growth potential of that looks like.
Eric Hornung 1:01:25
If you have any thoughts to your listener on Documo, or bootstrap companies, or anything we discussed in this interview, you can tweet at us @upsideFM. I’m @ekHornung, on Twitter, Jay is at @JayClouse, or you can send us something a little longer at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will talk to you next week.
Jay Clouse 1:01:50
That’s all for this week. Thanks for listening. We’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s guest. So shoot us an email at email@example.com or find us on Twitter @upsideFM. We’ll be back here next week at the same time talking to another founder and our quest to find upside outside of Silicon Valley. If you or someone you know would make a good guess for our show, please email us or find us on Twitter and let us know. And if you love our show, please leave us a review on iTunes. That goes a long way in helping us spread the word and continue to help bring high quality guests to the show. Eric and I decided there were a couple things we wanted to share with you at the end of the podcast. And so here we go. Eric Hornung and Jay Clouse are the founding parties of the Upside podcast. At the time of this recording. We do not own equity or other financial interest in the companies which appear on this show. All opinions expressed by podcast participants are solely their own opinion and do not reflect the opinions of Duffin Phelps LLC and its affiliates under a collective LLC and its affiliates or any entity which employ us. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. We have not considered your specific financial situation nor provided any investment advice on this show. Thanks for listening and we’ll Talk to you next week.
Interview begins: 11:02
Matt Valeo is the founder and CEO of Documo.
Documo creates document workflow solutions that make working with documents easy, more secure, and better for the planet. Their product suite includes mSign, mFax, and mDrive.
Documo was founded in 2017 and based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Poker as a profession 11:21
- Moving to San Diego 17:41
- What keeps faxing around 22:17
- Rebranding 26:39
- Documo and Bootstrapping 28:05
- Documo’s Niche 30;29
- What does Documo offer 35:22
- Documo culture 45:13
Learn more about Documo: https://www.documo.com/
Follow Matt Valeo: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattvaleo/
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