Brandon Metcalf 4:04
I’ll tell you, I’ll just give you some kudos for what you’re doing there with that because Carter, my VP of Marketing at Place. He said I wanted to do a podcast and like I don’t want to do a podcast, no one wants to hear me do a podcast why in the world would I want to do a podcast he’s like you’re doing a podcast and like if it brings us revenue, I’ll do a podcast. So we started out doing it and it actually just kind of organically like he wanted to do an episode a month. I’m like, well, kind of like me. We’re gonna do it. We’re gonna do we’re gonna go to episode a week, so that it’s meaningful. But it is a great lead generation tool for us at Place because we’re speaking to our audience. So it’s a great way to grant attention. So for anyone who doesn’t want to do it, but your marketing team is saying do it, do it.
Jeremy Weisz 4:53
Yeah, and it’s so many functions Brandon and we won’t get down that rabbit hole but it’s part great partnerships. It’s good for lead generation, it’s good for content, like you said, it’s good for professional development. It’s good for therapy, when you’re talking to other founders who are going through what you’re going through. For all those reasons. Like I always tell people, I do have no one listen, just from the professional development. Like before I talk to you, I do research on you, your companies, and I learned so much just going into the interview before we even do the interview. Right. So it’s pretty amazing. Totally agree. So without further ado, Brandon, let me formally introduce you Brandon Metcalf is an entrepreneur, Harvard Business School graduate with a very deep expertise in the software industry, particularly in the Salesforce ecosystem. And we mentioned he hosts the Cash & Burn podcast. He also oversees three companies, which we’ll get into how does he actually do that Place Technology, Asymbland Blueprint Advisory. And previously, Brandon found a Talent Rover, which is a Salesforce-based global staffing recruitment software company, that he grew to become the ninth fastest-growing software company in the US in 2017, which was acquired in 2018. And right now, I think, Brandon, you’re also you’re not busy enough, you are on the EO board of Austin too.
Brandon Metcalf 6:16
Love the solution, a good friend and the board’s a lot of bonnets. This is my second year on the board. We’re about to take a break next year. But then I’ll probably be back on the board again, the year after that.
Jeremy Weisz 6:29
So, we mentioned you know, Sujan is very deep into the SaaS space. What’s something that you learned from the conversations with Sujan?
Brandon Metcalf 6:40
Oh, wow. I mean, Sujan was a guest on the podcast as well. So he tells a really incredible story about figuring out who your ICP is, and product market fit and all that. He’s a very clever entrepreneur with what he does and how he thinks. He’s just dynamic. So I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He also buys and invest in a lot of SaaS companies as well. So we want to talk about someone who has a finger on the pulse as to what’s really going on at SaaS. He’s a dynamic guy.
Jeremy Weisz 7:11
So Brandon taking us a little bit to today. Talent Rover. Yeah. How did you get into that space? Tell people a little bit about that. And how did you get into that space?
Brandon Metcalf 7:22
God, if you if you would have told me in my early 20s, I’d be doing what I’m doing today, I would have laughed at you hysterically.
Jeremy Weisz 7:28
What did you think you’d be doing early, like in your early 20s? What do you think?
Brandon Metcalf 7:32
I wanted to be an exec. I knew I wanted to be a CEO, but I didn’t know what that meant. So like, when I was in my early 20s, when I was still in school, I started working on what was then Barnett Bank, which is now Bank of America. And I started off as a teller. And there was an executive vice president who really liked me. And one day I just asked her, I’m like, how do I get your job? In a nice way, right? And she’s like, you want to excel? I’m like, yeah, like, what do I need to do? And she’s like, okay, let’s create a plan for you. And remember, one of the first things she’s like, you need to win, our annual incentive trip went great. And we went I need to do and she’s like, well, as a teller, you need to get all these referrals for the personal banker, so they can sell stuff. I’m like, what do I need to sell? And she’s like, well, the biggest thing is credit card apps. Great. So I asked her, I’m like, can I go stand in the drive thru and talk to people as they’re pulling in, like, physically in the car. And I did that, and I started handing them credit card apps, and I crushed my credit card app, or, and I won the trip and all that. So then it was like, well, how do I become a bank manager? Well, she was like, You need to be a personal banker. First. Great, put me there. And there was the same thing, tell me what I need to do. Tell me what I need to sell to go sell to be the top banker so I can get promoted to a branch manager. And she did and I did. And then they gave me my first bank when I was 21 is old to manage. And they sent me to Chicago, open banks in Chicago and all that stuff. And I got bored with that. I also didn’t want to stay in retail banking, I wanted to experience something else. I stumbled into staffing and recruiting. And started working for Kelly Services did really, really well with Kelly. Mike was the sales manager for the state of Colorado. Then they sent me to Sacramento to turn that region around. And then they sent me to Northern California to run their Kelly financial there. So shortly thereafter, I get recruited to a headhunting firm called CB Partners. And long story short at CB Partners I was doing head-on him for like CFOs, VPS, finance, stuff like that. And then I got a random call to go interview at Google. And when Google calls you, you go see what Google wants to talk to you about. So I went through it had a, I forget the exact count, there was more than 20 interviews. I got offered a great job offer but wasn’t super excited about the opportunity, but it was very flattering. So I talked to the CEO of CB Partners, which is the recruiting firm. And I’m like, look, and actually, it was funny, because here’s the thing that all managers hate, right? So you have an employee comes to you saying, hey, can we talk? You almost always know, they’re quitting. So we have a conversation, he’s like, give me a few hours. And let’s talk more like, that’s fine. Come back. And basically says, I can’t pay you what they’re gonna pay you. But you’re one of the most technical guys I know, what if I took a chance on you? And have you run technology for our company, we want to grow, we want to expand at that time, they had, I don’t know, four or five different offices and stuff like that. So I’m like, yes, I want to do that. So I took that job. And started changing telephone systems and infrastructure, all the stuff. The last thing was the software that we’re using was terrible. I hated the software that we had it at Kelley at the time, hated the software we had. And after going through and looking at everything in market, and also really analyzing the whole system that we were using, came up with an absolutely crazy idea that I could build a software, went through, create a business case, create a business plan, all of that went back to Kent and said, I want to do this. And he’s like, okay, this is pretty crazy. Talk to attorneys talk to all this stuff, and decided, okay, we’re gonna do this. So started building it. And then six months into it, I’m like, wait a second. We’re not. So if we don’t turn this into a commercialized product, because we hate everything that’s out there. We looked at everything was there. So what back to Canada? So I got a crazy idea for you. I want to turn this into a business. So he’s like, guess that’s a much, much crazier idea. Went back to the attorney saying what do we do, but then ultimately, we decided to do it. And then that was in the 2009 timeframe, when I started to build at 2011, after CB Partners use the software for a short period of time we went to market and that software is what Talent Rover was. And then I spent the next five and a half years, scaling that company where, ultimately, we had nine offices in eight countries and folks literally, around the world and customers in 40 countries. And it was a big success, we landed the largest staffing company in the world as one of our clients, the Adecco Group, and then landed at a company called True Blue. And then they were just off to the races with these big multibillion-dollar staffing firms. And then our biggest competitor, started chasing us wanting to buy us and the first thing was no. And then finally, it was like, okay, we can’t turn that down. So let’s accept it. And we accepted the deal in December of 2017, and then officially sold in March of 2018.
Jeremy Weisz 12:56
I’m surprised, Brandon, there aren’t more companies that are incubated within larger companies? Because it seems like you do.
Brandon Metcalf 13:06
I do. I just think, where do you go with it. And, you know, one of the challenges that I had to face with Talent Rover is the product couldn’t just be what CV partners wanted. And I think that’s the challenge that you see, I think a lot of companies are incubated. But if you don’t change the vision of where you’re gonna go, if you’re still just the solution for your company, you’re gonna have a hard time succeeding. So I’ll tell you what Talent Rover was so many different lessons learned. But one of them is the diversity like staffing, recruiting and staffing and recruiting from the outside it looks like okay, it’s a fairly simple business to understand the concept of you have companies that want to pay you to go find them employees to hire, it’s not rocket science. But the way you do that the way you differentiate yourself, the what makes you special, but what makes your candidates like working with you, what makes your client likes working with you, what makes you successful and being able to place those people. That’s your secret sauce. And recognizing that companies need diversity. And then it was really with the Adecco relationship that got put on steroids. Where brands does it different from the UK and the UK does it different from Hong Kong, and Hong Kong does it differently from Japan. And there’s all the cultural contexts and politics and labor laws, and it’s just vast, but it goes back to really who are you building the product for? If you’re building it just for your company, you can build a phenomenal solution. But if you’re building it as a commercialized product, you’ve got to expand your horizon and think about what does everyone else want this to do? And listen to them in order for it to be successful?
Jeremy Weisz 14:44
Yeah, I mean, a lot of people had to see your vision for this to happen. You didn’t know. I mean, it seems to me you had to navigate a lot of red tape. You had to get the leaders on board. You had to get lawyers that all this. How did you navigate all of this stuff? I mean to you, maybe you look back, oh, yeah, we did this. But to me, it looks pretty complicated to navigate this in that environment.
Brandon Metcalf 15:09
Some of it was, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. So it was a little bit like, let’s go do this. And coming from a guy who like the banking story is really relevant for how my brain works is, I set a goal, and I’m gonna figure out a way to go make that happen. And I think that comes across, when I’m in business relationships of, I will get things done. There’s also, I believe deeply in relationships, and trust and loyalty. I think, one of the things that helped me with candidates with Talent Rover, is the fact that I did turn Google down in the fact that I did invest in like, when I was building Talent Rover, I would work nonstop, every single day, on the weekend, like I was, I was constantly building that software. And I had just gotten into a relationship. And it was like, relationships number two, this is number one. And I had to manage through that. And I think it was seeing that and seeing the work ethic and saying, I was giving him my all that builds the trust in the relationship that okay, and then also looking at, well, what’s the vision? And what is this thing do? And where can it go? And really understanding the pain and painting the picture of how do you solve the pain in a way that people believe in confidence? Confidence is definitely a huge selling factor in anything you do, or if you believe it, and you can do that, and back it up with why you believe it, people will take big risks on you.
Jeremy Weisz 16:44
One of the things I love about that story, Brandon, in your journey and trajectory from the banking is you went to the people who are doing it who have done it. And you basically just said, like, how do I do what you do, like they help lay out a path for you. And that applies to any industry, really to go to the people are doing and have done it and figure out, you kind of shortcut things by going to the people and they lay out the plan for you now, I mean, simple, not easy, right. And you have to execute it. But still one thing I observe Brandon from the outside is you seem to be really good at building teams. So I love to hear, obviously, you’re running three companies, but you’re not necessarily having to be in all three. So I’d love to hear how your hiring process works. And maybe what you learned, you mentioned with Google, they had 20 interviews. So there’s anything you learned from Google or along the way that you implement in your kind of hiring practices.
Brandon Metcalf 17:50
You don’t need 20 interviews to hire someone. I think that’s a bit extreme. But you do need to do your homework and like, I’ve made plenty of mistakes with hiring people. And in I’ve struggled with building teams at Talent Rover, I look back at that company and say we struggled with really building the right leadership team. And a lot of it was I had too much control of the company. Every decision of that company hadn’t basically go through me when it was a stranglehold for the company. And I didn’t know any better. Now I it’s not how I run the businesses now, which is why I can do more of the things that I’m doing. But I learned a long time ago from just my career and how it shaped to invest in the people that invest in you. And then it goes both ways, finding people, like especially during the interview cycle, asking them questions about the relationships they’ve built, and why they built them, and how they’ve worked. And the question of I love to ask is tell me about how you got to where you’re at. And just seeing what they talk about. If it’s all I’m the best person, I did this, I did this, I did this, and you never mentioned another person in that story. That’s a red flag for me. Because there’s no way you get to where you’re at just on your own. And it’s a red flag of like, do you value the relationships? And do you respect the other people that have helped you get there. And realizing that if you do build solid relationships, you can get a lot further than if you try to tackle things on your own. I’m a big fan of the culture index. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that. I know, we talked about a lot of EO I think culture index is amazing. Really getting to understand how people are hardwired and how people perceive they need to work at a specific job and are qualified or what they how they map to a job. I think that’s all really helpful. I do genuinely value references. Like right now for example, blueprint. We’re hiring a new, either president or managing director to essentially run that business and have a candidate I’m super excited about we’re in the final stages. And we met yesterday. I’m like, I need references. He’s like, what references do you need? I’m like, I don’t know, you tell me, send me the people that are going to convince me that I need to hire you. And all of a sudden, I got these amazing references that I’m going to call and I’m going to speak to every one of them to see, what the conversation is. But if you can’t give me good references that can convince me to hire you, that’s a red flag for me as well. So it’s a lot of the people, you’ve got to hire people that can do the job, obviously. So that skill sets but I learned in recruiting misses, hopefully helpful for this. When I was actually on the desk, recruiting people, I love to find candidates that had terrible resumes. Because the terrible resume is doing such an awful job of painting, why they’re the perfect candidate for a position that I would interview them and dig in and figure out where they’re actually good at or good for, and get them in front of those hiring managers. And then I would convince the hiring manager, you need to talk to them, yes, the resume is awful. Don’t look at the resumes, here’s what you’re going to, when you meet this person, this is what you’re gonna get. And I made more placements on candidates from doing that, because none of my competitors would ever look at that person because on papers I get I don’t get it. But there’s more to a person, then the resume obviously.
Jeremy Weisz 21:19
Love it. Talk about Asymbl, then what did you learn from Talent Rover that now you bring into Asymbl, and I was saying before we hit record, they’re kind of a glutton for punishment, you’re starting this, you’re starting another company in this space.
Brandon Metcalf 21:29
I mean, things just kind of fall into place. When I sold Talent Rover, I thought I was when I was done with staffing and recruiting, not in a bad way, it’s just like, build a great product delivered on what I said. And of course, then you have non-competes and stuff like that, where I’m like, okay, I need to go figure out what I want to do next and started placing blueprint. Asymbl just sort of came because of need. We were being asked to advise staffing firms on how to use Salesforce, how to think about Salesforce, we are also deeply collaborating with Salesforce about how Salesforce should think about staffing and recruiting, and just building relationships just genuinely trying to help people. And that was about a year and a half all that started ago. Which was also ironic, because our non-competes have just ended when all of this stuff starts coming in. So it’s just like timing. And when life is always very interesting to me, but so we start doing all this advisory stuff. And then it just starts to paint the picture that in staffing and recruiting, not a lot has changed in the five or six years since I’ve been out of the space like a lot has, but a lot hasn’t like you still have the same technology platforms, you still have the same challenges. I was at a big conference a few weeks back there, the big staffing industry analyst conference in Miami. And everyone’s talking about digital transformation, like, sure everyone’s talking about digital transformation 10 years ago, and Brad Owens from Salesforce was on a panel and he’s like, yeah, everyone keeps talking about digital transformation, because digital itself has changed. So like he brought up the fax machine in recruiting. And when I first started recruiting, I wanted to sit next to the fax machine. I wanted to sit next to the fax machine, because that’s where candidates sent their resumes. And I wanted to resume before someone else so I could see if I could go place the candidate. So obviously now I don’t know if anyone that has a fax machine. But it’s all electronic PDF stuff. So the world’s changed. So digital is changed. But the technology that I saw on the space and the way to go about technology, I think didn’t evolve then you know, me being a Salesforce guy and Talent Rover being built on Salesforce. They started looking at like a lot of staffing recruiting firms want to use Salesforce because of the way you engage and collaborate and visualize and analyze all of your people interactions, which is how I really think about Salesforce. And there’s really two ways that staffing firms have always engaged with Salesforce, because Salesforce isn’t just built for staffing, right? So you can either build your own solution, which, there’s companies spending 10s of millions of dollars every year, these big billion-dollar staffing firms to do that. Or you buy a solution like a Talent Rover was which was a full platform. Well, there’s limitations with that as well as you buy from Talent Rover, contract with Talent Rover, not Salesforce, and just pricing and limitations. And we came up with a different ideas like, what if there’s a way to assemble your tech stack on Salesforce? Like the analogy my business partner, Greg comes up with, he’s like, think about cable. We used to buy Comcast or whatever cable provider right and you get all of these channels, and there’s usually one channel you really want but to get that one channel you have to pay the extra package to get all the other stuff that you don’t even care about, but you’re just trying to get that one channel and now all of a sudden you’re spending a couple 100 bucks a month on cable. Well, streaming, Netflix completely changed that where instead of having to buy one big package from one provider, now I can go to the individual streaming services and buy for however long I want to use it, the individual, like, shows, essentially that I want. So if I want to watch something on HBO Max, I can buy that if I want to watch Netflix, whatever. But they’ve done it in a way where it’s economical, where I can actually have all of these different streaming services to get the content I want. But I’m still spending less than I would have bought the whole cable package. That’s our same philosophy, which is why we call the company Asymblof let’s assemble business process-specific apps for staffing and recruiting that are on Salesforce. You pick which ones you need, and you simply just turn them on, but you only pay for the licenses for the people that need those specific things. And it’s been really exciting, the reception has been crazy phenomenal. That staffing conference 101 executive is like Salesforce and Asymblcombiner are like a freight train rolling into staffing and recruiting is just going to completely disrupt it. And so far, it seems to be true with just the amount of business that is blowing our way. So we’re excited to see where we go.
Jeremy Weisz 26:16
Brandon, when you were thinking, okay, we’re going to move forward with Asymbl. It sounds like you have a partner, as well. How did you decide to start this with the partner? And how’d you beat the partner?
Brandon Metcalf 26:33
Yeah, so in late 2018, beginning of 2018, I decided to start Place and I wanted to build Place to solve the problems that I had when I was scaling Talent Rover from an operation standpoint. At the same time, I was getting hit up by just a lot of people that knew I was available for wanting consulting, business consulting, Salesforce consulting, software, consulting cetera, that turned into like a healthy little business and that that started Blueprint. And I’m like, Well, I’m not going to walk away from all of this, like, this is great. This is great business, let’s do both at once. And then as Place and Blueprint continued Place definitely became the primary focus. Blueprint, I needed someone to run it. And Greg Simmons who worked with me at Talent Rover, he was basically my right hand for all enterprise sales. And we were in the trenches together, teaching him on to be the president of Blueprint and to run that on a daily basis. You know, I’ve another co-founder and the place I came, who was also with us a talent rover, and he’s focused 99% of his time just on operational stuff Place. So Chris helping me on the play side, Greg’s really running Blueprint on a day-to-day basis. And blueprint is doing consulting work, but also being the distribution delivery arm for Place, because I also learned that Talent Rover, I did not want to be a services company and a product company all in the same company. I wanted to separate the two. And there’s a lot of reasons why. So then, a year and a half or so ago, when we started having all these conversations about staffing again, we originally we were doing all that work under Blueprint. And probably we’re going to continue on Blueprint until all of a sudden, we started thinking, Wait, there’s a software company here that we need to create. And then there was a conversation about do we just keep it all under Blueprint? Well, there’s this thing called QSBS Qualified Small Business Stock, which if you’re in software, it’s something for you to be really aware of. Whereas if you qualify for QSBS, you can actually save a lot on taxes on federal taxes if you exit the business. So we started to analyze that we also started to analyze what’s the potential of the business and we decided, we really do need to separate the staffing software recruiting software away from Blueprint. And then the beginning of this year, we actually formally formalized a C Corp for Asymbl, and Greg is going to be moving or has moved from running Blueprint to now running Asymbl, which is why we’re finding the new managing director for Blueprint that backfill him. But it’s very much a relationship place, like talking about culture index. I’m an enterpriser, like, tried and true, super, super high and let’s just go I’m Greg I forget what he is. But he is as extreme on the low side as mine is on the high side. And our facilitator at culture index was like how in the world do you two get along and it’s like, we have the most symbiotic relationship. We just completely know how to work with each other. And it was through the years of all the work that we did and the trust that we built from Talent Rover that were true business partners and I don’t need to worry about what he’s doing and I’m there to help and guide and motivate and all of that stuff, but he runs the day to day.
Jeremy Weisz 30:04
Amazing. I want to shift gears to Place. Can you talk a little bit about Place Technology?
Brandon Metcalf 30:12
Yeah, so Place has been a fun challenge to live. So originally starting up Place, I wanted to solve financial forecasting for early stage SaaS companies, because we got really good at it at Talent Rover, but it was all manual. All these spreadsheets that I was spending, my accounting team was probably spending well over 100 hours a month on, I was probably spending my personal time 20 to 30 hours a month, while also flying around the world doing all the madness I was doing. Because we needed to have accurate numbers. And really, for us, we never raised institutional money for Talent Rover. But we raised $28 million from angels at Talent Rover before Place, we were doing it all manually. So we’re doing manual direct cash flow forecasts all that. So I wanted to solve that problem that I know other founders had. And when we started Place, we were financial forecasting only. And through the first few years, really started figuring out our customers wanted something different from that. Finance is important. But there’s more of an operational running-the-business element here. And what we’ve evolved to is we essentially do three different things. We do customer subscription management, so managing your first cell with the customer add on licenses, reduction, licenses, renewals, all the reporting around that we do all the revenue recognition. So the ASC 606 daily rev rack, all that fun stuff, we then do billing. So getting your invoices out on time, which in a high volume, b2b SaaS company can be hard, because you can be adding and removing licenses a lot. So what are you actually invoicing your customer managing that? And then we send that into the finance element in the business of doing your financial forecast, your cash plan, and then getting all the analytics. So what are all your metrics? How are you performing in real-time, so you can produce your boards reports and just understand how the business is going. And we do all of that inside of Salesforce, which makes us really different. But one of the reasons why we wanted to do it in Salesforce is it’s really the operating system for most of the SaaS companies. So we wanted to connect the full flow of data, we want to go from sales to cash and give everyone the full visibility of what’s happening in the business. So it’s transparent, you can collaborate on it, it’s real-time. And you can just run a more effective business and automate what can be automated so that you can simplify what you’re focusing on. So you can focusing on your customers instead of focusing on all these disparate systems that you’re constantly having to move data and audit data, and just waste a bunch of time on it. And that’s what we’ve set out to do.
Jeremy Weisz 33:01
Love it. Yeah. If you’re just listening the audio, if you are watching the video as well, actually we’re on the placetechnology.com website. And Brandon, so what are we looking at here? So when I say here, there’s a dashboard here, and you can see a bunch of things. It says pipeline creation, sales cycle, win ratio bookings, ARR, what are we looking at?
Brandon Metcalf 33:27
Yeah, I mean, this particular example is just an example of one of our board reports is board sales performance. So how are we doing from a sales standpoint, we probably have, at this point, close to 200, different dashboards, reports and components that cover the full lay of the land for running a SaaS business. So everything from leads to bookings to actual revenue to expenses, to employees to hiring plans, to cash flow, all of that is grouped together. So with Place we do a lot of this in Salesforce just from operations, where your sales teams managing opportunities, and winning deals and all of that. But then we also have these bi-directional integrations with accounting system. So we are actually pulling in all of your accounting data into Salesforce at a transaction level. So we can do various analysis from what your thought you were going to do to what you actually did. But we can also then give your sales team your customer support team full visibility. So imagine like you’re a salesperson trying to target an account. Well, it’d be really helpful when I go and look at that account in Salesforce, to know what’s our financial relationship with that company, have they ever bought from us? Or have we ever bought from them? Are they a vendor, if they’re a vendor, that’s a much different conversation when I’m approaching them about trying to sell to them that if we have no relationship at all, so it’s just that level of visibility and transparency to try to give people the information that they need to do their job as effectively as possible.
Jeremy Weisz 34:56
Yeah, I want to talk about a use case but first, I just want want to talk about, you know, for this company for Place? You raise funding for Place to, right?
Brandon Metcalf 35:06
Yeah, we’re about. So we’re finishing a small funding round now. So we’ve raised close to about $12 million for Place.
Jeremy Weisz 35:14
So when you made that decision, what were in your mind some of the advantages and disadvantages?
Brandon Metcalf 35:21
I mean, building software company is expensive, especially if you want to grow fast, right. So there’s a lot of conversation with the economic climate right now about this mind shift of switching from growth at all costs, running capital efficient businesses, I’ve actually always tried to run capital efficient businesses, but in software and technology in general, like you have to be innovating you have to be growing, or else someone’s going to come and eat your lunch. So you do have to push and that push requires capital to get there. So I learned a lot from my time at Talent Rover and how we raised money there. And it influenced how we raised money at a Place like Talent Rover was all angel investors, except at the end, our largest customer invested quite a bit with us right before we got acquired. But other than that, there was no institutional ever there, which was a blessing and a curse, right? Like we never had a VC to answer to a private equity to answer to, but we always had angels, and there was always the risk of are you gonna run out of cash or not? Luckily, we had super angels that had the ability to write several million dollars each to fund it. So when I launched Place, I wanted to one welcome all those investors from talent rover into place, because we did have a very nice exit. And a lot of them came over. But I really wanted to bring on a venture capital firm. And I wanted it because I wanted their experience. And I luckily got multiple term sheets from various different VCs, I ultimately chose Geekdom fund down in San Antonio, primarily because I was Angel invested in a deal that they were invested in. So I get to see how the managing partner Mike interacted with Quito, and I really liked his style and approach. So Geekdom invested victims invested in every single round with a sense, Mike, and I have a deep relationship. He’s a great guy, I really respect him. But the value I get from him is just different perspective, different introductions. It’s a healthy relationship where, they’re not trying to micromanage us, they’re trying to help us, they’re really trying to support us. And whenever you’re looking at raising money from someone, you got to look beyond just the check, the check is the check. It’s the rest of the relationship, it’s are they going to help you or they’re going to support you or they’re going to be in your corner, stuff is ultimately going to go wrong? I look at Place. We’ve done pivots, ever since we started like we started off your financial forecasting. And then we added revenue recognition and billing. And now we added customer subscription. And now I think we’ve really figured out product market fit, which we figured out last year. But if I didn’t have the right investors supporting us as we’re trying to navigate this, it would have been very, very difficult not only with trying to figure it out, but having people that didn’t have your back and who have a vested interest in the company. So just like you were talking about recruiting, and how do you select who you hire, you got to do the exact same thing with who your investors are. And sometimes you need to turn checks down, where it’s just not going to help you or the business be successful.
Jeremy Weisz 38:37
Yeah, Brandon, I think there is I don’t know if it was Mike, but there is definitely one of the VCs interviewing you on a show which was, which was really good. They were and it was answered. Okay. Yeah. And so they were walking through some questions. So it was a fascinating conversation. So I encourage people to check that out as well.
Brandon Metcalf 38:55
His podcast, Andrew is a really dynamic guy. They came in the last round for a small amount. But he’s got books written I have a couple of his books behind me somewhere. But his podcast is legit and if you want to learn about the world about VC Andrew Romans is his name. He’s definitely got a follow he teaches a course at I forget what university about ventures?
Jeremy Weisz 39:19
I’m trying blinking on the you remember the name of the show up there?
Brandon Metcalf 39:25
He’s gonna kill me, but I don’t. Well, let me see if I have to look it up.
Jeremy Weisz 39:30
And then the name of their company, what’s the name of their VC firm? Seven VC. Okay. Let’s see. Because I do remember maybe that is the name of the podcast.
Brandon Metcalf 39:47
It’s Fireside With a VC. Okay, cool. Yeah. So if you look for Andrew Romans, you should be able to find it pretty easily.
Jeremy Weisz 39:55
Great. So I want to talk about with Place Technology, if you’re looking at the page here, you say trusted by, you know, b2b SaaS companies and we have a bunch here. So I’d love to walk through those conveyor those Portnox Elise AI what did you do for with Elise AI?
Brandon Metcalf 40:16
Yeah, I mean, they’re a good example of why we’re inside of Salesforce. So Elise is a phenomenal company. They’re in the real estate space. And essentially what they approached us for, or maybe we approached them, I forget how we got connected. But they had been trying to customize Salesforce to truly support running a software, a SaaS software business, like so many companies we see, and trying to really get the full flow from A to Z to work for their business. And what we’ve seen across the board, not just what Elise but generalized is companies spend a lot of money trying to customize Salesforce to get it to do specific things for b2b SaaS, like, how do you manage subscriptions? How do you flow that into billing? How do you get that into your financial systems? How do you understand how you’re performing? And ultimately, it’s a blessing and a curse. It’s funny, because it’s going back to what I was saying with Asymbl, right where you could build or buy. Same thing with this, like most SaaS companies are trying to build a solution in Salesforce to help them run their business, what we do is we come in and say, look, what you’re trying to do is exactly what we built our product to do. So instead of you trying to reinvent it, here’s a component that does exactly that. But because the component is inside of Salesforce, you can still modify it to contain your secret sauce. So like your custom fields, your workflows, your valid data, all that stuff will still flow, but the nuts and the bolts about how’s the data move? How’s the data process? How’s the data recorded? We do that very, very well. So that’s what we’re doing with Elise is solving their customer subscription management challenges solving the rubberneck challenges, solving their billing challenges, and then connecting that all to their financial systems. And it’s why we went on for so many different companies, we just brought on a new company a couple of weeks ago that we’re super excited about, because they were they’re at our biggest competitor. And it’s fun, because now when we go against our biggest competitor, I think it’s about 60% of the time now we win, which is a great place to be in. But we win because we’re not just a point solution of solving. Like one specific thing. We’re a business workflow solution, like how do we help your team really do their job? And how do we connect all the dots for you? So you can automate what needs to be automated, it’s all accurate and correct. But you can focus on doing what you probably want to focus on which is engaging with prospects and customers.
Jeremy Weisz 42:59
So I do want to talk about random continue. It reminds me one of the one that episodes I did. It was Luis Navone, who is the founding engineer at Mobileye, which is like an autonomous vehicle chip company. And they were approached by Intel. And they had that build versus buy conversation, and Intel ended up purchasing them for over $15 billion. So apparently, building it would be a lot harder, but it was key walk through kind of the conversations of that they had with Intel, because obviously they’re gonna go back and go, can we just go build this and not buy this company, but it was would be more expensive. And a lot of times, like you’re saying these companies who try and build what you’ve invested so many hours in money, it’s just it’s hard to it looks maybe on the surface, oh, we could build this, but you have a huge head start and took a lot of time and energy to do that.
Brandon Metcalf 43:52
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s the Asymbltheme even at place is companies still need to be able to create workflows and processes that are unique to their business. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why companies ultimately go to Salesforce, like I hear all the time. For place, they’re like, are you ever gonna have a HubSpot product? Like no, I’m not like the Salesforce ecosystem is plenty big enough for us to play in. And honestly, I think just about every company, eventually from a CRM standpoint, goes to Salesforce. I think HubSpot is a great product. We actually use HubSpot for marketing. And I think it’s phenomenal for that. But I think most companies eventually go to Salesforce and why did it go to Salesforce? Because of the flexibility of what you can do with the platform. So we have this mindset of well, can we create, we think of them kind of as commodities at this point. Can we create the commodity the tool that you need to fill in the gaps for your process, the tool that’s super complex to build that you can try to get right and you can spend a fortune trying to do it, but generally that tool is usually the same for every other type of company. So for every other SaaS company, how you manage subscriptions, initial add on reductions, churn, renewals, the nuts and bolts of that is pretty much the same. Everything else around it can be unique and specialized to your business. And that’s essentially what we do is drop that in, connect it to accounting and finance, get the whole flow of data, making sure that the system is architected in a way where you can visualize and report off of the data in a way that it makes sense. So, it’s fun for me, because everyone’s like, you run three different businesses like now I actually two people that run two of the businesses, I run one, but they’re all so interconnected, like Place and Asymblas much as they’re very, very different products. Philosophically, they’re very similar as to what we’re doing.
Jeremy Weisz 45:54
Yeah. Right. And first of all, thank you. I have one last question. Before I ask it, I want to point people to your websites people can check out placetechnology.com And their podcast link is also on there as well. And then blueprintadvisory.com Where can people find Asymbl.
Brandon Metcalf 46:10
Asymblis just felt a little funky. So it’s asymbl.com. So Asymbl.
Jeremy Weisz 46:19
All right, go and check out Asymbl, I think you could find Asymblunder blueprintadvisory.com as well.
Brandon Metcalf 46:25
This is way just to go to my LinkedIn about me just go to my LinkedIn.
Jeremy Weisz 46:31
So Brandon, last question is, I’m always fascinated by tattoos. And so talk about your tattoos for a second.
Brandon Metcalf 46:46
Obviously, that took me 20 years to get built out. I just have always liked tattoos. It’s funny, because I usually forget I have it when I met. So when I got interviewed for my EO forum group, I was wearing a long sleeve shirt that day, and like we’re in the middle of the interview, and they’re just asking me questions, and I just roll up my sleeves casually, just because they get a little warm. And you just saw all of them go what? Because my personality in a business meeting, you would not think I’m going to be a guy that has a sleeve tattoo. But I do so they’re like, Wait, that just changed our entire perception.
Jeremy Weisz 47:19
How did it change it?
Brandon Metcalf 47:20
I can come across very stoic, very, completely business focused. And then I was like, okay, well, maybe there’s a different side of you. We don’t know. And it’s all this still. Like, I’m still the same guy. Like for me, which is why I always forget to have a tattoo. I just have always liked the way they looked and decided to get one build-out.
Jeremy Weisz 47:40
Yeah. I was asking because I the same thing happened. It was in the middle of I was watching an interview with you. And all of a sudden that you raised your arm a little bit. I’m like, oh, I did not see that. So I didn’t know if there’s anything significant that you have on there. I imagine you’re thinking something permanently on you. There must be something significant. I know. It’s more than honored your heart on.
Brandon Metcalf 48:04
Yeah, no, there’s not any deep meaning to any of my tattoos. It’s just the art. So I’m a big art guy to like, you were on my house. We have a lot of different art because I just appreciate art. And this is kind of how I look at the tattoo. I just they if they’re well executed, they can be beautifully designed.
Jeremy Weisz 48:19
Well hold that off for a second. Let’s take a look.
Brandon Metcalf 48:23
Yeah, it’s all over the place. It’s mostly Japanese expired. Like I’ve got a huge Buddha here, which is my favorite. But I have no direct tie to any of the Japanese piece. I just thought it was really, really pretty.
Jeremy Weisz 48:35
Love it. Brandon. Thank you everyone. Check out Asymbl, Place Technology, blueprintadvisory.com and we’ll see you next time. Thanks Brandon. Thanks everyone.