Why I joined Parse.ly as CRO
“Hold on, say that again… Parse.ly is analyzing what over one billion people are looking at online? That’s a sixth of the internet!”
“Yes,” Sachin answered.
“At the same time, Parse.ly is also analyzing how people are interacting with over a third of the world’s top 10,000 sites, spanning some of the greatest companies in the world?”
“Yes,” Sachin answered again.
“And every day over tens of thousands of people in those businesses are relying on Parse.ly’s analyses to do their jobs?”
“Yes,” Sachin answered, once again.
“So why on earth do you need me,” I asked.
It was the end of my first interview with Sachin Kamdar, founder and CEO of Parse.ly, a New York-based early stage technology company that had launched a few years earlier. Parse.ly was starting to make a name for itself among the growing community of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data companies that seemed to be springing up almost daily across the city. I was nine months into my job search, and had already researched over 200 companies, spoken to nearly 50 CEOs, and been offered five “almost perfect roles,” all of which I had turned down. Yet somehow in my search I had missed Parse.ly.
I had left my last company, 1E, which was in the systems management space, the previous fall, and I was looking for my next career opportunity.
I had a very successful run at 1E. The company was based in London and I had launched and led the business in North America. Starting in New York as employee No.1, I built the North America operation into a $40m+ business with over 100 people with no venture capital or private equity backing, just our own sales efforts. I was proud of what I had accomplished, but 1E played in a niche market and growth options were limited. I had a burning desire to do more. So I resigned.
I was a man on a mission. I wanted to find a business that I could scale exponentially, that had a universal appeal, that had great technology and a great culture. I wanted to find a business that was as ambitious as I was, that I could drive from $10 million to $100 million, and then to $500 million. I wanted to find a business with super smart and fun people, who are passionate and driven, who believe in their mission, and who want to change the world for the better through the power of technology.
My friends thought I was crazy. My family thought I was irresponsible. My work colleagues thought I was naive. Companies like that don’t exist, they all told me. I might find a company with some of those things, but not all.
Determined to prove them wrong, I decided to give myself a year. I had a good payout from 1E (so money wasn’t an immediate concern), a strong resume, solid contacts, and an abundance of confidence and energy. Yet here I was, nine months later, still looking. My friends and colleagues were right. There were some really good companies out there, but none of them had it all. Something was always missing.
Meanwhile, Parse.ly was on its own mission:
- It had racked up an impressive eight figures of annual recurring revenue; very few companies make it to that scale with good unit economics like Parse.ly has.
- It remains incredibly lean among next-generation analytics SaaS companies, with a healthy ratio of VC dollars raised to annual recurring revenue.
- It stores 1.5 petabytes (yes, petabytes) of raw data storage for customers.
- Parse.ly’s customers love the company. Many of these customers have used Parse.ly’s products for 6+ years. Parse.ly’s products have a DAU (daily active user) to MAU (monthly active user) ratio of 30%—that is, 30% of monthly users are also daily users. On its iOS app, that ratio is over 50%. That’s practically unheard of for a B2B SaaS app that isn’t a chat or communications app.
- Parse.ly’s addressable market is massive; it’s tapping into the shift of marketing dollars from third-party behavioral targeting to onsite first-party audiences. In the next several years, the most successful companies will be the ones that have met their audience’s expectations for informative content that builds trust.
So as I listened to Sachin describe his vision for Parse.ly, and what the company had already achieved, my eyes lit up.
“Why do we need you? Because I want to turn Parse.ly into the greatest content analytics company on the planet, and I believe you can really help us,” Sachin told me.
At 1E, I spent over $1 million a year on various types of digital marketing, and I never got a satisfactory answer from my team about what was, and was not, working. I was never able to determine whether the content that my team often spent weeks creating, resonated with the people we were targeting, if people really did take the actions we wanted them to take, and if prospects actually responded to our SEO and social strategies. Parse.ly solved all of this with the click of a button. I got it immediately.
So, why did I join Parse.ly? It’s simple: First, Parse.ly met every one of my long search criteria, and came out at the top of the 200 companies I looked at. Second, Sachin didn’t offer me a job, he asked me to join the Parse.ly family, a hand-picked team of super smart experts, working remotely from co-working spaces and home offices around the world. Finally, Sachin and his co-founder Andrew Montalenti (CTO) want to change the world through content analytics and see a huge opportunity to become the market leader. I do too. So maybe that’s the real reason I joined Parse.ly.