Intentional Growth

#234: $0 to $10 Million in Four Years: How One SaaS Start-up Scaled & Sold Without Outside Capital

Intentional Growth
#234: $0 to $10 Million in Four Years: How One SaaS Start-up Scaled & Sold Without Outside Capital
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Hitting on all cylinders requires focus and intention. Terri Soutor, CEO of FastBridge, recognized that early on and chose dedicated partners who had a great idea and, through amazing service, could deliver high value to their target clients. This approach scaled their SaaS-based business 10x over four years, without having to raise outside capital, before ultimately selling to the perfect strategic buyer. Terri shares the strategies behind their exponential growth and what they did to maintain their mission, vision and values along the entrepreneurial journey.

What You Will Learn In Today's Podcast Interview

  • How the University of Minnesota’s Venture Center helped fund and launch Terri's EdTech startup, FastBridge.
  • The differences between academics and business, why it’s hard to commercialize ideas and research, and how FastBridge solved this problem.
  • What FastBridge did to market and monetize their research.
  • Strategies to increase up-front payments from clients to fund company growth.
  • What FastBridge did to bootstrap their growth from 0 to 10 million dollars within 4 years.
  • How FastBridge maintained 70-80% margins without sacrificing their high-quality service.
  • Why knowing your ‘magic number’ way before an exit is crucial.
  • How to stay true to the original vision of your business while getting ready to exit.
  • Terri’s definition of managed growth and how it applies to any industry.
  • What Terri and her partners did to correct dissonance when things became less ‘fun’ and different priorities started competing for resources.

 

Are You Growing The Value of Your Business

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  • Are your company's current initiatives intentionally designed to increase the value of the business?
  • Do you know what you want from your business long term and why?
  • Do you know what your company is worth?
  • Do you know the differences between Management, Family Transitions, PE Firms, ESOPs and Strategic Buyers?
  • Does the business have a written strategic plan on how to achieve the desired normalized EBITDA and valuation?

 

About the Guest:

Terri Soutor is a talented C-suite leader and strategist skilled at building and growing SaaS companies.She took FastBridge Learning from zero to 10 million USD in a four-year span, earning it the rank of second fastest-growing private company in the Twin Cities. Because of her efforts in her field, Terri made the list of The Real Power 50 by Minnesota Business and received the Titan of Technology award from the Minneapolis / St. Paul business journal. She is still dedicated to her original mission of improving teaching and learning in schools through effective, evidence-based innovations in education.

 

Quotes:

22:20 - “But at the end of the day, the research basis and the quality of the product was what was fundamental to the go to market.” – Terri Soutor

31:20 - “We grew really fast. How do we make sure that we weren’t getting out over our skis? So there was a constant rebalancing that I was doing in terms of how we were investing the dollars that we were earning through sales.” – Terri Soutor

35:55 - “We were very intentional of our mission, our goals, and our values.” – Terri Soutor

36:08 - “Before we talked about anything around the business, we talked about mission, purpose, and values and what kind of business we wanted to build with intent. And that really drove most (if not all) of the decisions we made about the business. We always came back to our mission and values.”  – Terri Soutor

41:26 - “Every decision we made started with mission and vision and values.” – Terri Soutor

44:57 - “No one wants to replace the roof; we’d rather remodel the kitchen.” – Terri Soutor

62:54 - “We didn’t need to sell, so it really gave us the time to evaluate the why behind the what.” – Terri Soutor

68:14 - “The minute lawyers get involved, it gets messy.” – Terri Soutor

69:27 - “When you’re going through this kind of a transaction, everybody that’s engaged stands to make money.”” – Terri Soutor 

84:23 - “You can plan not to sell, but be intentional about it.” – Terri Soutor

 

Links and Resources:

LinkedIn: Terri Soutor

Website: Terrisoutor.com

Email: terri@terrisoutor.com

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Brought to you by Ryan Tansom of Intentional Growth