Work hard and the clouds will come out.
Fort Worth, TX
- Branndon Stewart is Founder and CEO of small business marketing startup OutboundEngine. He's helped a handful of Austin startups become success stories, including Boundless Network where he developed and tested the idea behind OutboundEngine.
- Founded in 2010, OutboundEngine helps make great businesspeople better relationship people with done-for-you marketing via email and social media. The company recently raised a series A investment from Floodgate, Silverton Partners, Austin Ventures, and Capital Factory.
- TALK ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF OUTBOUND ENGINE.
- Boundless Networks is a promotional products distributor, that's the business that they're in. They are startup, a technology startup funded by AV and Silverton, and some private individuals.
- So they have distributors all over the U.S. that sell promotional products. They're just really good at enabling them, from sales tools to marketing tools, to CRM and accounting and finance, etc., all through technology to be better than all the rest of the other distributors.
- I was vice president of marketing which is kind of a mixed bag because I had Boundless -- part of your job is to recruit new distributors, so you're recruiting people to your company and then the other half of that is you're helping the people that are part of your company market themselves to end buyers. So that was my role, is to help get more distributors to sign up and become part of the Boundless network and then as well as help them be successful once they were part of that, part of the company.
- So we did things like referral programs, win-back programs, email marketing nurturing programs -- things that they had never been exposed to before but have a huge impact?
- And we were able to do that the scalable way without interrupting their client relationship so we could, we could do all these things and it looks like it's coming from, you know, Bob, your distributor.
- Their clients didn't know the difference, they thought Bob put this together, and Bob has this cool program, when in fact we were putting it all together. We just had ways of branding it and personalizing it for Bob, not interrupting that client relationship, but letting Bob take advantage of all that cool marketing stuff that most independent people can't take advantage of.
- So that was the --That's what we did at Boundless Network.
- And then what we discovered was there's a lot more distributors out there, so this could be a bigger business because the distributors at Boundless Networks loved the idea. And so it was very successful for them, it was very impactful, so we said let's go try to sell this to the industry at large and turn ot into a SAAS company, just charge a monthly fee and do the same thing for other distributors.
- And it worked. Right? And from day one, we grew very fast and eventually got to a point where it just made sense to just spin the company off as its own company, go raise capital, and go take advantage of all the other industries that were asking us for the same solution.
- You know, just a whole host of people that are in markets where relationships are really important and they're kind of on an island, they don't have a lot of resources, like their teenage daughter helps them with their marketing, just those kind of scenarios, go do the same thing for those industries. And so that's, that was the genesis of OutboundEngine.
- OutboundEngine is of your marketing on auto-pilot. And if you go a step further? OutboundEngine is a way for independent professionals or small businesses to automate a nurturing process for their business through email marketing a social media.
- WHERE DID YOU FIND THAT CAPITAL?
- So, OutboundEngine's investors are Austin Ventures, Floodgate, which is Mike Maples, Silverton partners, and then Capital Factory. So those are those our four.
- The way that we sort of ended up raising money from those four investors is probably fairly unique. You know, typically you would go court these guys, do a presentation, etc., etc. We -- instead we built a company that had great metrics, had a proven business model, we had a very specific direction we wanted to go in.
- Again, I think it's very unique, but I think was a product of actually having a real business that had a very promising future and a very direct path and a proven path of how to get there. I think that helped us a lot, you know, raising that money.
- WHAT IS YOUR ROLE?
- I think what I bring to a team is the ability to distill a bunch of ideas and trends and things like that into something that's gonna solve a problem that we can actually make some money with.
- WHAT IS YOUR HOPE FOR AUSTIN’S FUTURE?
- I would love to see more SAAS experience flood Austin. It would help -- you know, we're a pure SAAS company. People that have built it, have distributed it, have built business models around it they understand it, the metrics, that would be a great problem to have, is too many SAAS people to go hire, right?
- I think that's the one thing that is probably the hardest thing to find right now, it's just that SAAS expertise in Austin, because they're all getting gobbled up really fast because everyone wants to be a SAAS company.
- But overall, I don't think you can find a better place, other than maybe the valley, for talent and just the network of people that are able to put you in contact with the right folks. I don't think there's an alternative for me in Texas, period.
- If I couldn't live in Austin, I probably wouldn't live in Texas. I'd have to move somewhere else. Austin is way above all the rest in just about every category I have, it's just a no-brainer.