Sales moves fast.
James Ker-Reid sat down with new Sales for Startups CRO Matt Davies to talk about his first 30 days in the company, mobilising as quickly as possible, and working on flagship Pre-Seed to Seed projects.
Can you introduce yourself, Matt, and tell us more about your role at Sales for Startups?
I have 25+ years experience (that makes me feel old) in bringing new technologies to market, my roles have always been in a senior commercial position. In the late 90’s I formed a virtual reality software business with 4 others, and had a great 6 years working with amazing clients such as Sony, Procter & Gamble, Zeneca (now AstraZeneca) and NATS.
Working in different industries meant we worked on a great variety of applications from training to architectural to sports. That’s where I cut my commercial teeth, being responsible for everything from lead generation and account management to contracting and PR, to name a few. From there I spent time in computer gaming at Codemasters, creating new revenue streams from scratch, then a spell at Nokia bringing a new Augmented Reality solution to market.
After 5 or so years in digital agencies, I joined a Fintech startup called Aire. I was their first commercial hire, and took the product to market as part of the exec team, through a Series A & B funding round and eventually I became Chief Commercial Officer with a team in the UK & US.
My role at Sales for Startups is that of a CRO. I work with tech startups to get them better positioned in the market and get ready for their next funding round. This covers everything from commercial team structure, value propositions, sales processes, and pricing. I’m already working with a couple of very interesting SaaS businesses looking for advice and leadership.
What have you learnt working with multiple startups at once?
It’s definitely challenging! Swapping hats and context, teams, personnel, industries and challenges between calls each day. But it’s also very rewarding as you’re constantly faced with new areas to focus on and obstacles to overcome. It’s early days for me as a CRO and a consultant but the variety definitely keeps the grey matter sharp.
Can you share any highlights from your first 30 days at Sales for Startups?
The main highlight is being able to engage with two very interesting startups almost immediately. There’s no better way of getting up to speed or onboarding if you’re immediately thrown into the deep end with a requirement to roll your sleeves up from Day one.
What is your one tip you would give to any Pre-Seed and Seed startup?
One tip is hard to narrow down on, so I would offer these three things:
- Be prepared for a bumpy ride, if it was easy someone else would have done it by now.
- Get good people on board who fill any knowledge and skills gaps you have.
- Don’t get blinded by what you believe is a good product, be prepared to test and iterate many times before you may actually get it right.
What are you most looking forward to over the next 30 days?
I am really enjoying my work with the two current startups I am working with and look forward to progressing them further down the path to solving the problems we have identified. This will involve making a lot of tough but necessary decisions with their ambitious team as well as choosing a direction for their business.
Beyond that I am looking forward to working with the other great businesses in Sales for Startups portfolio. I can already see that even though every startup is individual, there are common challenges so the lessons learnt from working with one startup will help my development with the next.
Finally, how do you think the tech startup scene has been shaped by the pandemic, and what does the future hold?
I think there has probably been a bit of a boom in tech startups caused by new opportunities being created. As people work from home, most are turning to online shopping and many services have been forced to adapt and become digital.
Also many people have obviously sadly lost their jobs, provoking an entrepreneurial drive. The crux will be in a year or so when things slowly start returning to normal, startups will then really need to have a sound proposition and gain a strong position in the market so as not to fall victim to any redirections of new funding or changing of consumer behaviour.