Tom Kieley, the co-founder and CEO of SourceDay, likes to call buyers the unsung heroes of an organization.
Developing and selling a product is all well and good, “But if you can’t deliver that product because of a supplier miss,” Tom says, “or because of a lead time issue, or just a lack of visibility—which is what everyone in the world is seeing today—it’s worthless.”
SourceDay aims to give those unsung heroes the tools they need to optimize their performance and make getting products out the door as smooth and efficient as possible.
More information: https://sourceday.com/
Tom Kieley is the CEO and co-founder of SourceDay, a supply chain performance software that bridges the gap between the ERP and the supplier network, making it easy to manage changes throughout the direct spend lifecycle. For too long, change has been the only constant for manufacturers, distributors, and CPG brands relying on legacy processes to manage suppliers.
With SourceDay’s suite of collaborative products, entire teams can trace a single part from PO issuance through delivery, giving organizations unprecedented command and control over their businesses. SourceDay has helped thousands of businesses prevent surprises in their supply chains and, in doing so, enabled them to ship billions of parts on time, uncover new cost savings, safeguard revenue, optimize operations and protect sacred customer relationships.show more
Tom leverages a 16-year career in SaaS technology and operations, working for enterprise software providers including Asure Software, Actian and Dell. His entrance into the supply chain space began early in his career, where he served as an operations supervisor for Dell Manufacturing.
Tom has a bachelor’s degree in industrial distribution from Texas A&M University. He is also the co-founder of RightGift, a platform that helps non-profit organizations, charities and schools increase awareness and curate wish lists for critical donations.
DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!
Tom Kieley 0:00
Over time, when you start to build that category, the adoption and the need for wanting to adopt new technology does grow. But it took years of education and, you know, many rounds of fundraising to really educate the market away from status quo.
Alexander Ferguson 0:22
Welcome to UpTech Report. UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at Teraleap.io. Today, I’m excited to be joined by my guest, Tom Kieley, who’s based in Austin, Texas. He’s the CEO and co founder at SourceDay. Welcome Tom. Good to have you on.
Tom Kieley 0:39
Appreciate your time and glad to be here.
Alexander Ferguson 0:41
Now SourceDay is a supply chain collaboration and performance software. So for those who are involved in supply chain and I guess want to have better collaboration with your vendors, more visibility get better performance might be a good platform to check out. To help me understand like the the root problem that you see your customer those who are in supply chain they’re facing today.
Tom Kieley 1:05
Yeah, that’s a great question. And one that’s hard to explain supply chain has been plagued with problems. For many decades. And there’s been a lot of innovation but the way we like to look at the the problem and the world that source day solves and addresses and market is really around the buyers and the buyers, specifically a direct materials or components and parts of finished goods that go into their finished product that they deliver to their customers. I like to talk about the buyers as kind of the unsung heroes of an organization. If you think about sales, and the front of the house, where they’re just always focused on innovation to drive faster and more sales and speed, that piece is all well and good. But if you can’t deliver that product, because of a supplier Miss or because of a, you know, a lead time issue, or just lack of visibility, which is what everyone in the world is seeing today. It’s it’s worthless, you really can’t hit those revenue or customer commitments that you’ve spent so much money accelerating and driving more sales for. So you know, the buyers have been really the unsung heroes and the last ones to really start to get innovation and automation outside of an ER P. So this first day was created out of my co founder and eyes, you know experience being in supply chain, where we’ve now created a platform that gives the buyers the ability to be strategic drive that collaboration to the highest level of exceptions and misses that are going to cause an impact to the business or risk to hitting customer targets. Ultimately giving those buyers a tool and a platform that they can hold the suppliers accountable. And you can really make those buyers be behind some heroes and be strategic in the world.
Alexander Ferguson 2:48
I appreciate that, that perspective, the unsung heroes because we you know, look at that back end of the process, or often we think of supply chain and consumer terms we think of last mile delivery like Amazon, let me get let me get it today that whole conversation faster. But it’s that your focus more on that. What do you call it? The first mile is that first initial step of exactly how to have the source materials to get it and I feel like every consumer has been experiencing shortage issues. Particularly because the pandemic but it’s just like intensified. It’s very in your face.
Tom Kieley 3:29
Yeah, you’re spot on.
Alexander Ferguson 3:31
You you actually got a degree in supply chain from Texas a&m. Right. So already early on, you’ve been in this world?
Tom Kieley 3:39
Absolutely. Yeah, it was, you know, not knowing at the time that I would be starting co founding a company in the supply chain space. But you know, very, very fortunate to have had that degree in that background to help us lead this charge.
Alexander Ferguson 3:53
You know how many I’m sure like, okay, the journey that you’ve been on that got you where you are today, because I’d love to just take a quick moment and hear what that’s like with not sight suddenly like Alright, yeah, I got a degree and build the business and all is well and good. You actually started by working in helping, I think, a large company Dell in the supply chain. So you saw the challenges that come with it. Is that right?
Tom Kieley 4:14
Yeah, so my first job out of college was second shift, boxing line supervisor and so working 4pm to 4am 4am, sometimes seven days a week, sometimes, you know, end of the quarter run in 2830 days straight. And oftentimes we’d run Yeah, we harder for you know, the team members right and really got to that point where you have to run seven days a week three shifts, because of supplier misses your your shut down in the middle of a quarter because of a missing five cent foam and cap on a computer that would you know, would cause us to send everyone home and then you got to make that time up, right. So you send people home for two, three days a week and then you know, make it up over the next 30 days. So that real world experience, you know, was was really eye opening, when I met my co founder who ran a manufacturing company for 10 years, and really also had the very same problems, which was the genesis of, you know, how we came about creating source day.
Alexander Ferguson 5:17
Now, you had another stint before starting source day, actually, was it? Right gift? So this isn’t your first venture, he actually started another company at the same time, is that right? as yours like, in, in business,
Tom Kieley 5:31
a little, Yeah, a little earlier. So, you know, it was my journey to entrepreneurship was probably very similar to most everyone else’s, you know, I was, I was in a great job and a great organization and just realizing, being you know, a number, being, you know, in that role that I was in, was an incredible experience, and I would never change it for the world, but it wasn’t for me long term. And I, I would Daydream, you know, everyday every night, and came to the conclusion of an idea called right gift, which was, you know, that kind of the pre Amazon wishlist world where you could use right gift to create a wish list of items from anything, any website, any store, wedding, bridal showers, baby showers, whatever, you know, whatever you name it. And I really spent 10pm to 4am, five or six days a week working with my development team over in Bangladesh and building right gift from the ground up and bootstrapping it. And you know, as crazy as that was, we got the product off the ground, and it was a passion project, right? There’s no other way you could really do something that level of ours. So it was incredibly eye opening, I wasted a lot of my own money. Fortunately, not not my investors money or any other money, I raised, learning a lot of what not to do in building a software business and creating a company and over building a platform and many other mistakes I made along the way that really helped lead to you know, when when I met my co founder for source day, that experience brought his vision and my experience with source day with right gift to help us build and create what is now known today’s source day. And we use the same team from my rack of development and did the same path again, work the day job, and then nights and weekends, building source day from the ground up as, as we bootstrapped the business for the first two years.
Alexander Ferguson 7:25
First two years that you take you take all the lessons learned from from your first endeavor into entrepreneurship, like, okay, great that that’s good knowledge, now applied to the sector is not not all the same mistakes. Of course, having the support of your family or your wife to make that happen, I’m sure that’s its own. To go from one. Okay, journey to the next one. Yeah, I’m ready for my next business.
Tom Kieley 7:52
Yeah, that’s probably you know, the craziest thing it was, it was an easy decision, when my wife ultimately said, You’ve spent enough of our life savings and in this journey, and it’s not necessarily going fast enough. And growth it was growing in that business exists today under kind of a bit of a pivot, and it’s absolutely doing amazingly well. So it’s, it’s exciting to see that business. But I’m still, you know, a little bit of a piece of today, but new leadership team, and they’re growing like crazy, but my wife ended very, you know, to her credit, it was the right decision to put that to bed and quit burning our own savings and, and then put, you know, my, my experience with supply chain and my co founders and building something that we were, you know, much more capable of making successful and had a much larger audience at the time.
Alexander Ferguson 8:42
Wow. Now, for you to then jump into to SourceDay code that you spent how many years building it? I mean, I’m saying like the journey that that that, that you guys were on? For? Yeah, it
Tom Kieley 8:53
was, it was an overnight success. I mean, it only took us one day. No, I’m, I’m only kidding. Obviously, that the project kicked off in 2013. And about a year into it, we did what most great entrepreneur failures do is we pivoted and and relaunched a similar platform. But we made some some pretty significant pivots. So it took us about two and a half years to really build the enterprise platform, that that exists today and continues to have, you know, a bulk of our spend go into r&d and development to continue making the greater but, you know, we spent two and a half years had probably an infinite number of opportunities to hang it up. And, you know, say, Hey, this is just too hard. We can’t do it. But you know, that I think that’s the number one thing that mentors and others, you know, kept does along the way is just, you know, keep doing it. Right. Don’t give up. Don’t quit too soon. And we were able to actually get it off the ground in mid 2015. And
Alexander Ferguson 9:57
yeah, what was the pivotal moment in 2015 Wow. through what happened there?
Tom Kieley 10:01
Yeah, that’s a that’s a great story. So you know, we we had a product, it was very minimum is minimum of an MVP as you can get. We, we had built an integration to one single eirp called infor syteline, which was the new RP system that my co founder ran when he was in manufacturing. We knew that in I think it was in March of 2015, there was a user conference happening in Nashville, Tennessee. So he and I took some time and took some time off work and family and flew out and the two of us with jack daniels litter, little whiskey bottles as our handouts because no one knew who we were, we were the, the new guy with new guys showing up to a conference that had been going on for 20 years. small little show four or 500, you know, companies and we just posted up with a cheap tablecloth banner and whiskey, you know, jack Daniel airplane bottles and got a ton of attention at that, you know, it ended up working. But we actually got our first three customers at that event. And it was that was really the turning point.
Alexander Ferguson 11:15
Selling with jack daniels as one way
Tom Kieley 11:16
to turn turns out that’s not legal. So you know, if you’re going to hand out if you’re going to hand out booze at a conference, you certainly need to get approval beforehand, apparently,
Alexander Ferguson 11:29
yeah, well, that’s a good way to ask for forgiveness later, when you try to test it. That’s but it’s not the initial interest and to grow from there. For you guys, what was kind of the, the movement beyond that. So take me, you start to get your first few clients. And in drilling into this, this, I guess, you you establish that product market fit.
Tom Kieley 11:49
We had a very early sense of product market fit again, that this minimalist MVP solution you could imagine is what we sold to those first three customers. But what it showed us was was that there is a massive problem in the market that’s not being addressed. And we were able to, you know, even with that minimal solution, we were able to put our customer’s purchase order data into the cloud into the SourceDay platform, and then give that visibility to their suppliers so that they can then start to collaborate against it. And that really created the ecosystem, at least within that DRP system where we got our start and some of our fastest growth, we, I think added another three or four customers throughout 2015. And then, you know, continued to grow through other er peas, you know, throughout the ecosystem over time,
Alexander Ferguson 12:40
those supply chain, are they readily interested in adopting new technology?
Tom Kieley 12:46
No, absolutely not. I say, you know, all joking aside, I think, you know, I don’t know that many people are readily, you know, wanting to adopt new technology just for the sake of adopting new technology, right, it’s, you’ve got to be solving a very real problem and driving very real value. And I think, you know, early on, we had a little bit of that we were lucky to, you know, have found a niche very early that we could go solve, and that niche has now grown into, you know, a category of, you know, direct spend collaboration. You know, we’ve been able to create great partnerships with companies like Oracle, NetSuite, and Koopa, in many other grps, that, you know, have now kind of created that niche into an ecosystem and expand the value. But I think over time, when you start to build that category, that the adoption and the need for wanting to adopt new technology does grow. But it took years of education and, you know, many rounds of fundraising to really educate the market away from status quo, you know, stop living in Excel, email faxes, in some cases, it was pretty incredible to see we still run across customers that are faxing purchase orders,
Alexander Ferguson 14:02
that that movement of the status quo to something better. Were there any, like major hits that over the past 556 years since that conference, that really helped you to kind of level up and get that change mindset? in the marketplace?
Tom Kieley 14:23
Yeah, I think, you know, over the years, right, just just getting more customers into the platform across different grps started to build a broader sense of how big the problem was not just in, you know, one year p ecosystem, but really, there wasn’t a single europei that was addressing this gap outside of the, you know, the RPS system. So, you know, an enterprise resource planning tool is, is comprised of a material and an MRP, right, which does the materials planning and procurement. And once the purchase order demand gets generated, it goes into email, it goes into PD. As it goes into Excel and parts just show up when they show up. And more often than not, based on the data we see, it’s, it’s about a third to 50% of the parts show up late. And that starts to drive significant cost and impact to your customers, you know, ability to get their finished goods on time. So, you know, the demand and the need, you know, is continually grown specifically in this age of, you know, the Amazon effect where consumers have become, you know, you know, just readily available to get something same day, right, even within the same hour of ordering something, you can get things delivered to your home, that mentality has carried itself into the business world where, you know, they cut a purchase order for specific parts, not to build the bus or to build, you know, a gas component or healthcare component, you know, they want it now, right. So that without having visibility to that, or collaboration with your suppliers in a very tight knit platform, you can’t make that possible.
Alexander Ferguson 16:02
I really appreciate the analogy because everyone’s familiar with, let me just go to amazon prime, I’ll get that tomorrow, or maybe even today. But in the business world, in a b2b environment, you’re saying that, that is now becoming the expectation in your supplying in suppliers, you want to say alright, let’s, let’s go ahead, and we’re gonna have to build this. Let’s get this done. Now, right.
Tom Kieley 16:25
Yeah, it’s in going back to what you said earlier, right, that the last mile versus what we are, which will really call the first mile, right? You know, Amazon has perfected that last mile, among many other great direct to consumer organizations. But that big gap that void between the AARP planning and scheduling and all the money that’s being spent also on last mile with freight and logistics and transportation solutions, they’ve left basically a hole the size of Grand Canyon, and every organization that sits between the earpiece planning and when it gets onto a freight carrier, whether it’s a boat, or plane, or whatever it may be, you can only control it between those two endpoints, right? You can’t control the on time delivery of a good or a product or a piece of material. Once it gets onto that freight mode, right? once it’s on the ocean freight, it’s, it’s going to show up when it shows up. So that that point that you can control is is the critical point between purchase order creation demand planning. And when it gets onto that mode of transportation, which is where SourceDay lets, right, our ability to give customers the command and control over their supply chain, where there is opportunity to make an improvement. And to eliminate risk.
Alexander Ferguson 17:44
It makes it sounds like if we dive a little bit into into the platform and tech, you’re relying on suppliers to be a very active and involved in this process.
Tom Kieley 17:58
Yeah, without I mean, without it next to your employees, and really your customers, maybe equal first place across those three would be your suppliers. And the worst part about that is your suppliers. You know, you’re not their only customer, they don’t exist inside your four walls, their trading partners, you know, they’re they’re close partnerships, right. But at the end of the day, you know, you’re reliant on them. And it could be hundreds, in some cases, 1000s of suppliers that you were relying on to a fault to go to deliver your finished good. And that’s how, you know, you look at a supply chain. And I like to often call it you know, the vehicle supply chain, right? If you don’t have every single component that goes into, you know, a bus or airplane fuselage or a piece of landing gear, and you can’t ship it, right, it’s just physically not possible. You can’t ship half of an airplane fuselage right, you’ve got to have all of the components, and you can’t recognize the revenue until you ship it. So you start to do unnatural things like air freight, you know, all of your peloton bicycles for the cost of $100 million, which was done over the last year and a half by peloton because you couldn’t trust your suppliers to get everything to the freight carrier in time to get it to your customers, then you start losing customers to competitors. So unnatural things again, like putting 100 million dollars into air freight shirts to really destroy and erode your margins. Right. So that ability to really put some command and control again, like I said, right into the things that exist outside your four walls, like your suppliers. Imagine, you know how critical that piece of your business is. And you know, they’re not reliant. I mean, they, you know, they’re just doing the best they can, right. They’ve got hundreds, maybe 1000s of customers and and you need to give them the best opportunity to meet your needs, as you can.
Alexander Ferguson 19:49
Have you seen pushback from suppliers to to this type of adoption of a new way to do business?
Tom Kieley 19:55
Absolutely. And that you know, that’s funny you mentioned that that is the number one question that we get on every Discovery sales prospects call ever. And you know, it’s it’s automatic and nowadays right we honestly we just preempt it, we say we know what you’re thinking your question is your objection is my, my suppliers want to use it. But the reality is our data and our success is we now are able to give a guaranteed commitment or you can opt out of a contract with us, if we don’t get you 80% or 100%, whatever that metric is, for their specific business need to deem it successful in the contract. And we’ve never lost a customer during the onboarding phase as a part of that commitment to get those suppliers on boarded. And it’s not just sheer luck, right? It’s, we have built the platform from day one, to be as big of a benefit or a value add to the customer, as it is to their suppliers, suppliers don’t pay to use our platform. We’re typically just with that as another portal. But the major difference between us and the portals that have existed for decades is we actually built this solution with the suppliers in mind. Most portals fail, because they’re built just for the buyer side. And suppliers get zero value. Sometimes it’s entirely impossible to adopt and train onboard yourself. We do all the supplier training, onboarding support adoption, continual check ins with suppliers. We never charge suppliers and we built the solution around the life of a supplier how can we make it easier for them in their day job to be able to service their customers more effectively. And with that mindset, we’re able to build a solution that makes supplier adoption, not automatic, but almost guaranteed to our
Alexander Ferguson 21:41
business, you have two customers, there’s one of them doesn’t pay you.
Tom Kieley 21:45
Absolutely seems like a great business model. You know, joking aside, right, we wouldn’t be successful. And we but we wouldn’t be the company we are if we didn’t have supplier success. So we look at them as a customer, right? We treat them like a customer. And, you know, obviously our pricing model bakes in the fact that we have to support them as a customer, but that’s part of our success. And that’s part of the real ROI. and the value that we drive to our customers is because we get such high supplier adoption.
Alexander Ferguson 22:15
Did you know this the power or the that this is the successful piece that will make it work from the beginning? Like Did you already go in with that mindset?
Tom Kieley 22:24
Yeah, it’s it’s a that’s a great question. And a good story behind it. You know, on the very first day or week that we started brainstorming on the idea of SourceDay, we had a whiteboard. And working in a tiny little room and a spare office, we found we wrote two things on the board. One of the sides of the whiteboard was really, you know, buyer and supplier adoption, right? How do we go get both sides of the marketplace, cuz that’s effectively what it is. The other side was company culture, we both been in organizations that, you know, were great companies. But the culture was terrible. The the environment was not what we wanted to build or be a part of. So we were very focused on both of those components. From day one. We knew that as a successful organization, we had to get suppliers adopting the solution, or it would fail before it even started. So yeah, absolutely was a part of our thesis from day one.
Alexander Ferguson 23:20
Being of the culture and the team, obviously, that’s what makes this all possible. How big is the team today?
Tom Kieley 23:28
We’re sitting at about just over 70 full time employees, and you know, probably another dozen or so interns and contractors, is hiring 30 by the end of the year.
Alexander Ferguson 23:40
Oh, wow. Is there any lessons learned when it comes to building a team as a leader that you can think of in the past?
Tom Kieley 23:48
Yeah, yeah, probably more than I can even think of right now. I learned a lot of lessons with the right gift. We made different mistakes, of course, you know, building SourceDay and probably repeated some of the same racket mistakes as well. I think the number one thing, right, you know, is is you know, obviously, be focused on hiring people with, you know, a well rounded background and both with domain experience and domain knowledge in your industry, and also some that don’t have it. So you can bring in different mindsets and people that are going to look at the problem you’re solving differently. The number one thing that I always go with when hiring and I always challenge my team to go with with hiring is always just go with your gut, you know, in your gut will always tell you, you know, a great bit about you know, is this person a great culture fit, right, because our organization is different than every other organization as every other organization is different from us. Right? And, you know, we’re we’re very much a fast paced, high energy, kind of, you know, exciting, quick, fun place to work. And I think with a lot of opportunity, right, we’ve we’ve been fortunate to be able to promote probably half a dozen or more people from there. realization up through and delete worship, which is pretty incredible given our size. So we’re looking for self starters, you know, that aren’t afraid of, you know, going into a company that might not have all the resources or all the answers and are willing to, you know, have grit and determination to just solve problems. But I don’t know if that answered your question. But the number one thing I think in growth is, you’re going to make mistakes in hiring, you’re, you’re going to have to part ways with people and it doesn’t mean that you know, that they’re not good at what they do. It just means it wasn’t the right fit, right. But the biggest thing to do around that is, you know, hire slow and fire fast. And I hate that saying, but that’s the truth.
Alexander Ferguson 25:41
Are you guys after the co founders, you began your role and yours are passing? What would you say one of the key or pivotal roles that you filled or, or hires that you You brought on that really played into your ability to grow and scale?
Tom Kieley 25:57
Honestly, all of them, but but because, you know, what I, what I always talked with the team about is, you know, there’s, there’s really no one single, you know, role or person in your organization, myself included, you know, that makes us successful, right, we couldn’t do it without the team as a collective. And, and we’ve learned that in some ways, the hard way, by not having enough product management, right. Throughout the time, you know, the last few years, you know, we recognize we needed more product managers, as our product continues to get, you know, wider and deeper. You know, but there’s not a single role that will kill an organization. But I think if, if you look at a true SaaS company, you know, there’s a couple of metrics that are obvious that you have that right, you’ve got to have growth in bookings. And then as equal to that, as important as that is, you also have to have retention, right? So we made an incredible investment early on, in our in our organization history, to put people dedicated and focused on customer success, not support people, not you know, people answering trouble ticket, you know, or chat. But people are actually just holding, you know, weekly, monthly and quarterly business reviews with our customers to make sure that they’re getting the value that we sold them. And when they’re not we go and, you know, how do we fix it? Right? How do we, you know, change that experience for the better. And if you don’t have retention, or a solid customer success team from the beginning, you will lose more customers, then you can create.
Alexander Ferguson 27:23
And you think of any stories are examples of where you gives you an example of how you put customer success as an importance, like any things where it went bad, and you were focused on fixing it.
Tom Kieley 27:39
Yeah, that’s good. We early on, right. You know, we were a mighty team of probably six or seven people and had probably about 20 or 25 or so customers. And we know, we were all wearing all the hats, right? I think at one point, they even let me write a line of code, which was probably a huge mistake. I’m sure I was being supervised. But you know, I spent a lot of time early on with, you know, personally, onboarding suppliers, and, and onboarding and supporting users being the service and support desk. But I think, you know, as we continue to grow, you know, you start to see roles start to percolate and grow with demand, right, we started to see All right, now we’ve, we’ve got 2530 customers, we can’t afford to lose even one or two a year, otherwise, it’s going to be hard to continue to grow, you know, at the rate we want to grow. So we need to go invest in a customer success person. And then, you know, you get to a point where you say, Alright, now we’ve got, you know, 5000 suppliers in the company and the platform using a daily, how do we go make sure they’re successful. So now we have a customer success team and support team dedicated to supplier users. So you start to over time organically see pieces of the business growing. And you you know, of course, need to be ahead of that and be proactive and process and planning and tooling around those growth and scalability issues that happen over time naturally, so that you can, you know, mitigate the risk of churn, you’re gonna lose customers, no matter what you do. Because Because that’s, that’s just natural. But you know, mitigating that with putting the right people and resources and tools in places is critical
Alexander Ferguson 29:24
early on, focusing on enterprise clients. That’s its own game of when it comes to sales and marketing. What have you found as far as tactics that work really well to be able to sell the enterprise?
Tom Kieley 29:38
That’s it. It’s an incredible piece of the business in itself, as you mentioned, right? I think there’s different people in different, you know, experience levels to support mid market versus an enterprise account. You know, we’ve got our first fortune 50 customer when we were about a two year old company, and I think we had 12 people in the organization. And they were a global fortune 50 $80 billion company. And they looked at big competitors. And they took a gamble and what was worse day and they’re still a customer today and, in fact, just signed a three year renewal. You know, so over time, right, it was critical to be able to build a team around companies like that. So that first customer, I was supporting it personally, I flew to China. The year we took them live and helped onboard suppliers helped onboard their buying team, spent a week over there with one of our developers and their team and, you know, did a ton of hands on learning for both sides. And they were a great partner for us. As you know, they knew we were younger company, but they recognize the value of our solution was going to solve their problem as long as they believed it to help us grow with
Alexander Ferguson 30:51
that. What did that sales pitch look like?
Tom Kieley 30:54
This is a great story. So it was actually our second year at that user conference that I mentioned earlier was our first one we went to so this was year two. And my co founder and I were the only self sellers we had until that month, we hired another sale sales member who joined the team, he had one or two years in sales experience. And it was his first month and we couldn’t miss this conference. So my co founder and I went to this conference, and we got a date to go do an on site demo with that prospect. We said, Well, this company is so big, there’s no way we went in any way, let’s send him and let us cut let him cut his teeth on this demo, let him figure it out. So we couldn’t miss an opportunity to go get in front of, you know, hundreds of customers, you know, versus one that we thought we had a long shot of winning anyway. So we sent him and you know, he, he won them over long story short, they came back and told me years later that he won them over with the demo on that first meeting. And we won that deal effectively over the series of six months after that, but that meeting kept us in that deal. And you know, he today, he now been promoted to a VP, he runs an entire business unit for our organization. And it’s been an incredible story and journey for him and seeing that customer now thrive with SourceDay has just been very surreal moment for us.
Alexander Ferguson 32:21
Was it like a special ingredients? Or was it just the right place? right time? right person? Right moments? I mean, how would you repeat that?
Tom Kieley 32:30
Yeah, we so we’ve been fortunate to repeat it many times over, we have, you know, a few dozen large enterprise customers, globally, using source day, that are the really large customers, you know, and we’ve been able to repeat that just, you know, through customer success stories from from these large customers, you know, using the big, big name brands, the household names that people recognize, and promoting, you know, their success with our platform, to the world. So we’ve we’ve done that at several events, and, you know, webinars and white papers and case studies, and that’s continued to help drive organic enterprise growth. And we have also invested heavily in marketing and sales, enterprise efforts to continue to drive that account based marketing and really build that funnel, but it, it takes a concerted effort, and it’s a commitment, those deal cycles can take, you know, 18 to, you know, sometimes 24 or 30 months. So it’s it’s an investment for sure.
Alexander Ferguson 33:32
for you as a leader just kind of you, you you bootstrap the beginning, if I remember correctly, when did you get funding? And what what was the decision process of approving making that happen?
Tom Kieley 33:48
Well, we wanted to eat meals, and do the afford life. You know, I, I had just found out that we were going to have our third child, the week, I quit my full time job. And at the time, we had raised just a little bit of friends and family money. But, you know, we made the decision, you know, my wife, you know, being the amazing rock star. Mother was, you know, was all in as well. So we, you know, we continue down that path. And, you know, at that time, we probably had about 20 customers. And again, we had raised a little bit of friends and family money to get to that point. You know, and in all joking aside, right, we knew that when we had about six or seven customers, we were on to something and we needed to go into the business full time. So my co founder went into the business first. And you know, about six months later, we had raised enough money for me to come into the business full time. And we had already had about four full time employees before he and I were full time. So it was it was an incredible journey to get to that point of just commitment. And, you know, working nights and weekends and really going all in, right and not giving up. And the roller coaster of an early stage startup is very real. There’s a lot of opportunities, like I said earlier to just give up. But, you know, we were on to something that we knew would be great.
Alexander Ferguson 35:18
Was there any, like, favorite quote, or guiding principle or something that you just kind of held on to, to keep going,
Tom Kieley 35:26
um, you know, I don’t know that there’s a quote or a saying other than, you know, the number one thing that we always kept telling ourselves was, is, you know, we loved what we were doing, we, we knew that there was a huge problem that we were solving globally in the market. And it was just, you know, never give up, right? We just knew that we couldn’t give up, we went through a lot of personal and business adversity over the years, just getting to the point where we raised our first dollar. And then when you raise that money, now you’re, you’re responsible, you know, fiduciary, responsible to those investors, right. And at that point, it’s bigger than you and it’s bigger, you know, than the founders. You know, we want to go create something that can create jobs and create, you know, wealth and experiences for people to you know, create their career growth that they want to achieve. So, for us, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s really been about the journey and just knowing, you know, long story to your, your question is, never give up, you know, always keep iterating things are gonna break, you’re gonna make wrong decisions, which you got to pick yourself up and go try something different, and keep trying to solve the problem.
Alexander Ferguson 36:37
What are you most excited about? If you look ahead, for for staying? And what’s coming up?
Tom Kieley 36:44
Yeah, well, we’re about to hit a major revenue, milestone and employee milestone, as I said, I think will probably get get to about 100 people by the end of the year. So I truly enjoy the people, both customers and, you know, team members, that that aspect for me of growth, you know, just is an incredible experience to see, you know, you know, you’re helping, you know, young professionals really build their careers and start families and, you know, start to really go down a life journey and have SourceDay be a small part of that is really just incredible, you know, employees will come and go. But you know, we’ve, we’ve managed to build a really credibly successful, fun and exciting team with a great culture, you know, that that is the most fun for me, I just enjoy, you know, talking with the team, I have one on ones regularly with as many people that that want to be with me in the company. And that’s part of where I spend a good piece of my time is just making sure you know that the people that run our business, that the most important piece of our company, guys, is our people are enjoying it feeling challenged, and you know, getting what they want out of it for their career.
Alexander Ferguson 37:59
a fun question, I always like to ask if there’s always apps and tools, yes, for work for supply chain. But also for personally, is there any just favorite apps that use just like, you know, cheap ones that that you man recommend?
Tom Kieley 38:14
That’s a good question. Chopping that thing off the wall I and I first went, we adopted slack very early on, by my engineering team, you know, brought it to us, we were on Skype, and they said, Hey, we need we need to use slack. And I was like, Man, what is this? It’s just another Im tool. And, you know, so we adopted it. And you know, I loved it at first and I’ve learned to love to hate it. Because it’s just another it’s just another inbox right? But you know, I think what what I would say about it maybe maybe the answer to your question would really be the the integrations that we’ve done with slack that enable our team to be more effective remotely you know, some some pretty exciting things. I mean, we’ve integrated to all of our development tools to a big piece of our all of our marketing Legion tools. And really, you know, to to answer your question, one of the most fun things I think that we’ve done is we’ve created within slack we’ve created this channel called the rock stars channel. And it uses a plugin called karma. And so karma might be you know, as a as a leader of any company. It’s a fun way for peered peers to give peers recognition throughout the organization, so somebody helps you solve a problem or saves a customer issue or whatever may be right. And the karma points can be redeemed for anything right? You can give to donation charities, you can give treats cookies to, you know, a team member or a department or you can, you know, you can buy a happy hour you can give yourself a gift card, you really you can do whatever you want. A lot of our employees will give to charity They’ll redeem their karma points, you know, every couple of months to a charity donation. So it’s really been a great way through COVID especially right for us to really stay connected. And really, I think peer to peer recognition is super critical. And even more so as we’re going through this, you know, kind of remote type world.
Alexander Ferguson 40:21
That’s awesome. I got to go look into this. Congress like ability that’s the type of things is kind of fun. You never you never know about it. Thank you so much for sharing the the journey that you’ve been on in in the supply chain world seeing the problems, you’re like, Alright, I’m going to solve this. You see the opportunities you growing it. And yet the future is still wide open of what you guys can continue to grow into those that want to learn more, you’re going to head over to Sourceday.com and be able to get a demo and explore further. Thanks so much for your time, Tom, this is great.
Tom Kieley 40:53
Thank you. Always a pleasure. Appreciate your time.
Alexander Ferguson 40:56
We’ll see you all on the next episode of UpTech Report. Have you seen a company using AI machine learning or other technology to transform the way we live, work and do business? Go to UpTech report.com. And let us know