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Founder in Focus:

Jeremy Hitchcock, Dyn

by melissa withers

Jeremy is cofounder and CEO of Dyn, a cloud-based Internet Performance Management company, offering products to monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure and domain registration services and email products. Jeremy built this juggernaut revenue-first in 1998, skipping outside capital until 2012, when the company took on $38 million from North Bridge Venture Partners. Jeremy is a Betaspring mentor and one of the revenue-first founders who inspired the launch of RevUp in 2015.

1. Looking back, how do you think being a revenue-driven company shaped Dyn's trajectory?

It's made us more sustainable. Peter Drucker talks about how a business's goal is to create and keep a customer. Customers, where value is exchanged for goods and services, are the life blood of a business. By being revenue-first, you optimize for the customer. Scale is overrated—relegated to markets where cost is the predominant feature. Most of us aren't in spaces like that.

2. How has the focus on revenue-driven growth influenced Dyn's company culture?

We use the word customer more than investor and make our decisions accordingly. Being a 24/7 business—connecting customers, content, and commerce online is an 'always on' business—requires a certain level of discipline and detail.

3. You turned down money early in the company's history. Why?

We did. The business wasn't ready for it and the market conditions weren't right. Capital helps scale great teams and excellent product-market fit. If you're heavily capitalized and those things aren't in place, bad things happen.

4. When did you know it was the right time to take outside investment? What factors most motivated your decision?

Most of the time, it's a personal journey. In our case, a co-founder was looking to realign their contributions to the business. We also used it as a forcing function to put a board into place and setup good corporate governance.

5. Top tip(s) for other founders who are building revenue-first companies?
Listen to customers. If you do that and create reasons for them to be more successful through your products and services, you will win.

Why Jeremy's experience matters: funding a company is something all founders must think deeply about, especially given the VC-driven narrative that dominates the startup press.

Developing a comprehensive (and truly strategic) funding plan is not an ideological arms race: founders don't have to be equity-obsessed OR equity-averse. What you need to build a sustainable business is a a real plan. When it comes to capital, knowing what you need, why you need it, and the best way to find it is serious work.

Jeremy sums up the problem with focusing a company's growth plan exclusively on raising venture dollars: "By being revenue-first, you optimize for the customer. Scale is overrated—relegated to markets where cost is the predominant feature. Most of us aren't in spaces like that." We talk a lot about building unicorns, when in reality, they represent just a tiny fraction of the startup market.

So...know thy customer and to thine own funding plan be true.

More about Jeremy:
Jeremy cofounded Dyn as a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2001. Over the years, he has grown the company into a global Internet Performance leader working with the biggest brands on the web. Jeremy’s many achievements as a CEO earned him recognition as an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and numerous Inc. 5000 and Deloitte Fast 500 rankings.

In addition to his work at Dyn, Jeremy is an angel investor and avid supporter of modern education. Jeremy was a leading voice behind the pioneering STEAM Ahead NH initiative that is modernizing public education in New Hampshire and he is the founder of the Dyn Hackademy, educating the next generation of tech entrepreneurs. He currently sits on the board of the Community College System of New Hampshire.

He has written extensively on building ecosystems, running a bootstrapped and hyper-growth company, and education for publications like the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, VentureBeat, and The Boston Globe. He graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Management Information Systems and lives in Manchester, NH, with wife, Liz, son, Matthew, daughter, Catherine, and son, Benjamin. You can follow him on twitter @jhitchco

PS. He's a smart, kind, and down to earth person. Thx JH for being a part of this profile series.

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