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Founder in Focus: Wistia's Chris Savage

Chris Savage is the CEO and co-founder of Wistia, a video marketing and analytics platform that helps businesses host, customize, and measure video content. After graduating from Brown University with a degree in Art-Semiotics, Chris and his co-founder, Brendan Schwartz, started Wistia in Brendan's living room in 2006. Wistia has since grown into a multi-million dollar business with over 50 employees and 50,000 customers. He's been a Betaspring mentor since the beginning and remains one of the nicest, coolest, helpful guys we know.

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

It took us about a year to find our way to our first paying customers. But once we found them it changed everything. We suddenly knew who to talk to, who to build for, and what our company was all about. The focus that comes from building someting that people will pay for has had a massive effect on everything we do at Wistia.

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

Absolutely. One of our core values is Customer First. For us, that means doing whatever we can to make the customer experience amazing. We've invested deeply in Customer Happiness, delightful and remarkable marketing, and building a company where people love to come to work. We've also built a culture focused on the longterm. We get to make these choices because we have been focused on building a sustainable revenue-driven company from the beginning.

3. Did you ever turn down money early in the company's history? If so, why?

When we were raising our first angel round we turned down money from a few investors because we didn't have values matching theirs.

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

We decided to take outside investment because we had a clear plan for the money. We knew which roles we wanted to hire for, had some people we were ready to hire, and felt that raising money would give us a better dhance of success. I have a hard time thinking about raising money without those contraints.

5. Top tip(s) for other founders who are building revenue-first companies?

Put a maniacal focus on delighting your early customers. That delight breeds word of mouth, insight into what to build, and the conviction that you are working on the right things. And stay focused on cash flow. We started giving customers the option to pay annually at one point and it had a massive effect on our ability to scale the business faster as we got cash upfront. Cashflow equals freedom.

6. Comments? Closing thoughts? Reflections you'd like to share?

I'm pumped to see more revenue-driven companies. Feel free to reach out to me if you are building a revenue-driven company and want to trade war stories.

Other profiles in this series:

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