We recently had a chat with Nick Moutter from Admedo, a real time bidding platform for display advertising. Nick’s startup has grown at an incredible rate from back in 2012. Here’s our round-up of the chat we had with Nick and some useful rants for startups.
You founded Admedo, but brought on a co-founder at a very early stage. How do you think being a co-founder has helped you build your startup?
Nick: Yes I founded the business back in late 2012. Laura was the first person I brought on board and she acts as another manager of the business. I needed someone to rein me in so she’s really good at the things I’m bad at, so I needed someone to fill that gap. You need to find people who you want to work with and that complement your skill set.
Nick: Caveat, don’t found a business with anyone that you can not trust implicitly, you need to trust the person you are getting in bed with as much as you would be getting married too. That is the most important thing, more so than anything. Besides that, they need to be smart and need to have the same work ethic, or it won’t work.
When and how did you first come up with the idea for Admedo and decided it was time to launch it?
Nick: I had the idea for a while, but it was when I left my job at the end of 2012 as commercial director at MIG that I really decided to launch Admedo.
Has your past experience helped you?
Nick: Massively! I personally won’t back many people straight out of universities as they lack that experience. I grew up in my father’s business so I knew how it worked. I have also been in 3 to 4 different companies at different levels, so I had gathered lots of business experience.
Do you think your background of growing up in that business environment has helped you be a success?
Nick: It increases your chances of success. If you’re a developer and creating some tech or software then not so much, but you need that person around you who has that commercial nous to grow a business.
Has your initial vision of Admedo changed since its launch?
Nick: It’s the same, but it has been tweaked slightly in terms of our target audience.
What would you say is the most important metric you guys are measuring? Is there anything in particular you think is key to growing this metric for you guys?
Nick: Fucking revenue man!
Potential: What about revenue against profit?
Nick: Just revenue, profit comes from revenue. Too many startups treat the process like a glorified summer camp. Businesses are there to make money, so you need to identify your revenue stream from day one. There’s guys like Twitter who never made any for a while, but they knew they could make money from it once they had traffic.
What’s key for growing your revenue then?
Nick: It’s loads of things, but customer acquisition and hiring the right sales people is definitely the most important.
What has been the biggest learning curve so far for yourself as a founder?
Nick: We could talk for hours on this as there’s so many, but mainly the whole fundraising process and how that all works. That has been the biggest new bit for me.
So the process of raising money… how many rounds have you guys been through?
Nick: We’ve done a few smaller rounds and looking forward to another this year.
How was the process of meeting Angel Investors and VC’s? Have you got any advice for startups about this?
Nick: We wouldn’t have got where we are today if it wasn’t for Doug, but don’t tell him that though. (haha) Doug has introduced me to half of my cap table. So my advice to startups is; get in with the most active angels out there, they will then introduce you to others and be your advocates.
What are you most excited about for the rest of 2015?
Nick: There’s loads of stuff! We’re moving to a new office in October, there’s a new website, back-end platform and complete re-brand. We’ve even got 4 new people starting this week and we are working with some great clients like Tesco, Airbnb and Uber.
We hear a lot about founders lifestyles being a 24/7 job, how has your work/life balance really been?
Nick: (Haha) I’m going to rant again here. I get frustrated with people saying “oh I’ve got to work”. For me there’s no such thing as working and not working, if you class responding to emails on your phone as working, then I’m working 24 hours a day. Anyone that segregates the day between working and not working, needs to give themselves a slap round the head. There’s no such thing as working and not working; if you are in the pub on a Sunday and saying with dread that you’ve got to work tomorrow, you’ve got the wrong attitude. So to give you the answer, you’re never not working, you’re just always focused on what you need to achieve. I do this because this is my life, this is the life I am making for my son, it’s everything. I feel that I’ve got a personal obligation to my investors and the people that have supported me; if I didn’t show the same level of work ethic that some of them do, then I would be letting them down.
Has there been any books or websites that have helped you so far? That you would recommend to other startups?
Nick: Don’t read anything that VCs write unless they have been at the coalface themselves. The best thing you can do, if you’re ever going to do anything, is read articles from people that have been there and done it. So… I read an article from Brian Chesky of Airbnb the other day, he’s been there and done it. So if you’re going to read anything, read their experiences. I read a lot of autobiographies, you should read the autobiographies of people who are the old school boys, that’s the type of work ethic you need to have.
How lean has your startup been?
Nick: Compared to our competitors we’ve taken less than a 10th of funding than our closest competitor has taken.
Potential: Why is that?
Nick: We have benefited from being second to market and being able to rely on cloud based technology and things like that to make it a lot cheaper, more effective and streamlined. We’ve done that so that we can sell for 2 or 3 hundred but they can’t sell for less than 7 hundred because of the amount of investment they have taken.
Is this some advice that startups should consider before looking to raise?
Nick: Yes, the need to have a think about how much they are going to be looking to exit for, and what they need to achieve, if they take that money.
If there’s one thing that you wish you knew back when you started, that you do now?
Nick: A million different things, but I don’t regret any of them. They all enabled us to learn or do something that has got us where we are. However, don’t trust anyone! No one is your friend and everyone is out to shaft you.
Currently how many staff do you have?
Nick: We’ve got staff all over the world: 35 UK, 16 Russia, 5 US, 2 Dubai.
How has your team grown since the start and further words for startups?
Nick: Mainly networking and also hiring through recruiters, the whole mix really. One point, which isn’t particular for us now at this stage, but earlier on was, if you hire the wrong people the consequences for monetary and culturally can be huge.
Do you have plans to grow the team by the end of the year?
Nick: Yeah, we plan to have 4 more people start at the end of this week, an internal recruiter being one. We are hiring aggressively across sales, development, marketing, account management and we are looking for a finance director.
As a last point, if you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Nick: I’d probably be senior at one of the agencies or publishing groups.
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