David Soden, Co-founder and CEO of Aptimyz, talks with Pete Townsend about early entrepreneurial influences, finding purpose in a move from pharmaceuticals to B2B SaaS, the end-all-be-all of delivering customer value….and doubling down during lockdown!
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This week Pete talks to David Soden, co-founder and CEO of Aptimyz, an Irish tech startup delivering a complete and affordable EPOS (electronic point of sale) and back-office management solution providing stability for retail in challenging times. If David and Pete had recorded this right after they met pre-lockdown in February, this conversation would’ve been much different!
Think about it this way - you build some hard-fought traction with your startup and climb right up to the edge of hitting the market in a big way. Then, the unthinkable happens to not only your target market, but the entire world around you, and the physical interactions between consumers and small businesses that were a critical lever to your business, basically drops through the floor. Well, that’s pretty much a masterclass in “Dealing with Adversity” that you can’t get in any business school on Earth.
Being the youngest of five boys in an entrepreneurial household with both parents and two brothers running their own businesses: “It never looked easy, but it was always exciting, and I think I had the bug from that point.”
On one of the biggest takeaways from his days in pharmaceuticals: “It was amazing as a young guy to be involved in a product launch going from zero to $1.5bn in 18 months, with that kind of scale, and see the pre-launch activity through to launch activity through to hyper growth.
On his purposeful move from pharmaceuticals to SaaS: “It was always important to have that north star and know what you’re working for and why you enjoy doing it.”
On his mantra as a startup founder: “It’s not worrying about the money, it’s worrying about whether you’re truly relieving a pain point for the customer.”
On his thoughts on startups: “For anyone interested in doing a startup, it’s isn’t easy, and if it is easy, there’s a good chance you’re fooling yourself that you’ve found something that’s really worth it.”
On digitalizing retail: “It isn’t about having a till or a PoS and then going online, it’s about having a digital business with a physical connection to the customer in store, and the virtual connection with the customer online, but managing it all in one place.”
On the pandemic: “When it hit in March, it was kind of a hold-your-breath moment, and then we realized we could give up, or double down. We doubled down and expanded the team.”
On delivering value: “There are a lot better things that retailers can be doing with their money right now than spending it on old PoS hardware.”
On lessons learned from pitching to investors: “Be sure of what you want going into it because you can’t cry about it afterwards if you end up with a bad deal.”
On looking ahead: “It’s a huge challenge, but we’ll be successful if we deliver customer value. It’s not about the shiny buttons, it’s about helping customers run their businesses more efficiently. “