$19M Raised, 0 to 1M Active Users for Competitive Intelligence Platform Owler with CEO Jim Fowler

jim-fowler

In Episode #433, Nathan is joined by Jim Fowler, the founder and CEO of Owler– the crowd sourced competitive intelligence platform business professionals are using to out-smart their competitive insights and uncover the latest industry news and alerts. Prior to Owler, Jim founded Jigsaw in 2003 and was the CEO until it was acquired by Salesforce in 2010 for $ 175 million.

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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Good to Great
  • What CEO do you follow? – Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — Owler
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? – “How to plan for the worst case scenario and hope for the best case scenario”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:43 – Nathan introduces Jim to the show
  • 02:12 – Jim was at NathanLatka.com/thetop73
  • 02:45 – Where is Owler now?
    • 03:23 – New product of Owler
  • 03:41 – Do I need to build manually or you scrape the data out of searches?
    • 04:32 – Most data input by users
    • 05:00 – HeYo’s data on Owler
    • 05:24 – Data sources
    • 06:00 – Howler’s challenge
  • 06:47 – Data sources without human input
    • 06:53 – “No data set is perfect”
    • 07:15 – Benchmark start
  • 08:05 – Number of active users
  • 08:45 – Making money by selling the data on the backend
    • 08:47 – Crowdsourcing
  • 09:21 – Total revenue in 2015
    • 09:41 – Jigsaw’s success
  • 10:20 – Active user definition
  • 10:50 – Data pricing
    • 11:13 – Licensing deals
    • 11:50 – Competitive proximity
  • 12:30 – Type of company who’s willing to spend millions on the data
    • 12:46 – 3 buckets of types of big partners
    • 13:33 – Resellers
    • 14:05 – Financial services institution
  • 14:40 – Goal in 2016 in terms of numbers to hit
  • 16:20 – Why are the people willing to pay regardless of the accuracy of the data?
    • 16:35 – “Everything that is out there is an estimate”
    • 16:56 – No SLA
    • 17:27 – Why is it illegal to disclose the revenue?
    • 18:42 – “Do crowdsourcing well”
  • 19:00 – Collective intelligence of people: Better or Worse?
  • 21:05 – Role-playing with an angry CEO with inaccurate data on Owler
    • 21:20 – If the data is not correct, fix it.
  • 22:37 – Connect with Jim thru his website. Follow Owler on Twitter and Facebook
  • 24:30 – Estimated number of employees
  • 25:20 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Plan for the worst and hope for the best.
  2. Sometimes, business is give and take – customer takes something that is valuable and we get data that we can sell.
  3. Change is constant and we should improve on keeping track of the changes.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal – Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to quality of Toptal  developers.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • Owler.com – Jim’s business website
  • @owlerinc – Owler’s twitter handle
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives