$84M Raised, 5000+ Project Management Customers with Mavenlink CEO Ray Grainger


In Episode #479, Nathan interviews Ray Grainger, founder and CEO of Mavenlink, where he’s leading a mission to re-invent the way businesses do work. Ray brings over 25 years of experience in software and technology consulting to Mavenlink. He also invests in several technology companies through Accenture technology ventures including enterprise knowledge manager vendor InQuira.



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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Good to Great
  • What CEO do you follow? – Marc Benioff
  • Favorite online tool? — Evernote
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— I don’t
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “That I would actually end up achieving what I have setup to do”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:24 – Nathan introduces Ray to the show
  • 02:28 – Ray likes corporate world more
  • 03:00 – How Accenture invested in AI Technology
  • 03:20 – Ray left Accenture in 2005 when InQuira started to get into the market
  • 03:48 – Ray already had an idea for Mavenlink
  • 04:45 – Mavenlink is SaaS business management solution
  • 05:09 – Mavenlink is a subscription based business model
  • 05:50 – First year revenue is zero
  • 06:08 – Product development was in February 2009
    • 06:25 – Began monetizing at the beginning of 2010
  • 06:40 – Mavenlink was bootstrapped
  • 07:05 – Before starting Mavenlink, Ray sold some of his stocks of Accenture
  • 07:40 – Before they were able to monetize, Ray and his team already spent almost a million dollar
  • 08:03 – Mavenlink has a broad customer base in over a 100 countries
    • 08:13 – From SMB to large public companies
  • 08:55 – Mavenlink has an inside sales team for each deal
  • 09:30 – Mavenlink partnered with Google
    • 09:38 – Google promoted Mavenlink in their marketplace
  • 10:45 – “The amount of money you have in your bank account influences you”
  • 11:16 – Ray had to look for creative ways to acquire customers
  • 11:41 – Mavenlink sponsored 2 technology conferences
  •  12:35 – It is difficult to say  how much one is willing to spend to acquire a business
    • 13:30 – “You have to manage it by channel and see what you’re going to get for the payback”
  • 13:48 – Gross monthly customer churn
  • 13:52 – “We offer a solution that directly impacts the profitability of the company”
  • 14:18 – Clients who stay with Mavenlink continues to grow
  • 15:41 – The upsell part of Mavenlink
  • 16:06 – Mavenlink target seat price
  • 16:29 – Mavenlink has taken a substantial amount of venture capital starting in 2011
  • 16:52 – Team size
  • 17:18 – Follow Ray on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • 18:56 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. The amount of money you have in your bank account influences you.
  2. Corporate life can hone great entrepreneurs.
  3. Achieve what you have set up to do and aim for the big one.

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 the quality of Toptal  developers.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the 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.
  • Assistant.to – The site Nathan uses to book meetings with one email.
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel.
  • @mavenlink – Ray’s Twitter handle
  • LinkedIn – Ray’s business LinkedIn account
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

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