You Won’t Believe What This Divorced Mom Raised $7 Million For

Sheri Atwood

In Episode #714, Nathan interviews Sheri Atwood. She’s the founder and CEO of SupportPay. She’s also a former Silicon Valley executive and a child of a bitter divorce who also went through her own divorce a few years ago. She’s created SupportPay when a search for a better way communicate about child support systems with her ex-husband proved totally fruitless. SupportPay is the first-ever automated child support payment platform poised to transform the complex, time-consuming & stressful process that impacts nearly 300M parents exchanging more than $900B in child support & child expenses worldwide. With SupportPay, today’s modern families can spend less time managing and arguing about child support, and more time focused on raising happy, healthy children. Prior to starting SupportPay, she was a former vice-president at Symantec and also has been named #5 of 50 Women in Tech Dominating Silicon Valley and Top 40 Under 40 Executives in Silicon Valley. She’s energetic, resourceful and lives by the motto “don’t talk about it, be about it.”

Famous Five:

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:23 – Nathan introduces Sheri to the show
  • 02:37 – Sheri is going to lower the divorce rate by showing people that divorce just gets worst
  • 02:49 – Millennials aren’t getting married but are having babies
  • 03:10 – Sheri uses SupportPay and invented it because she didn’t have a solution
  • 03:16 – Child support is made up of 2 things: a base payment that covers basic daily living expenses and then there’s other additional expenses
  • 03:34 – The argument is about where the money is going and if it is enough to raise a kid
  • 03:46 – While doing an expense report in Symantec, Sheri thought of the idea of SupportPay
  • 04:04 – SupportPay started in 2011
  • 04:38 – Sheri was raised by her single mom who was an alcoholic
  • 04:48 – Sheri was one of the youngest VPs in Symantec and she was able to save money from her salary
    • 04:57 – Sheri had multiple houses, cars, boats, gave his ex-husband a house and 2 years worth of salary in the bank
  • 05:24 – Sheri bootstrapped SupportPay at first and she learned to code
  • 05:40 – SupportPay has raised $7.1M total
    • 05:49 – The series A was for $4.1M
  • 05:59 – Sheri has talked to people and there was nothing to support parents
  • 06:13 – Sheri also received calls from vendors thanking her
  • 06:35 – SupportPay is a SaaS business
  • 06:40 – Pricing starts at $9.99 a month
    • 06:51 – There’s also a free version
    • 06:55 – Each parent pays independently
    • 07:05 – Average pay is $10 a month
  • 07:28 – Sheri started hiring people in 2013
  • 07:39 – Sheri learned to code the basic html, css and php by starting her own website
    • 07:50 – Sheri self-studied from books that she found in Barnes and Nobles
  • 08:08 – Team size is 25 and they just relocated to Sacramento, California from Silicon Valley
  • 08:30 – Team has 14 engineers
  • 08:39 – After raising $3M, Sheri realized she couldn’t sustain a business in Silicon Valley
    • 08:45 – Sheri was burning $95K a month
    • 09:08 – Sheri’s equity table is a mess now because of her tech people switching to another company for a better offer
    • 09:16 – Sheri would have focused on revenue a little bit earlier
    • 09:48 – Sheri didn’t have revenue until July of 2016
    • 10:08 – SupportPay was processing $3M in child support
  • 10:19 – SupportPay currently looks at processing $4M a month in child support
  • 10:30 – SupportPay has over 43K customers with 2K paying customers
  • 11:03 – MRR is close to $100K
  • 12:12 – SupportPay has a free 30 day trial
  • 12:27 – The value of the product is the history, which can be used in court
  • 12:46 – SupportPay also provides certified report records
  • 13:31 – Churn on active users is 3% annually
  • 13:57 – Conversion rate from visitor to paid user is 12%
  • 14:50 – The bigger valuation for SupportPay is how it solves the problem of child support
  • 16:00 – After getting into fundraising, SupportPay focused on their revenue
  • 16:25 – 2016 revenue
  • 16:41 – Sheri has talked to Salesforce to get them involved in SupportPay
    • 17:10 – Salesforce is trying to move government applications into the cloud
    • 17:15 – SupportPay will get Salesforce into the government space quickly
    • 17:30 – SupportPay is built on the salesforce platform
  • 18:00 – Tim Draper invested in SupportPay as he saw the value
  • 18:17 – Sheri’s goal for building SupportPay
  • 20:20 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. More millennials are having babies, but are not getting married—this leads to more parents having problems with child support.
  2. Having one less argument regarding child support will alleviate stress for the whole family unit.
  3. The divorce rate isn’t getting any better, it’s just getting worst.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives