The BizSpark startup of the day is PerkSpot, based in the US. You will find below an interview with Chris Hill, Founder & CEO of PerkSpot. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Chris Hill, Founder & CEO of PerkSpot
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
I am the Founder & CEO and currently focus on business development, strategy, and day-to-day operations.
What did you do before creating your company?
I worked for Lake Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm, managing portfolio companies and evaluating acquisition opportunities in the business services space. Prior to Lake Capital, I worked in Houlihan Lokey’s healthcare investment banking unit.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
It is an honor to be featured along with so many other innovative startups.
What is your company’s mission?
To educate our clients’ employees on the benefits available to them and act as an advocate on their behalf.
How did you get the idea for your company?
At my first job, we had really cool discounts available to us from places like Brooks Brothers, Dell, and Sprint. However, nobody really knew how to take advantage of them as the important details were generally outdated and lost somewhere in the depths of the company intranet. I love these kinds of perks and wanted to help employees discover what they have available to them.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
We successfully bootstrapped our way to profitability but recently decided to begin raising an outside round of financing to sustain current growth rates and capitalize on new opportunities. We are targeting a $1 million capital raise from angel investors and family offices and held a first close in late-January.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
11 full-time employees. 4 developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring and where?
Yes. We are hiring experienced developers and benefits consultants.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
This question was beyond my pay grade, so this answer is from our Director of Technology: Our proprietary web software was built using C# .NET 3.5 with SQL Server backend and our servers run Windows 2008. We chose the Microsoft platform because of its tight integration of OS, development tool, and integration suite. TFS is a key component of our agile development methodology. The ability to have continuous integration has allowed us to bring products and features to market quickly.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet area?
Everywhere. Whether it is consumer web or B2B, national or local, there are literally endless opportunities. We focus on providing voluntary benefits, which is small segment of the broader employee benefits space but still represents a $5 billion industry.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
I love it. It allows us to build a stable, secure and scalable product using best-in-class technologies on a bootstrapper’s budget. Cash is the lifeblood of startups, and the BizSpark Program allows us to pay our engineers to develop our product instead of tying up our money with subscription and licensing fees.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Get out there and build something people will want to use. You don’t need a blockbuster idea right out of the gate, just get something up that will cover food and rent. You will figure out how to make more money as your product evolves and you determine who you customers really are.
Who’s your role model?
Life as an entrepreneur requires hard work, long hours, and a commitment to making your idea succeed. I have great respect and try to model my actions after those who have built great businesses without compromising the more important things in life (ie, faith, spouse, family, friends).
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
Build your startup without pursuing venture capital funding. You don’t need it 99% of the time. I have a unique perspective having been both a growth equity investor and an entrepreneur and, as made obvious in this interview, I subscribe to the idea of bootstrapping your startup for as long as possible.