tinderbox venture funding

As you may have heard, Indianapolis startup and former Speakeasy regular, TinderBox recently raised $3M in venture funding. The last year has been big for TinderBox. In addition to this investment, they’ve expanded and moved downtown to join Indy’s Marketing Tech Crescent. 

This is also exciting news for Verge. We love seeing entrepreneurs succeed, but especially those who have pitched on the Verge stage. Our friends at TinderBox haven’t just pitched once, they’ve actually pitched twice and founder Dustin Sapp has also done a fireside chat. Most importantly, TinderBox was introduced to the Verge community by Kristian Andersen, pictured here rocking a mohawk. 

As I watched these two pitches, I was struck at the difference between them. The growth that occurred over the course of the six months between these pitches is evident and contains great lessons for early-to-mid stage startups.

TinderBox Pitch – August 2010

Kristian Andersen, Co-Founder of TinderBox [Hackers & Founders Pitch] from Verge on Vimeo.

At the time of this pitch, TinderBox was young. This was less than a year after the idea struck Dustin and Kristian. This pitch is very indicative of an early stage company, and that’s a good thing for where they were at the time. Kristian starts his pitch by illustrating the impact that tech has had on every stage of the selling process… except for one. For an early stage company focusing on innovation, a focus on exploiting a gap in the market is essential. 

During this pitch, you didn’t see a heavy focus on results, numbers, or testimonials. They had users, but they clearly hadn’t build the product to a level where they were ready to pound their chests over its success. This approach will change later.

At this stage in the game, TinderBox had just completed their first Salesforce integration and raised over $100,000 to invest in development. This investment would show its value 6 months later…

TinderBox Pitch – February 2011

Verge March Meetup – Tinderbox from Verge on Vimeo.

Six months later, Kristian’s co-founder, Dustin Sapp took the Verge stage to show their progress. Right off the bat, you can tell this is a more confident pitch. At this point, they’re not trying to build something… They have built something awesome and they know it.

What sold this pitch, however, was the fact that they had backup. Dustin had real results from real clients (including one who was in attendance) that he could point to. These articulated extremely clearly exactly what problems they were solving it and how valuable these solutions are to their current clients. The growth strategy at this stage in the game was based on targeting more high-value enterprise clients, and articulating the problems they’re solving for their current clients can attract that level of prospect.

It’s worth noting that by the time this pitch happened 6 months later, they had improved their functionality and Salesforce integration. They had acquired customers in 7 countries, speaking 4 different languages, and had surpassed their 2010 revenue in the first 75 days of 2011.

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 8.54.30 PM
Just a reminder that Kristian Andersen did, in fact, have a mohawk

Today, TinderBox is much bigger, but even more ripe for growth. We’re extremely excited to see what happens as they continue to grow and we’re big believers that they have a lot more growing left to do.

I know we have a lot of TinderBox employees, customers, and investors that are Verge regulars. I’d be interested to know: What’s going on at the TinderBox offices that has investors, clients, and job hunters alike so excited? What has been your experience with TinderBox and what can that tell us about their future growth?