Adam Evans is the CTO and Co-Founder of Palo Alto-based RelateIQ, a relationship intelligence platform.
Always go back to your data. We often get hunches about product direction, but often the best nuggets of information to direct your team are hiding in your data. When I’m faced with a problem or I’m not feeling creative, I’ll sort through our data and look for the signals that just might inspire our users’ next favorite feature.
We thought about culture from day one. It was just my fellow Co-Founder, Steve Loughlin, and I at a whiteboard the first week of the company, but we still held Friday demos—a tradition that has continued to this day. We take photos every Friday to document the journey, capturing all the little moments along the way. Building a strong and motivating culture is foundational to building a great company, so we invested in it long before other start-ups typically do.
I was previously working at another startup that was much bigger. We were highly successful, but while we sold amazing software to our customers, our internal tools were seriously lacking. That’s where the inspiration for RelateIQ initially came from. We knew there was an opportunity to alleviate some huge pain points in the modern workflow, from time-consuming manual data entry to misinformed teams and the havoc that wreaks. We received great support after we broke off to start RelateIQ, and I cherish the friends and mentors I met during that time.
We were lucky enough to have access to some of Silicon Valley’s most influential advisers, so we really counted on our network during the fundraising process. The best key learning I can pass on is that, after the seed round, someone has to keep running with the baton. While one of your founders focuses on fundraising (in our case, Steve), the other has to keep the product moving and make sure nothing stagnates while you wait for the final word that you officially have the runway to build the company you’ve envisioned.
We launched in June with stories in major press (The Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch) about our new public beta. Up until that point, we were running a private beta made up entirely of companies within our network. There were a lot of start-ups and a few key larger organizations that we really counted on to provide ...