With the growing popularity of on-demand services like Uber, Instacart and HandyBook, Button is launching the acquisition and retention platform built for the mobile economy. And the company is poised to help propel these businesses into hyper-growth by helping them to retain their best customers – and attract new ones.
They just closed their $2.25 million seed round, led by Atlas Venture led the round, and including investments from Greycroft Partners, DCM, VaynerRSE, Mesa+ Capital, Basset Investment Group, and prominent angel investors Ray Rothrock (former partner at Venrock), Tim Kendall (Head of Product at Pinterest and former Head of Monetization at Facebook), Gary Fritz (former President of Expedia Partner Services Group) and Scott Kurnit.
How did they do it so quickly? Having a team that includes the likes of Mike Dudas (formerly of Google Wallet and Venmo/Braintree/PayPal, and Chris Madden, former Head of Mobile for Venmo, certainly helped. Co-founder and CEO Mike Jaconi is here to tell us what else they did that hit all of the right buttons with the investment community.
What was the funding process like?
The funding process for us was relatively quick. We were blessed with a remarkable team, great market conditions, and an idea that the investment community believed we were well suited to tackle.
I’ve been blessed with a great collection of mentors who have imparted their knowledge on me, and I try to share the learnings I’ve taken from them with entrepreneurs I admire. The guidance typically includes:
- Begin by designing your ideal scenario of investors and the associated capital required
- Make sure that you’re realistic in your expectations
- Create a list of “fall backs,” in case your target investors don’t bite
- Understand you’re going to hear “no” throughout the process and keep your head high – entrepreneurs are a special breed and we are required to have a pain tolerance that’s higher than most
- Build a team that has faced the problems you’re likely to face before and celebrate them, their ability, and their experience
- Find an angel with strategic relationships with target institutional investors – either as an LP or a portfolio company CEO
- Know your numbers – understand the unit economics of the model, and ensure these numbers translate as your model scales
- Have fun – people want to invest in people they like to work with
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge with most financings is having the first institutional investor fall in “officially.” Once the first investor formally comes in – and by formally, I mean they have put it in writing that they are coming in – the process is eased significantly. Bear in mind, though, that you can never really “count your money” before you see it in the bank – as many entrepreneurs have learned, the hard way. But the written word carries more psychological weight than the verbal “in.” Finding that lead – and having them become a champion for you, will make the fundraising process much easier.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
In this order:
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Do what you need to do to raise money. Most businesses show a strong correlation between capital raised and market position versus that of their competition. If investors aren’t seeing the magic in your concept, team, or execution, try to be honest with yourself about the challenges. Don’t be wed too closely to your initial concept. Finding the delicate balance between “the proper level of perseverance” and “the flexibility to pivot” is one of the hardest parts about being an entrepreneur. Set goals and milestone dates. And if you don’t hit those milestones by the dates you’ve set, have a contingency prepared and enough runway to test the new hypothesis.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’re in the earliest stages of our business. We just announced our raise, we’re launching our first product in the next month, and in the near term, our goal is to gather empirical data that proves our hypothesis. This data will be used to attract new partners and build the foundation for Button’s growth.
Of which New York sports team are you a loyal fan?