Matt Tumbleson is an entrepreneur with a mission: to change the way people communicate with companies.
Matt and his company, Teckst, believe if they can change customer service communication over to efficient texting, it will make life for billions of people better.
It's why Matt cashed out of Seamless, where he helped lead their IPO, and used the money to start Teckst out of his home. Now, they are on the fast track.
I met Matt Tumbleson shortly after he left Seamless-Grubhub, following their successful IPO while he was Creative Director, as he was planning his new startup Teckst.
That was February 2015, and Teckst was a team of one.
Now, Teckst is a team of eight, with growing sales, over 50 clients, and two rounds of friendly capital under Matt's belt.
I caught up with him on how it felt to go from managing an IPO to managing a startup of one, then how it has felt to evolve that startup to the point where he now feels he could be managing an IPO again in a few years - this time as CEO.
Matt explains his thoughts best in his own words, so I wrote my questions and his responses for you below.
1) What do you see as the key differences between being on an IPO team and running an early startup?
Managing an IPO is surprisingly similar to running a startup. There are so many variables at play on a daily basis that there's no way to actually control every element. Similar to herding cats, you direct things as well as possible to keep them moving in the right direction, but you've got to accept that nothing will be perfect.
An IPO is not an endpoint, but rather a pitstop on the way to a much larger goal. Although running a startup we are far from an IPO, collectively, the entire team is on the same journey together. Every day we're overcoming obstacles, but we're all on the same trajectory towards a common endpoint.
2) What advice would you provide for founders and companies going through, or planning to go through, IPOs?
Keep the gang together. An IPO is just one part of a company's growth, so communicate as much as possible that, unlike turning 65 and retiring, the work is not over, and everyone who got the company to the IPO is important.
A large influx of money and the oversight of a large group of investors will change a company. Be as transparent as possible with everyone in the company what the plans are for growth and expansion.
3) Do you see running a seed stage startup as more fulfilling than helping manage an IPO?
As the Founder of Teckst, there's certainly a rich level of fulfillment seeing our team and product grow. There are so many companies that are "cool brands" that you read about in magazines like Inc. Now that we're signing them as clients, it's absolutely euphoric. Plus, each and every person on the team has learned so much we sometimes refer to Teckst as a university.
4) Who are your role models in the startup world?
Elon Musk tops the list. He imagines what life should be like in 50 years, then he makes it happen in two. I admire his massive influence and his ability to get stuff done. I also admire Tim Cook for being an openly gay CEO of one of history's most successful companies. His unwavering support for diversity extends far outside the walls of Apple, and his speed-for better or worse-to take a stance on issues is incredible.
5) Where do you see Teckst in two years?
Google built an empire because of the ability of the people working there to create amazing things. I see Teckst taking a similar path. We're gathering the best talent and giving them the platform to make incredible things for businesses and their customers.
For me: texting with businesses will be as ubiquitous as texting with my mom.