Q&A with Tony Abena, the new CEO of Insite Software


Tony-Abena-Insite-SoftwareVeteran tech exec, corporate director and angel investor Tony Abena was named the CEO of Minneapolis B2B ecommerce firm Insite Software last week.

With $15m in fresh growth capital in hand, we reached out for more on the past, present and future:

How did you connect with Insite Software?

I’ve known former CEO Steve Shaffer and board chair Ken Holec for some time now, going back to our relationships within Jobs2Web.

After that company sold 2011, they joined Insite and asked me to be on the board there…we started having conversations about what I could bring to the table.

I turned down some interesting opportunities in California and Oregon because (a) I wanted to stay in Minnesota and (b) spend less time on the road.

So we decided it best to raise this baby together, Steve as President and CFO now and me as the CEO. Now, we can do what we’re both better at and build a world class team while continuing to work together.


Why the decision to take $15m from Volition?

Market opportunity.  There’s a mythology about ecommerce that’s it’s all retail focused, but what we have here is B2B in manufacturing and distributing.  We think that between 3-7% of this market is currently up and running online, so there’s a tremendous opportunity at hand.

We’re going to invest money into channels, recuriting and expanding our global footprint.

What does the board look like?

We have a small five person board: Founder Brian Strojny, Ken Holec is Chairman, Steve Shaffer, myself and now minority preferred investor Roger Hurwitz from Volition Capital.

How many employees now and where do you see that by the end of 2015?

We’re at around 11o right now and if we do what we’re supposed to do, I could see us adding another 50 by years end and going up from there.  The large majority will be in Minnesota, but some will be in other parts of the country.

Where else are you located?

Our sales & marketing is in downtown Chicago and we have a western presence in Denver…could be in Asia and Europe too as we figure things out.

Do you intend to grow through acquisition?

That’s a good question.  Our product and platform are pretty complete right now, but yes, there are some partnership opportunities out there.  I’m not sure about the timing, but there’s a number of ways I can see if going.

What’s your number one priority right now?

Number one is continuing to make our customers successful.  I would add that we’re in a war for talent and hiring is a close second for me stepping in.

Have you been CEO & led a software company before?

Not exactly. I was CEO of a Gartner unit, named Gartner Institute, which I ran for a while until I became the COO of techies.com.  I’m still on the Deloitte board, where we’ve invested almost $900 million dollars in corporate VC.

Where is the company at in terms of revenue and where do you want to take it?

We don’t publicly disclose revenues, but we grew top line by 40-50% last year and our goal is to continue to at at least a 50% clip and become a top 3 player in this space.

Are you going to continue as an active angel investor?

Between the ongoing relationship with Deloitte and now this, which is more than full time job, I’m going to pare back…I’m still on the board of some startups like TrackIF and Jingit.

Between the team and B2B market…are you gearing up for a Jobs2Web part two in terms of $100m / 10X exit?

We’re going to graft some of the best practices of course, but I don’t tune a business for valuation, instead for value…the exits always work themselves out.  If we take care of our customers and our people, good things will happen.

B2B E-commerce firm Insite Software secures $15m capital with new CEO
Insite Software names Steve Shaffer as new CEO
Minneapolis B2B ecommerce firm has Insite