When we published a news release last week concerning the ‘record revenues’ St.Cloud’s predictive analytics business eBureau had accomplished during the first half of 2011, the goal was to find context.
While a company spokesperson declined to comment specifically on revenue figures, we did learn more about the realm that this lesser known technology company from central Minnesota is operating in. eBureau has raised a cumulative $38m in equity investment since its 2004 inception — placing them amongst the top of the Minnesota tech pack in terms of capitalization.
- F&F Round: = $8m (2005)
- Split Rock Partners A = $8m (2006)
- Redpoint Ventures B = $12m (2007)
- Tenaya Capital C = $10m (2009)
- ~ $38m total equity capitalization
eBureau’s proprietary suite of products leverages “crazy amounts of consumer data” to help B2C marketers and digital advertisers improve the profitability of their new customer acquisition efforts. Clients within industries like financial services and the credit markets turn to eBureau for instant, data-driven business decisions that answer the question: “What’s the likelihood that an online lead will convert into a customer?”
As the dollars and cents from each individual transaction facilitated by eBureau’s software add up, founder and CEO Gordy Meyer summarizes the annual big picture opportunity in the hundreds of millions between collections, lead generation and online media display.
No man is an island. At the level which eBureau is operating on — six years in with 55 employees and $30m in VC — finding success at this point is a team effort guided by Meyer’s leadership. “Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses will cultivate a balance of skills,” he tells me in a phone interview.
In our interview, he described a rapid growth phase, noting that “Over the last three years, we’ve grown 2.5x, and we’re projected to experience 40% YOY growth in 2012.”
eBureau represents “a second go”, according to Meyer, referring to a previous startup called RiskWise created with partners Jon Moog and Mark Doman, eventually sold to Lexis Nexis for $89m in nine years time.
“This [eBureau] business was built to add shareholder value and return. We know that St.Cloud isn’t the greatest possible place for growing-up a tech biz, but we’ve identified great people here and it’s right place at the right time for us. It’s no small feat to get Silicon Valley VC’s to go way outside their backyard and invest in a central Minnesota tech company,” he acknowledges.
A few of Gordy Meyer’s guiding principles for technology entrepreneurship:
- Be real. “First and foremost, solve real life market problems better than anyone else. Too many people make stuff because they can, but do not understand the commercial viability of what they’re investing in.”
- Fundraising is and always will be hard. “Even though this was my second time raising VC money, we’re always really adapting on the fly.”
- Be adaptable. “It’s unlikely that your first idea and intentions will ultimately be the best way…be willing to change your mindset as well as your product as you learn.”
- Enjoy the ride. “Have fun creating something interesting and unique.”
- Play hard. “If I were an investor or mentor looking at up-and-coming startups, I would bet on the most tenacious entrepreneurs I could find. Scrappy entrepreneurs that just keep on fighting.”