Between gritty startup and established tech brand, a company experiences growing pains.
Data marketing company Bluecore is no stranger to fast growth. The company officially launched out of Techstars in early 2014 to help e-commerce companies send their customers relevant triggered emails, aiming to streamline the process of emails sent in response to conditions like birthdays or product purchases.
By 2015, the company raised a $6 million Series A and moved beyond triggered emails, expanding its business toward intelligently triggering personalized communications for e-commerce brands based on data. By the end of the year, raised a $21 million Series B.
In 2016, the company expanded its operations into Europe and counted over 120 employees on its team. Today, the company works with over 325 leading retail brands.
Through this fast-paced, high-growth time, Bluecore has been able to grow while keeping its mission central, particularly focusing on its own people as it scaled. We caught up with some of the company’s leaders to hear more about the most important lessons they learned along the way.
Always be recruiting.
“There are many lessons I've learned in my last year at Bluecore. The lesson that was the most important to me was to focus on hiring the right people based on the specific requirements of the role and ensuring they are in the right roles. To do this, you need to always be recruiting and interviewing so you can proactively address growth spurts and have a specific plan on how you will structure your team to meet the demand.” — Chad Horenfeldt, VP of Customer Success
Scale your mission statement.
“Most startups come to exist by focusing on solving a very specific problem with a narrow mission. This focus is invaluable in the very early days, as the only way to stand out in the market is to be great at solving one problem than being mediocre at solving several problems. However, as the ambition of a startup grows over time, so does the size of the team, and focus starts to become increasingly difficult. This can be dangerous when you have multiple leaders in the organization that need to make decisions on what to do and more importantly, what not to do. One of the top lessons we learned as we scaled the company was to scale our mission statement in a way that represented the aspirations of the company at different points in time. The scaling mission statement allows us to maintain our edge in the market by increasing focus, while simultaneously growing our ambition. The result is that various leaders in the company can operate independently and make decisions that simultaneously advances our cause without sacrificing the focus that is needed to succeed in a competitive market.” — Fayez Mohamood, co-founder and CEO
Empower people to make decisions on their own.
“One of the biggest lessons I learned is that scaling quickly can be difficult if you don’t build the muscle and middle management on the team to empower people to make decisions on their own. It is not simply about culture, execution and pushing through, but developing the organizational processes and leadership development practices to support a large organization. Thankfully the team at Bluecore is both thoughtful and agile, so we have been able to adjust to our changing needs while not slowing down.” — Gavin Hewitt, VP of Sales
Hire great talent across all departments, not just in engineering.
“Hiring the best talent is demonstrably the best use of founders’ time as the company begins to scale. It is not enough for technology startups to hire great engineers. They need to hire great people across all disciplines such as product, business and sales.” — Mahmoud Arram, co-founder and CTO