I can’t believe that it’s already been a year since a 45-minute trip in a rented Chevy Cobalt changed everything.
On September 1, 2010, we had 50,000 Boomerang downloads. I had $4000 in the bank, $3000 in credit card bills, and needed to loan the company another $2000. We’d tried and tried again to raise a seed round in Boston, to no avail. Every east coast angel and VC we could reach passed on the deal. We had a shelf life of about one more month, and then it was time to pull the plug and go get a job.
I was staying at the worst motel I’d ever been in, I had a mild cold, and the flight over had clogged up one of my ears so I could barely hear out of it. I was a wreck.
Then, miraculously, the most fortuitous Tweet in the history of Tweets appeared. Our startup was on the brink, and God intervened, in the form of a short bald dude who talks (and invests!) like a sailor in port.
And the rest is history. Dave committed to invest on the spot, and we moved to the Bay Area two months later. We had the rest of our target round committed within 30 days, and ended up adding a couple investors afterward. For the last nine months, we’ve been able to stop worrying about how to feed ourselves and focus on making our products and our business into what we dreamed they could be.
It’s been fun being known as the guys who Dave funded in a car – almost everyone in Silicon Valley has heard the story – but some have labeled us the poster child for a tech bubble and irresponsible investment.
I’m happy to say that a year later, all labels aside, our company is in a very strong place.
- We’ve crossed 400,000 Boomerang for Gmail downloads, and they’re still going strong.
- We’ve helped our customers with over 2.5 million messages, helping close tens of thousands of deals.
- We’ve helped our customers save over 62,000 hours through The Email Game
- Baydin has appeared in the print and online versions of the New York Times. Twice.
- In the last three months, we’ve brought in more revenue from customers than Dave’s initial investment. (We still ate Ramen for lunch today. True story)
Working with Dave has been amazing. Dave, in private, is contemplative, self-aware, and cognizant of the magnitude of what he’s trying to do. He’s helped us close investors, make connections with journalists, with intros and building our silicon valley network, and with benchmarking and advice on our products and metrics. The public lightning-rod version of Dave gets a lot more exposure than the version who’s always hustling on behalf of his portfolio.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking for a great investor, Dave should be circled right at the top. If you’re looking for somewhere to invest LP money, I believe there is still an opportunity to invest in the 500 Startups fund. We won’t know for 10 years whether or not making a bunch of small bets on scrappy first time entrepreneurs with a ton of users, or betting $41 million on Color pre-launch is a better investment philosophy, but it’s looking good for Dave.
We have a long way to go before we can prove that Dave’s investment in us was a good one. We’re working hard every day toward that goal. We’re incredibly grateful to all of our customers who are finding so much value in our products, helping us pay the bills, and helping us spread the word about how we’re making email better.
Dave, thank you for giving us that opportunity.