From Zero to IPO: Lessons in Scaling Mimecast2 min read
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Back in 2003, tech wasn’t exactly having its most glorious days. The bitter taste of the dot-com crash was still pungent. Few entrepreneurs would be blamed for not willing to take a punt by starting a new tech company. Peter Bauer, however, didn’t succumb to that too much. He sensed SaaS would outlive that and become the next big thing. The only proof he had were the early signs that Marc Benioff was onto something with Salesforce and what looked like a shift in the direction Google was taking.
Peter placed a bet on a cloud-based email management system, and Mimecast was born.
From the early days, Mimecast defied rules and expectations. While everyone advised Peter to focus on just one aspect of email, he and his co-founder were religious about creating a supercategory.
It was a bet that could have played out very differently, but a lot of hard work and a tiny bit of luck pushed Mimecast forwards.
In 2007 Peter placed another bet — that Mimecast was ready for the North American market. Peter told his management team they should aim to change Mimecast’s centre of gravity to the US within the next 12 months. They thought he was mad. With morehard work and not falling for the voices of doubt, Peter and Mimecast prevailed.
It’s these stories and many more that Peter shared in conversation with Are Helgason, Principal, Index Ventures on the stage of SaaStock on Tour London. 15 years on the journey, Peter has had the rare chance to lead the company through all stages, including an IPO. He knows equally well the problems of having 5k in the bank and 35 people on the payroll as well as having 140 million in the bank and figuring what is next.
From scaling and hiring to changing the centre of gravity and surrounding himself with the right board members, Peter has made many mistakes and has learned a great deal. He has grappled with constant spouts of Imposter syndrome but has trained himself not to listen to the doubts and instead focus on enjoying the journey.
Listen on to hear:
- How does the thinking behind the product change over time
- How do you know it’s time to move to a new market
- How Mimecast kept the cultural cohesion as it scaled
- What is the best way to approach compensation
- Which is the toughest stage of the journey and how to prepare for it
This conversation was part of a fantastic first stop of SaaStock on Tour in London. The next stop on SaaStock on Tour is Paris on May 3rd. Have a look at the agenda and join us there.
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