On this month’s episode of the Struggle, with talk with Joachim Klein, President of ThreeKit. Originally from Germany, Joachim has been living in San Francisco for the past three years. 

ThreeKit is Joachim’s fourth foray into Enterprise SaaS, a field he is fully subscribed to at this point. He started off his path in a company called BigMachines, the subject of the conversation on this episode.  

Joachim joined it in September 2000 as EMEA MD, nine months after BigMachines had been started. The startup helped manufacturing companies provide the best possible quotes for their big machines. Joachim remembers the first year as particularly exhilarating. They were receiving a lot of interest from prospects, had many great conversations with them and all in all got a lot of praise for the problem they were tackling. On top of that, they had raised $30 million in funding so there was plenty of money in the bank. Bullish about the future of the company, BigMachines hired a lot of people that year, preparing for the demand they would get once these prospects became customers. 

Sounds great, doesn’t it? This wouldn’t be an episode of the Struggle if BigMachines lived happily ever after, would it? They ran out of money before they had sold anything. On the verge of bankruptcy, BigMachines was forced to lay off 70% of its workforce. Joachim lost his entire team.

One night during this rocky period, Joachim’s wife asked him, “Would you invest in BigMachines right now?” and Joachim admitted, “No, I wouldn’t put even $100 in. The company is dead.” 

The company didn’t die and instead eventually got acquired by Oracle but not before a major turnaround, achieved thanks to a lot of self-reflection, change, and learning how to sell. That’s the story of this episode of the Struggle.  

If you can be as honest and open as Joachim or any of the other guests we have hosted on the Struggle, get in touch and send us your story on [email protected]