Peter has been been a part of building companies like Photobucket and was responsible for driving growth to 61M users, leading its $300M acquisition in 2007. Peter then turned his energy in helping people save money as CEO of BillShrink from inception to their 1st Million users in a little over a year.
Continuing the journey of building early stage companies Peter was the Co-Founder & President of colour exploring the future of mobile and social interactions through proximity. Now at Science he helps build alongside CEO’s companies like Dollar Shave Club, DogVacay, Uncovet, Ellie and Let’s Date.
Q: You grew one of your first startups Photobucket to 61m users which in turn got it acquired for $300M. You then launched BillShrink and quickly grew it to 1M users. What was your strategy in acquiring users?
Customer acquisition has changed a bit over the years as a great product will continue to have channels such as Facebook and Twitter to accelerate through word of mouth. For both Photobucket and BillShrink we definitely had a product that was differentiated, but in both cases some big business development deals made the difference.
For Photobucket we embraced the ecosystem and jumped on the backs of other social networks like MySpace, Bebo and others by providing the utility of uploading/sharing photos and videos. For BillShrink we partnered up with T-Mobile who then ran national television ads. In both cases the key was to find partners that you could help fill a need for.
Q: What was some early advice you received when trying to close business deals/pitches and who was it from?
Well, I have a motto, which if you watch the Glengarry Glen Ross clip on youtube, you know that you should ABC:
Always Be Closing
But the best advice is that it takes a long time to build up genuine relationships and friendships. I’ve been lucky over the years that the friends I’ve made went on to jobs at companies and it became easier to start because I at least had a foot in the door. Even on cold calls, the important thing to find is how you can help them. Most people look at sales and business development as a one way street. You really have to paint a picture on why it’s going to help them out.
Q: As president and co-founder of Science you have been instrumental in the launch of some successful startups including Dollar Shave Club, Wittlebee, DogVacay and Eventup. What is your greatest challenge in building a startup?
Greatest challenge is I always feel like we aren’t moving fast enough. The world is changing at such a fast pace, competition and consumer mind share rapidly shifts. So focusing on doing one great thing and then getting there quickly is what I find helps in pushing companies towards success.
Q: What is one piece of advice you usually offer to startups out there struggling to raise capital?
Above I said ABC, but I also have a motto:
ABR – Always Be Raising
Startups need cash, consistently to build their company. Always be in pitch mode, refine the pitch over and over. It takes a hundred pitches to get to the right story. The key is always telling the story with passion, but also with clarity. Don’t get discouraged by no’s. Last year I had 1,300 no’s. However, I also got 80 yeses which translated into $80M. Surround yourself with smarter people, get smarter advisors and always ask for help.
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