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October 6, 2021
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2X valuation in 4 months – how and why? Kirk Marple about Unstruk Data
Kirk Marple speaks with Konstantin Dubovitskiy on “Fundraising radio” about funding your startup’s various ins and outs. Talking specifically about the ways Marple has fundraised for his company Unstruk Data, Marple describes how bootstrapping, learning from mistakes or other sources, and networking has helped (and is still helping) him fund the ever-expanding potentials of the company.
In this episode, you will learn:
- How corporate experience helped Marple with fundraising
- Where else Marple learned about fundraising
- How Unstruk doubled their valuation in a short period of time.
- How doing a “podcast tour” assists with fundraising
Good Question & Answer 1:
I would imagine you’ve made tons and tons of mistakes, especially in the fundraising process?
Yeah, one that comes to mind was where you learn to ask and learn about each person that you’re talking to and what they want, what they’re expecting. So I think there were some failed early goes where we didn’t have our story together very well. It was kind of weird, like a problem looking for a solution. We just didn’t. We couldn’t explain it well, in the first, maybe one or two [tries]. But it’s a classic thing. It’s like preparing for a test or being on stage or something like that. You have to practice a couple of times, and get your words together. That was really the hardest part. One of them was that we raised completely over zoom with all these COVID times and being on zoom. So understanding, audio, do people want to see you on video? Do they want to see another thing? So we had some missteps early on, it was a bit embarrassing, and we learned from it. I mean, it was a punch in the gut…things accelerated because we learn from it. I learned from it.
Good Question & Answer 2:
Let’s touch on to your corporate jobs, once again, from young listeners, which are the majority of our listeners, a lot of time they ask, you know, “should I usually even try to go to companies like Facebook, Google” for like, five-plus years, and then start my own company? Or should I go ahead and start my own company right away before I get, you know, screwed by the corporate mentality?” in your perspective, from your experience, do you think that corporate experience is helpful to you right now? Was it helpful at all, especially during the fundraising process?
I definitely see the balance of it. I think experience matters a lot but it doesn’t necessarily need to be name brand experience. I think it’s more to just have both successes and failures as an employee. I think seeing the ups and downs has been been really important. And I worked for a lot of small companies, out of college where not all of them succeeded. so I kind of learned the business part on the fly. The technical part of product building all that I think is great experience. Big companies, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, you’re going to get a ton of product building experience. But the business side of it, like you kind of have to be at a startup or know people at startups that have been trying to build it. Because you don’t really learn that. I mean, as a developer, I didn’t learn any of the business stuff. When I was at Microsoft, I had to learn hardware. So I think it’s it’s both I mean, I think if somebody wants to do it, it’s great to get that product building experience, and just get that rigor around building good product, and understanding how product teams work and that but I mean, understanding how to do payroll, and how to how to do fundraising and all that. I mean, that that’s a totally different set of set of books you got to read.
Additional topics discussed:
- Background of Marple and Unstruk
- How Marple fundraised for Unstruk
- Mistakes made along the way in terms of fundraising.
Host / Podcast Bio: Konstantin Dubovitskiy considers himself “proficient in anything related to finance and interested in anything related to startups.” As the host of “Fundraising radio” he interviews both seasoned venture capitalists and fresh founders to make content that gives advice on fundraising for your startup.
Guest Bio: Kirk Marple is the CEO of Unstruk. He began his career in Media Management and entertainment, owning a transcoding company. After selling it to diversify his prospects, Marple found inspiration within other areas of data management such as the automotive industry. To Marple, the use of data for car imagery and closed captioning had parallels in “time based telemetry.” However, Marple noticed problems within the storage of unstructured data and metadata within file based formatting and decided to expand into the business of optimizing a system to store, organize, and analyze metadata within pools of stored information.
Resources and links mentioned in the show: