Monday, March 24, 2008

Leaving FundingUniverse

Today is my last day at FundingUniverse.

It makes me think of my first day at FundingUniverse -- in my bedroom office talking on the phone with some character named Trent Miskin, trying to figure out how in the world we were going to make money off a website with 30,000 pageviews/month and a not-so-well-thought-out "We'll just sell ads off of the hordes of traffic we'll get!" business model.

I loved those times. Anna and I were living in a home with a disabled man whose parents paid us to care for him. It was the ideal setup for an entrepreneur who wasn't going to get paid for the next six months.

Two years and as many business models later, FundingUniverse is much more than the naive dreams of a few rookie entrepreneurs. While we still have a lot to learn, Brock, Trent and I have watched a great team build our company into a growing, viable business that is providing real value to the world.

The future at FundingUniverse is bright. We just tripled our sales force and our subscription is converting at an average of about 3.5% with an average purchase price of about $200. The foundation for a great future has been laid.

I'm sure you're wondering why I am leaving if everything is going so well.

First, I'll say that it has nothing to do with the people I work with, or the strategic direction of the company. Brock, Trent, Josh, Michael, Matt, Lindsey and the rest of the crew are like family to me. They're smart, fun and the right people to take the company to the next level. There hasn't been a "falling out" a "philosophical difference" or any of those ridiculous phrases that mean, "We hate each other's guts."

My reasons for leaving have more to do with my desire, and doing what I love most.

After serving in many roles at FundingUniverse, I now spend most of my time managing the consulting arm of the company. The good news is that this part of our business is our biggest revenue generator right now, and it's growing every month. The bad news (for me, at least) is that consulting isn't very fun for me.

I've hired a few people who love consulting. They'll do a much better job than I could ever do because they're smarter than me and they love what they do. In the end, that's better for FundingUniverse, those who will take my place, and me.

What does get me excited is technology, and I was recently offered a product manager position with the baddest, illest, nastiest technology company in Utah. I've admired this company for a while now, and I feel like the timing is right to make a move.

The decision was a tough one for me to make. But, after soliciting advice from a few smart people, researching the careers of a few great entrepreneurs and some good ol' fashioned talking to God, I believe I've made the right choice.

Moving forward, I will remain an active and passionate evangelist of the FundingUniverse cause as an advisory board member. I'm looking forward to watching from the sidelines as FundingUniverse fulfills its potential as the place to find startup capital.

In the meantime, I'm pumped to tackle a new challenge and (hopefully) wreck shop in a new environment! I attended the Omniture Summit a few weeks ago and got a first-hand look at why nearly all of the Fortune 100 companies use Omniture software to optimize their web offerings.

Omniture is deeply, passionately focused on pleasing its customers and overwhelming its competition. It's the only "large" company in Utah where I could go and not miss out on the intense, yet fun environment that one feels when he is part of a smaller, more nimble company. Not to mention the fact that there is a gang of very smart people working there, many of whom will be collaborating with me on a daily basis. Working in that kind of environment will make me a better businessman and, more specifically, a better entrepreneur.

So here's to a great three years at FundingUniverse and a bright future at Omniture! This is going to be fun ...

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