For the first 5 months of 2010 I was working 2 days a week for Sanjay Singhal, the CEO of Fusenet, an innovative tech incubator in Oakville, ON with a staff of 60. I was helping with general business strategy, business process development, online marketing training and leadership development. In May of 2010 Sanjay had a new SaaS business that he wanted to get up and running and he didn’t have anyone internally who was the right fit to lead the project, so he asked me to. The Fusepay business is a new subscription billing software service for small digital businesses.
Over the 7 months from May – Dec 2010:
- I led a cross-functional team in creating the dynamic business plan. We wrote it on a wiki rather than in Word.
- I led the competitive research and industry analysis.
- I led a cross-functional team in scoping the initial releases of the product as well as a 12 month-out feature set.
- I oversaw our 6 person Development Team which built a from-scratch working beta of the software in 4 months.
- I managed the overall project through weekly team meetings and made sure we hit our key release dates.
- In Oct 2010 we went live with our first internal customer, a startup within the Fusenet parent company. We have been processing live transactions for them for 3 months now.
- I built a very complex financial model that allowed us to fully model the business from an investment and return perspective. We also used it to model the impact of different pricing strategies.
- I met with several potential investors to discuss a potential Series A round of VC financing.
Despite Sanjay’s offer to have me run the business, I knew that I wanted to keep building some of the other businesses I’m involved with and I also felt that the project needed a leader with more SaaS Product Management experience than I have. I spent the fall of 2010 interviewing candidates for this plum job – and got to meet some excellent people in the Toronto and GTA tech community. In early January 2011 we hired the former GM of e-commerce for Grand & Toy as our new CEO. I will be spending the rest of January onboarding him and transitioning out of the project. I’ll miss the team – they were a great team to work with – but I know they will go on to build an amazing business and I’ll enjoy watching from the sidelines while I move on to put my energies into the other businesses I am building.