Enzo Avigo 0:02
Every time we’ve zoomed in, on the segment or on the set of problems, June has become more and more successful. So I think one of the big learning was, you know, not trying to serve everyone.
Taylor Kenerson 0:19
Welcome to the Hyperengage Podcast. We are so happy to have you along our journey. Here, we uncover bits of knowledge from some of the greatest minds in tech. We unearth the hows, whys, and whats that drive the tech of today. Welcome to the movement.
Adil Saleh 0:38
Hey, greetings everybody. This is Adil from Hyperengage Podcast. I have Taylor Kennerson alongside me and a very, very special guest, Enzo, founder of, founder of June it’s- June is, if you guys don’t know, it’s more like a Airtable for product analytics and they started back in 2020. Thank you very much, Enzo for taking the time today.
Enzo Avigo 1:03
Excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Taylor Kenerson 1:06
So happy to have you. So Enzo, we don’t want to get too much into the boring stuff. But you often talk about knowing in the beginning, way before June, that you wanted to create your own product. So can you first like, describe what were some of those initial passions and sparks that you found to catapult you into actually creating your own product? How did you know? And how did you go about preparing yourself to one day, found your own company?
Enzo Avigo 1:37
Yeah, sure. So that’s, that’s a pretty long story, but I’ll make it short. So basically, I’ve always been crafting stuff, I have a family with- my dad who’s an entrepreneur, my brother is an artist, we’ve always created stuff, I kind of realized a long time ago that I wanted to create stuff. So just whatever it was, and then I just had to figure out what that thing would be. And I think I realized that after working in product management for a couple of years that I like to build the digital products. And so I was looking to building one of these products. In my, in my early days in product management, I thought that I wanted to build some kind of B2C apps, just because I was playing around so much with these products. And then my latest experience was in a B2B SaaS called Intercom. And that’s when I realized that actually B2B can be really, really fun, especially if you want to productize or consumerize, one space, like the data space, which, which we’re currently doing. And so I got extremely, extremely excited about coming up with something in you know, intermediate space. And, and then I met my co-founder in my last job, we just got on well together, it was just working, it clicked right away. So we started to hack together a couple of things. And yeah, and we looked into some of the problems we had. And slowly but surely we, you know, we started to craft June, or what June is kind of today, basically.
Adil Saleh 3:04
Hmm, interesting, interesting. So it’s, I know for a fact that you’ve been a part of like your own team and that’s how you got into- your foot in the door for the B2B space. How closely do you think you were- initially while starting back in 2020 with June, beginner eye and you know, you’re just trying to think and experiment a lot of things, and I’m sure being self-funded doesn’t give you a lot of leverage to experiment on investing, even failures in the start. So how closely you were, you know, integrated with how day to day, for product managers, goes in a B2B SaaS? And how does that, you know, transform and translate into the product? Very early days I’m talking about, because I’m sure a lot of early success businesses listening to this.
Enzo Avigo 3:52
Yeah, so, so one of the things that- one of the common advice that people give when you get started is fix a problem that you’ve had. So scratch your own itch. And it’s something I really believed in. And so I kind of like, looked into some of the problems that I had in my product management journey, right? So I kind of knew I wanted to build a product company, kind of a) I first knew that I wanted to build a company, b) I knew I wanted to build a product company. But then I didn’t know really what I wanted to build. And I think something that I discovered along the way, is that I actually experienced firsthand some problems that I could potentially fix. And the reason why this frame mean works so well is because if you experience a problem yourself, it is very, very likely that other people had it so that the problem exists. And chasing a fake problem is one of the main reasons of failure. The second thing is that if you kind of have a very clear target, about what’s your problem, then you have a very good chance to have some good ideas on how to solve it right because you’re actually building for yourself, you’re building a solution that you could, you could use yourself, right? And so for me, I worked- prior to Intercom I worked in B2C e-commerce. And before that I worked in B2C mobile app. And the problems we’re going after, is actually a problem I’ve had in all these experiences, whether I was like, you know, the associate PM and then kind of the junior PM, the more senior PM, like, doesn’t matter which vertical I was working in, or the company scale, it’s a problem I had every single time. And so I was really, really confident that the problem existed. And I was also very confident that it was big, and that we could start with, you know, an initial market, but then that we could expand over time, ideally, within a lot of these markets. So today- disclosure, we are not great for B2C mobile apps, and e-commerce is and B2B SaaS, right? We had to make some decisions. But I’m very confident that if we, you know, work the right way, we will be able to unlock this market. Hopefully, one after another.
Adil Saleh 6:12
Loved it, loved it. Especially on, on, of course, it’s also the problem, how you solve it, how you give it a SaaS experience, and also how seamless that experienc is, how usable that experienc is the whole time. I still remember the first time we logged into the June, about a year back, we have the integration, we have all the Slack triggers for our product teams, we have a SaaS product too. And a lot of our friends, they’re using it. So one thing that we saw different in the beginning, I haven’t checked it myself recently, but that was it was so seamless, it was so simple, minimalistic, and seamless, easy on the eye, and also responsive at the same time. So in a B2B side, it becomes even more critical, the product experience. So my question is, you’ve been a part of the product team- of course, that’s not the core technical team. So while you had this idea, you knew the problem, you knew how you can solve it, and what is your target audience who you’re doing it for, what was the number one challenge you faced while actually developing the experience? Of course, you did, you know, technical experience.
Enzo Avigo 7:21
Yeah. I mean, I mean, June is still a product in the craft, right? It’s not, it’s not over, like a product company is never over. So I think we still have a lot to build. But there is definitely a lot that we figure out in the first two years, the company’s actually turning two years very soon. I think one of the things we learn is that it’s very hard to solve a wide range of problems for a wide range of people. So basically, every time we’ve zoomed in, on the segment or on the set of problems, June has become more and more successful. So I think one of the big learning was, you know, not trying to serve everyone. So today, June is mostly tailored for B2B SaaS, I think it’s fair to say that it’s the best pragmatic tool out there for the new SaaS, it will probably not be the case if we’re going after B2C just because the market is very different, and the needs are very different. But making that initial decision actually really helped us differentiate it and actually nail the market, the market we’re going after. So I think, I think that’s, that’s the thing that I constantly realize, it’s also very common advice, like for founders to just zoom into a market. But once you have this broad vision, it’s just so hard to let it go and actually just close the door and say, “Okay, that vision is going to, you know, will be realized, fulfilled in the coming years. But until then I’m just going to do the product that does X, how they market why, and I need to be an- I need to be happy with that.”
Taylor Kenerson 9:00
Can you dive into that a little bit Enzo and like, how you make that decision? To- I mean, you have such a broad vision and this is often a challenge with so many founders, is they’re like, “We’re gonna solve all of these problems,” and they get so sporadic in their, you know, decision-making, how do you identify what even you should be focused on with, you know, so many great things on the table?
Enzo Avigo 9:24
Yeah, so I think to be, to be honest, I think there’s a lot of like coincidences that will happen to you along the way. That’s why you need to execute fast and just talk with people all the time. It’s just because there are just so many things you don’t, you can’t anticipate, right? Some people do. We’re not visionaries. And actually, I think one of the advantages of B2B sales is that you don’t have to be a visionary. I think that’s one of the advices that the Collison brothers said, brothers from Stripe, gave us- when they gave a talk at YC, is that they don’t believe that they are visionary people. They just believe they listen to customers and they solve the problems, one after another so, so I think that’s what happened to us. There are a couple of coincidences. On top of that, I think one of the first coincidence is that we started June, on top of an existing data source called segment.com
which, which is a customer data platform, so a way to track your data once and, and then pass it to another destination. And we connected on them initially, because they were the leading platform. And they will help us know to build our own tracking tool. So it was basically a scoping decision. It turns out that a lot of B2B SaaS use Segment, and so a lot of the people that started to use June in the early days, were B2B SaaS, that then get us B2B SaaS feedback. And then we started to build for B2B SaaS, and turns out that a few months later, like, we’re great for B2B SaaS, you know? So this, this is one of these things that you never really anticipate. And that actually just turns out to work for you, if you, if you listen to it. I’m a big, big believer that, you know, if you listen to your market, and you go after a big enough market, you will always find a road in your strategy to get from A to Z, right? And so the way we think about those strategies, just to wrap it up, is that we want to go from A to Z, it will take us 10 years, but there’s a lot of paths. We can go this way and then or that way, you know, we can start with B2B startup product-led, and then go to product B2B startup which are sales-led, or maybe we can do B2B, start a product-led and then go to B2C product-led, because there is more similarities. You know, it doesn’t really matter which road we take, we should just optimize for the fastest one, you know, the fast-track road? And, and then which one is going to bring you to ultimate vision that you have? I don’t think it really matters, I think it’s something you should put aside, it’s not your- you should put aside your ego and just take the one that exists. And which is the most efficient for your company, basically.
Adil Saleh 12:01
Absolutely, absolutely. You know, since a lot of these product managers, even customer data platforms that you mentioned, the way they integrate and of course, reinventing the wheel is not the, is not the solution, your segment is leading the market, it’s sort of a pipeline, gives you all the data, and you’re building pipelines on, onto it for product managers, there are lots of tools for Customer Success teams as well, you know, you know, Catalyst, Gainsight, all of these. So it’s, it’s good for someone like you that kind of feels the pain, that has experienced the pain. And it’s more into, you know, following the instincts, rather, and, and not taking so visual, you know, we want to capture a 100- 100,000 customers from all of these three segments and we will decide how we can shape, instead we just be realist, and be be very, very visible on what’s on the table right now and see how best we can serve that segment, or maybe even a bunch of customers, handful of customers and see how we can improve that experience and then, then scale it. Do you think- what’s, what’s the best way to do it? Instead of- put someone like you that is, you know, kind of you face the pain as well and you try to follow the instincts, at the same time you, you want to get the visibility.
Enzo Avigo 13:20
That’s, that’s the hardest thing. Like we were wrong in the beginning, like the places where, where June started, was actually not the place where it is today and what actually people really wanted right? So again, if you move very fast, if you shoot very fast, you talk to people, and you have assumptions that you test, then hopefully, you’re gonna go through that exercise of iterating fast enough until you hit the right, you know, chunk of value for your customers and get the pool from them and then go into this virtuous circle, circle where basically you can reinvest the time and money they give you to build more and more things which are meaningful for them, right? But this is something that is extremely hard to, to put a word on or to judge and I think it’s something that you actually build with experience. Also, it’s, it’s one of these intuition that the- that you get, right? So for instance, June, the way it is today, is a data visualization tool kind of like, it’s like a way to visualize your data. And if you think about it, like, it doesn’t sound like the world needs another data visualization tool, right? So when we started doing that we were not going after that market, we were going about something else, right? Problems that we identify as more recurrent. It turns out that the first problem we went after, which happens to a lot of people, is actually a problem that no one is really, really willing to pay for. And so after first prototype, we kind of gave up and I’m actually pretty happy that we gave up quickly. And then the second iteration was something else. And the third iteration was in the data visualization tool space. And what we learned back then is that actually a lot of people had some data that we’re sitting on, and we’re not leveraging it. And so after we heard many, many people told him- telling us that, we’re like, “Okay, hold on, hold on, we have all this product at X, you have all these BI tools, but you’re telling us that you’re not leveraging it? Are you actually willing to adopt yet another one?” And that’s when people were like, “Okay, yeah, probably, it’s much better, I would give it a shot.” And that’s when we got into the space, right? So we had to do a lot of mistakes before we got into that space. And we also had to kind of like, yeah, kind of let go, a lot of judgment we have, including, like, all the strategic slides we were doing, all of that we just, we just let it go. And now we’re too- I guess, something just more human, just, you know, talking to people and building something that they want and just iterate on that, if that makes sense.
Adil Saleh 15:54
So the area hit me in the feels, because I’m also trying to, you know, we’re building a B2B sales platform. And, you know, initially, we did a lot of documentation, we like really quickly, very swiftly realized, that’s not the, that’s not the way we need to invest our time, we might, you know, tweet one basic slide and talk to as many people as possible, and they’ll get, get us all our answers. So that’s, I think that’s the way to go. And, you know, that’s fine, you got to have visibility, but at the same time, you got to make mistakes, and you got to fail fast to be able to make sure you’re pretty much in the game. Because there’s so much competition, you know? That- Taylor, you want to go ahead with-?
Taylor Kenerson 16:34
Yeah and that, and that echoes to just, you know, being able to ship fast, and then getting that instant feedback, putting your ego to the side and understanding that it’s only about putting the best, the best product out there that can give the best value to the target that you have identified and understanding that, you know, it’s kind of like riding a wave, like you just got to really go with the flow, and what you’re hearing and who’s saying what, and then also knowing what your, you know, northstar is, what that, what that Z point looks like, what that 10 years looks like, so that you know what decisions have to go into, you know, getting there in the most efficient way. So can you dive a bit into the YC journey? And so- and first, like identifying why you wanted to go YC? I mean, there’s so, there’s so many accelerators, then, you know, what the, the process was, like, going through the interviewing, and then actually becoming- getting into YC, that whole journey? And now as you’re kind of in like, growth mode, so if you could dive deep into that, that’d be great.
Enzo Avigo 17:32
Yeah, no, it was, it was, it was also not something we plan ahead, I’ll be, I’ll be very honest, it was the first time we applied at YC. The first time I applied personally, we got lucky enough to get in. So and, and it was a great experience. So basically, we were just starting, kind of almost bootstrapped it. You know, we just raised I guess, 50,000 from angels, and it was just enough to eat without, you know, having to do some freelance with my co-founder Ferruccio. We- I think Matt’s a great guy, who told us like, “Hey, you folks should consider applying to YC. It’s the right timing.” And we’re like, “Really? Like, we barely have a product, we don’t have customers.” And he was like, “Yeah, you know, it’s like 50% of the people.” And I think that was just enough for us to say, “Okay, let’s apply.” We timed mug seats, alpha day- actually, I found the picture this morning on my phone. We recorded it, we put the laptop on a bin that we flipped over because we wanted to, to, you know, to be standing, to be energized during the recording of the of the mug- you know, the mug presentation, you can send them. And we got invited, the interview went very, very bad. Michael Seibel was the managing director back then. Kind of like really grilled us. And I remember we finished the interview, we went to the restaurant with my co-founder, because we just had to, you know, chill out. And we’re like, “Okay, it didn’t go well. But it was an interesting experience.” And actually, we got a call from, from Michael at 2am. And he told us, “You know, you guys are telling us that, you know, we’ve founded a lot of pro gigantic companies, but basically that they’re too complex, and people don’t use them. And you’re basically criticizing the work we’ve done in the last 10 years.” And we’re like, oof, that’s, that’s tough. And he was like, “but you know what, we know this is actually correct, because we asked all our batches to use, you know, data tools, but most of them don’t, because actually, it’s a fact, it’s- they’re very hard to use. So, we do believe you and we’d love to give you, you know, the chance to join the batch.” And actually, that’s, that’s how we joined, back then we had nothing, right? So a lot of people like, you know, struggled to decide if they should give away 7% again- against 125k. We had nothing right, so we basically trade that, traded that against nothing. So we went in. I think in terms of learnings, maybe two or three important learnings, what we learned and that sticked with us is that basically, almost any problems, at least in SaaS, can be solved on a weekly basis, right? So there is this thing at, at YC, where you basically have office hours, office hours with the partners and they’re every week. And if you bring two weeks in a row, the same topics, then the partner is going to be a bit pissed off at you. And so what it means, right, it’s not that, that it’s a good idea or a bad idea to be pissed off at people, but what it means is just that you should make progress at a weekly cadence. And that pretty much everything can be answered or was answered already by someone, like, even like a complex pricing decision is something you can take in a couple of hours, max. So that was the first, the first learning. Second learning, I think the- to have a big ambition. You know, like, I think as a European founder, we tend to have less ambition, or speak less loud than American people, typically, you know, at YC, like the startup near you is basically trying to put a satellite in orbit from a garden. So when you talk about your B2B SaaS, you’re like, literally, like, you know, in the kindergarten, right, you’re just, you know, the most serious company out there. So you need to- those, the little bits. And I think the last one was probably the kind of, I would say, it just helped with a lot of things like it helps with, you know, it’s it does a lot of signaling. So it helps with recruiting, fundraising, things like that, it’s very hard to measure that. So I’m not gonna say you should do YC for that reason. But obviously, for us, it played a big role. I was a first-time founder, so I didn’t have a network and things like that, and it just helped accelerate, right? So that’s all the learnings in terms of advices, I think, if you want to apply to YC, just reach out to people that went through, they will be willing to help review your application, you know, stuff like that. And I think just being also nice, in general, pays off at YC. It’s something that they look for when they assess founders. And, and it’s one of the values right now of the company.
Adil Saleh 22:19
Yes, that’s the way Enzo is himself. Because I, I see his comments like, he personally comments a response on every comment that he has, like, it’s about like more than 100 people react, more than 30-40 people comment and he goes in and responds to those, those people. So it’s more of a community building, like you said, being nice, being humble, you know, and down-to-earth approach. It’s always good doing anything, you know, you know, any business. So it was really, really great, listening to all the these key learnings you had at YC, especially the strategic part, like how they basically help you get strategic, into strategic networks, which is a big, one of the biggest problems for a lot of B2B. First, you know, first as platforms or the stage platforms and when it comes to, you know, first you’ve raised funds, so when it comes to leading the rounds, for the raise, how does the YC team help around that, that period?
Enzo Avigo 23:21
Yeah, it’s a, it’s a tough one for them. Because, you know, on the one hand, they want their companies to be successful, but at the- on the, on the other end, they culture and they process for you. Or, if they go too deep into the exercise with you and it doesn’t work out, then you’re going to be, you know, unhappy at them, right. So they need to find the right balance between advising you, and make sure the advice is the advice they gave you, they give you is like, you know, tailored but at the same time, they need to let it go, right. So they basically have a couple of frameworks to give you to prepare the, you know, the fundraising, and one of the problems of this framework is that they will average it out, right? Like they need to give the average advice for a lot of startups, right. And so, you know, your- yourself as a founder, you need to find out what’s relevant, what is less relevant for you. And also you need to do your own work, right? Like you need to know you know, how much you need to raise, what kind of valuation you’re confident you can get in the market, you know, things like that. So, they were very helpful for us, it was like kind of the first time we proper fundraised. So again, I knew so little that anything I could get was just, you know, bonuses. So they gave us a really nice framework for that. And, and I think we did, we did most of the work and we drove that. So, so that this exercise, I think, just to give, to give a, give it a quick overview, basically, what they say is work your pitch deck, don’t over invest into it. And then make sure your pitch deck is the narrative, has a specific story. They call it the vertebra, like, you know the buddy, and they’re like, “Okay, what are the two, three points that you really want to make out of your, out of your company in your business?” Because at the end of the day, at the end of the day, you know, investors meet so many startups, when they finish the meeting with you, they just remember, like two or three things about you, right? So they try to teach you how to craft a message around these key points, and then convey that message. And then hopefully, next, make it, make it so that these points are going to get investors excited, and, and invest into and then they help you on running the process. I think one of the very common mistakes that founders do is that they tend to meet not enough VCs or angels or whatever. So basically, they make you do this exercise where you list all the people you want to meet with the average check size that they do. And until people are out, you count them as in, and then what you need to make sure is, that the sum of the average set aside that they can put, is actually at the bar of the amount of money on a raise, right. And if it’s not, then you need to pull more people in. If it’s, if it is, then great, you have chances to, you know, close the round with the amount that you want, right? And it sounds very dumb, but trust me the amount of founders that don’t pull the right amount of potential investors in a ro- the Roadshow, is insane. Like it was, like it was it was gonna be my case, too, right? So it’s all about the preparation and how you prepare this list of people you want to meet. And then you meet everyone at once, and it eats things up, right? And so it was super, super useful for us.
Taylor Kenerson 26:52
That’s extremely helpful. When you, when you actually, you know, you went through your batch you’re getting, you know, this- these guidance, this frameworks. What went into, you know, deciding and knowing what your, you know, GTM strategies were going to be, and pivoting off of that, like, what did those look like? And can you dive a little bit into that?
Enzo Avigo 27:13
So one of the main reason we did YC and apply to YC, is because we sell to other digital companies. And actually, that was going to be one of the main- because, like, YC is mainly, you know, tech startups. And so one of the initial go-to-market was actually to sell to batchmates. And I think it was, it was massively successful for us. I think the first batch, 50% ended up using June. So we became, we became the default pro gigantics for that batch. And actually, the six months after, YC recommended us in their internal docs, as one of the main analytics for startups, right. So we were next to, you know, crazy, crazy good unicorns, data, unicorns, right? Data companies, they have a shortlist of like five or five companies, something like that, and we were there. So it works really well. And then you have this amplification effect, which is that now all the YC companies because there is a huge community and this forum started to hear about us. And so our early traction came from, from that. YC is a big, big community, it’s so big that actually some companies even when they go into the scale phase, still invest into trying to you know, compare the YC companies, it is actually a growth, a growth strategy, right? We’ve heard some companies that even have a full time employee, who is only dedicated to acquire the YC companies, right? Because it’s just like hundreds or thousands of them now, right? So you can spend a year or two years, just trying to build the relationship and, and onboard them on your product, right. So that’s, that’s how we started and then we started, then we tried a lot of other go-to-market channels, similar to the product roadmap, every time we narrowed down our channel strategy, it paid off, right? So one of the very first thing I would advise kind of anyone to do is to add a question in your onboarding flow, where you ask people how they learn about you. And then I would attach this information to them. And then I would do some frequent cohort analysis, where I would look where the most successful customers are coming from. And this is very simple. It sounds very simple right? To ask a question in the onboarding flow and attach it to the user. This is really cool. Like overtime, you actually understand that, you know, most of your customers come from LinkedIn, but the ones from LinkedIn are like very low-quality, they’re not sticky. Some people comes from word of mouth, there are fewer of them, but actually, it’s like, the best customers you have in your market, so can you actually increase the word of mouth right there, a couple of techniques where you could do that.
Taylor Kenerson 29:57
Love that. That’s super important when you’re, you know, going through all these different processes.
Adil Saleh 30:03
You know, I know this is going to resonate with a lot of us, even me, because I know, there’s so many companies that like YC can play a big part in, apart from the community part from, you know, you know, you get more eyeballs, and you know, all of that, but also the strategic part, which is, which I’m very interested in, you know, getting these strategic partners, because you as a startup and being your first B2B SaaS, or even B2B- B2C SaaS, it is very hard to- for you to- and it’s pretty obvious for you to make more decisions, when you have right advisors and strategic partners and people that have done it at scale that can definitely be avoided and that can push you six months or one year.
Enzo Avigo 30:48
Makes sense. Pretty much all the problems that a startup face have been, have been answered or fixed before, right? It’s just about finding the right playbook and just saving a lot of time, which I think, I think feels very good. Also, when you’re a founder, and it’s like daunting, like all the things you need to do and a lot of things you need to figure out, just knowing that it was done already and that you’re not putting rockets in orbits, I think that’s just like super nice. It’s just about being committed because finding the right people, finding the right playbook, and then, you know, executing basically.
Taylor Kenerson 31:26
That always gives you some sense of calmness and serenity, when you can relate to other people. You’re like, “Okay, I’m not the only one out here like trying to do this thing.” And it’s definitely- if I do enough digging, that you could find someone or some piece of advice that can help you or guide you in the direction you wanted to go. So Enzo, thank you so much for such a beautiful conversation. So appreciate you and all the nuggets you shared. I’m sure this is going to be a fan favorite. So thank you. Thank you so much.
Adil Saleh 31:53
Copy that. Love you, brother.
Taylor Kenerson 31:56
Thank you. Peace out.
Enzo Avigo 31:57
Thanks for having me. Have a good life. Bye.
Adil Saleh 32:00
Thank you, bye. Thank you so very much for staying with us on the episode, please share your feedback at email@example.com
, we definitely need it. We will see you next time and another guest on the stage with some concrete tips on how to operate better as a Customer Success leader and how you can empower engagements with some- building some meaningful relationships. We qualify people for the episode just to make sure we bring the value to the listeners. Do reach us out if you want to refer any CS leader. Until next time, goodbye and have a good rest of your day.