Episode No:59

From Solo CS to Scaling Up: Accelerating Growth with Datlo ft.

Mateus Felini

CEO, Datlo

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Ep#59: From Solo CS to
Scaling Up: Accelerating Growth with Datlo ft. Mateus Felini (CEO, Datlo)
Ep#59: From Solo CS to Scaling Up: Accelerating Growth with Datlo ft. Mateus Felini (CEO, Datlo)
  • Ep#59: From Solo CS to Scaling Up: Accelerating Growth with Datlo ft. Mateus Felini (CEO, Datlo)

Episode Summary

Welcome to today’s episode! We are thrilled to have Mateus Felini, the CEO of Datlo, join us as our special guest. With his extensive experience in GIS and entrepreneurship, Mateus is here to share his inspiring journey of creating Datlo – from ideation and investment to building a co-founder and a team. He also provides valuable insights into the crucial role of a dedicated customer success team and how Datlo provides value to the different types of companies it targets.
Key Takeaways Time
The Pivotal Moment in Deciding to Seek Investment 2:07
Finding a Co-Founder 6:34
Datlo: A Cloud-based GIS Software 8:33
Datlo’s Customer Base 12:02
The Importance of Customer Success Teams 18:17
Current Openings in their Team 31:41

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Mateus Felini 0:01 The clients because they are usually trying to solve one big problem. And the best thing is to understand what is the problem and work specifically on that. Taylor Kenerson 0:15 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 0:34 Hey, greetings, everybody. This is Adil from Hyperengage podcast, I have my beautiful co host Taylor Kenerson from New Jersey and a very, very young like, it’s I think it’s the first time we’ve got this young, CEO of a tech company backed by Y Combinator. Thank you very much, Matt, for taking the time Matt is Matt is a CEO of Datlo. It’s, it’s a data analytics platform for BI teams, sales teams, revenue periods, and provides analytics on top of big data. Thank you very much, one more time for taking taking this time to talk. Thank you. Let’s love that. Okay, so Mateus, I was a bit. I was thinking on top of my head that you guys started back in 2018. You went into the Y Combinator 2021. Mostly, these sort of the they take like the validate the idea with some of their initial prospects, maybe hand it over to them and then have some active user base, not necessarily paid users but free users. And then they go to the Y Combinator first, or did they not? But it took you guys two and a half years to you know, formulate that that entire process, build a team and you know, write product, and then you went into it. So first tell us what Datlo does were for all these teams in a sales revenue teams, and how do you think people perceive value from the product? And then what was during the beginning? When you started back in 2008? Mateus Felini 2:07 Okay. Yeah, it took us a little while to get into Y Combinator. It wasn’t like the first thing we tried to do. We bootstrapped the company for for a good time. Basically, when I was my doing my master’s degree, I noted set a market cap, I noted that GIS software, geographic information system was bad. They were mostly legacy software. They are complicated. You need technical people with technical skills to be able to use it. And it was impractical to implement in companies. And what happens is that business people are not able to make those decisions using location data. Because they don’t work with this type of data. They don’t have a good software to do that. So people who try to use business intelligence software, like Power BI or Tableau, or they buy the software are terrible for working with location data, their maps are terrible. So we needed a GIS platform that was intuitive that could handle gigantic data sets from this companies. That wasn’t a cloud that could be used by hundreds of people without much friction. And I decided that I would have to build it. So at the beginning, I had to learn how to code I am geographer, so regulator, 40 software developers, so I had to learn it and develop it the first version of the software. And I started making sales during the day and coded during the night. And this rough first version of the software, was able to close a very good enterprise deal. So I had money, I could hire people. And it was very good. They gave me three months to develop all the things that I still needed to develop. So I went after a co founder and I met Raisa. She’s the CTO of the company. And my co founder, I met her in a local startup accelerator accelerator. And when she joined it, she developed the full version of the platform, and I was able to handle sales while she was handling technology. And then we start closing. New big enterprise deals with a been banned ZF three different banks. So the company started having traction But until there, we were bootstrapping, we didn’t have an investment. And we decided we want an investment. Because it could, you know, increase the speed, get things done faster. So we try to think who is the best investor in the world, we can go after we can talk to any thought in goes Y Combinator. So we tried to get in, we didn’t gain the first time, it took us two to tentatives to get in. And that’s how we that’s why it took a while for us to get into Y Combinator. It was in our our first thought to go after investors, because we had enterprise customers, they can, you know, pay for expensive license at the beginning, so you have a bit of money to work with. Taylor Kenerson 5:57 I love that. I love that. I love that nitty gritty journey that you know, it didn’t, nothing happened overnight. And you saw a challenge, and you applied your skills, a geographic like a geographer, and then you had to learn something new in order to develop the product and bring it to where it was, once you you actually were able to do that successfully and able to get clients on your own. So can you dive a little bit into what made you look for a co founder, and then how you saw different opportunities and gaps within the team and what you had to fill with different team members. Mateus Felini 6:34 Yeah, I had to look for a co founder, because you know, anyone can learn how to code nowadays. Not that hard to begin. But it’s really hard to became a professional to build something that is actually very advanced. And so to deliver all the things that I sold, because I actually sold a few things that I didn’t have yet, but they gave me some time to, to build it. I needed professional people, I needed people with experience. And I could just hire someone, but then I wouldn’t have a co founder retain technical backgrounds that could actually lead the technological technology of the company. So that’s why I was looking for a co founder. And we have the excellent accelerator in our city. That’s where I met Raisa, she had another startup a FinTech at the time, but she, she joined at that low and you know, everything happened, Adil Saleh 7:43 okay, interesting and annoying the instincts and knowing the skill set. And moreover, the mindset of people initially with your co founding team is super important. And we heard these stories a lot with the challenges they face with partnering up with initial co founding team on the technical side. They always like most of these startups, they always show their best friends, people that they’ve worked in the past people that that they trust, like on the skill set on the work ethic side to this is super fun. But I’m glad that you brought this up. So we talk about geo intelligence. You know, we’ve heard this quite differently when we visited your website. So how do you explain in the context of Datlo, the do and intelligence term for our audience? Mateus Felini 8:33 Yeah, great. So our platform is a cloud based GIS software. So it gives you the software in hundreds of different sources like government agencies, online corporate data, and companies can upload their own data into the map and build advanced analysis very easily in share 13. So what to do is to find a new customers choosing new places to expand view to go to market strategies, and understand the potential for new products. For example, if you want to launch a new type of Computer, you have to understand if you have enough people to actually buy that specific product. Where’s the best place to launch it? If you have a, a franchise, you have to know the very best places in the city to pay for stores to open your point of sale, because it’s it’s essential to succeed. So it’s this type of decision that we have. And we have a few that our platform is very customizable. So we have a few different types of use cases. For example, one of the banks that use our platform, they have hundreds of baking aid Is the branches across main series. Every manager, every branch manager, have a user of our platform so they can see their own city. And know every company in that city know the banking services that people are using. No, the new companies that are opening, they have to offer some type of service. So that’s how we provide our services. Adil Saleh 10:32 That’s pretty like pretty like driving expansion opportunities for users alike based on locations based on these data triggers based on geographical locations. Mateus Felini 10:46 That’s exactly we say that we have the we have to moments we have before you open your branch or your store. And that’s one big decision, that’s very hard to decide the best place the best investments to try to predict how much revenue you can make in a specific place. But after you open it, you build everything it has to perform, you have to be able to make sales. So you need customer, you need leads. So try to help this to moments before you open it. And when it’s already running, because you have to make it work. Adil Saleh 11:30 That’s That’s amazing. That’s very interesting. So the folks listening, if you guys think that there are some gaps, especially these local businesses, like tech businesses that are more consumer based, they can definitely try debt loads. More often for poor data integration, data analytics, you know, everybody invests in data, everybody tries to invest more into monitoring their their user activities and where their customers and consumers are spending their time. Mateus Felini 12:02 Yeah, there are two types of companies that can use our software. So companies would say location sensitive business, in some way locations important for them. It could be physically, it could be online, and you have companies that need to find b2b customers, that specially local stores stores that you would find on LinkedIn or another places. So for example, manufacturers, if you make a certain type of product, you have to find points of sale, you can find it in our platform, or they do sell software you so anything that you need to find no business, okay, find it Adil Saleh 12:47 very interesting. Okay, so now you as you mentioned that you have some enterprise customers in the enterprise segment, what kind of customers do you have just mentioned the industry, so we can get our head around how you want to scale this, you know, post sales journey, I want to expand on the GTM side, as well, what kind of segments you would more likely to be, you know, penetrating, you know, going forward. So could you tell us more on your customer base? Mateus Felini 13:14 Yes, we have, I believe four main sectors that make really good, really good use or platform. We have automotive companies, especially after sales because you have to find the best place to sell parts to live to deliver new tires, distribute fuel, or electrical rechargers for current. And we have the energy sector. So dairy companies have to find customers, they have to find the best place to implement a new plant. We have banks have now we have almost 30 banks in our platform. And we have higher education. So especially private universities, these these are the farming segments. Taylor Kenerson 14:19 Really interesting. I really love the use cases and the unique perspective of using the data that’s out there to then drive decisions based on local information. And using that concept of Kevin Kelley from Wired magazine. He talks about 1000 true fans. And sometimes we have such a view and an outlook that we need to go capture everyone in the whole world. But sometimes getting this data and this information in a local hyper focus area, in this specific case geographically, can really catapult your business and create these expansion opportunities that you perhaps never even thought were possible by getting access to this information. So how Does your team currently serve your customers and ensure that all the everything’s working properly and everything’s getting, you know, their needs, their values, the promises that you guys made to them, they’re getting all that, you know, driven home. Mateus Felini 15:14 Great. So, we have three, we have three people in the customer success team, they are helping almost 100 customers, enterprise customers. So we have a few processes to measure the use the value that they are getting from the platform. So whenever we close a new customer, we, we try to be very clear with them about what they can achieve, we try to understand what they are, what they pretend to it, I mean, their goals, we try to understand very well there goes. So we can work towards that. What I understood is that when you close a enterprise deal, you can help companies in many different ways, there are a lot of problems you can solve. But the company, the client, the customer, they are usually trying to solve one big problem. And the best thing is to understand what is the problem and work specifically on that after you solve it, then you can do a lot of different things. But you can help these companies to 100 things if you don’t solve the one thing they hired to, to solve, you know, usable for them. So that’s, that’s how we try to, you know, to manage our customers. Taylor Kenerson 16:45 I love that you brought that concept up of focus. And of course, it has so many different applications to how you focus your time where you focus your time, and you know, how you help customers, you know, and help them build their challenges, of course, you know, solutions, they could do a million things, but what is their one biggest problem? And how do you really maximize that how you’re serving and how you’re putting your solutions in front of that problem. And not just, you know, kind of putting a bandaid on those problems, like actually solving the problem so that it doesn’t cause them any more challenges. And then you can move on to unlock those other ways that your platform can serve. And that’s, that’s a super important key key point for anyone starting companies is, you know, of course, you want to do a lot and you can do a lot, though, it’s important to stay hyper focused on finding what the challenge is, and understanding to your boundaries on can you actually solve that challenge for them? Are you the best fit and being completely transparent with your customers on that, like, maybe you’re not the best fit? And maybe they won’t see the best value out of your platform, and being open and honest about that, once you unpeel and go through that, like discovery? How did you as a CEO, Matt view, CS and understand the value that, you know, the CS function department would provide to the company as a whole? And how did you look to expand that? And can you talk a lot about, you know, how you built that from the ground up? Mateus Felini 18:17 Well, our CS team, they are the ones that hold the company standing on its feet, you know, they hold the customers, they are the ones that actually understand the needs, the ones that make the customer stay with us. So we don’t have too many people in this area, because we don’t need to because we have almost 100 customers, it’s not that much. We have a few large customers few large complex. So but they are essential they work they are the ones who actually make the software make our solution makes sense. If we just give it to the customer, they are going to get maybe 1% of the value they could be getting and customer success are the people who actually make the customer get all the value that they could be getting. Taylor Kenerson 19:24 When did you actually expand at No, like have a beginner CS team? Was it from the initial? You know, obviously not the initial idea. But once you started to get traction when did you know was the right time to implement a CS team? Mateus Felini 19:39 When Well, at the beginning, I was the CS team. I did the implementation I helped the customers I tried to understand the goals, the best way to solve the problems, but it was when it started to be a bottleneck for other things. So I had to make sales to raise money. And I needed people who could actually focus on that. One of the lessons that I learned is that sometimes for certain areas, you need specialists, you need people that are focused on a specific thing. And customer success is that I don’t think it works to have a customer success that also help in other areas of the company, because you don’t have enough people. As he started. Sometimes it happens sometimes, there is no other way. But it became necessary when we started to have too many customers for one person to handle. And when the customers started to become more complicated, they needed special attention. They needed specialists, helping them. Adil Saleh 21:07 Yeah, I definitely I echo with it. Because, you know, once you onboard customers, you acquire customer, be it big or small customer, especially with small SMBs. That useful if you’re trying to expand more of your stairs and you know, positioning your product into SMB. That’s how you will go on a very bigger valuation, as a business as a product business. That is super important to grow your lifetime value of the customer. This is super important. And that is only possible if you have specialists that are consistently working with those customers, and trying to make this product success for them, once you build an operation with customer success is is really a big one, to help your customers be more successful. That’s how they will expand with you. That’s how they will pay more. That’s how you will expand your contract dollar value as well. So what are you guys doing and thinking forward about this process? Like post sales, especially grind your small businesses to mid market and mid market to enterprise? Mateus Felini 22:14 Yeah, exactly. We, when you help enterprise companies, they are a bit different, you know, you have to have a very close relationship with them. That’s why we try to not automate a few things of our customer success area. Because we actually want customers talking with us, not just to help them succeed better. But because I believe as a startup, we have to be listening to customers in real time improving the product in real time. So we couldn’t just, you know, choose a automated AI chat to help because the customer, we want to hear from them when we want to hear if they have any complaints, if they haven’t suggestions. Because in our type of business, we try to have very large company, very large contracts with these companies. So we kind of don’t work with charities, most of the time, almost every month. We don’t have charities, because that’s not why we close the customer. We don’t close to solve a temporary problem, we try to become something that is essential forever for further evaluation. And I believe having actual people in the customer success team, not just automated tools. It’s very important in this case. Adil Saleh 23:52 Yeah, it’s it’s very important that you have a best combination of people, specialists, as you mentioned, as well as the technology to make sure that technology hooks people that you know, maybe give them data, maybe give them notifications or triggers. Just like there are loads of tools. We have some tools that help startups with the linker DS frameworks and making sure they are automating most of the nitty gritty or most of the repetitive task and just focus on high value tasks and communications. As you mentioned, it is very important to have a CSM touch have a customer has a human touch that is an expert. So I’m so sure that there are things that that this this platform hyper engaged and people that are listening to this, this episode would come up and they can definitely help you out with this operation in terms of making sure you have a digital approach towards Yes, at the same time you have people that are smart enough to make, you know some meaningful conversations to drive more expansion retention, or you know, the lifetime growth of your customer base. So I really appreciate you want to say something. Mateus Felini 25:02 When I say we try not to automate things, it’s mostly about the relationship with the customer, you know, obviously tasks, repetitive task is or anything that can be automated without without damaging the relationship. We try it automates. But, I mean, for example, if a director of a billion dollar company needs something, they don’t want to get into a, you know, come on questions page, they want to call someone they want to actual help from person. So it’s, that’s what I need from not automated exists, maybe verification relationship. Adil Saleh 25:53 So I have a question. Now, Matt, you talked about director of sales, he needs some help. Let’s assume going forward, thinking of next three years, maybe five years, you have 250, different director of sales that need your help, and you cannot stay on top of all of them, you know, all your team needs, you will still have people, maybe a whole lot more than what you have right now resources expert behind it, but they need to be get notified that this person is is having some complication in the product, this person needs help. They need triggers, then they can take action. So that’s how it is not entirely, you know, automating the engagement. It’s basically empowering thing, making sure it’s you have things well before time, and you got got to know when to take action and when to take action. You’re gonna point. So that’s how this customer success as in as an emerging industry moving towards like more digital, touch more, making sure it’s data driven, more making sure that it’s, it’s always having all the information ahead of time to communicate before you communicate with the customer. You got my point, right? Mateus Felini 27:12 Yes. Yeah, new types of new ways of the things become necessary. Absolutely. And ultimately, things it’s essential. You get where you have to generalize. What is the best thing to do is to, you know, have someone doing this, we have a lot of control, but it has, like a certain point where it doesn’t work anymore and can’t work anymore. So yeah, absolutely. We have 200 people needing the same account manager, the same CS manager. It’s impossible. We need to. Adil Saleh 27:50 Yes, yes. Yeah. So how many, by the way, you talked about these banks? You call them small businesses or like enterprise? Like, I’m just trying to get my head around? How, how the size of the businesses that you have on the contract on the revenue coverage? Wise, are those small businesses, smaller customers of yours are those all enterprise Mateus Felini 28:15 we have a few small business, mostly startups. They like delivery apps, or, you know, any type of startup needs help with location. But it’s mostly it’s mostly large customers. Our contract starts at $30,000 a year. So converting to Brazilian real money for Adil Saleh 28:51 let me tell you one thing, man, like these small delivery app, you know, travel apps, parking apps, there are lots of parking apps in the US, if you just explore more, they are smaller today. They are getting just like yourself, they are getting bigger over time over years. So you need to make sure you have some systems that that monitors all of their activities, how they’re, they’re basically their usage is growing, they’re growing their team, their customer base, and that’s how they will use more of your products. I can pay you more in the future. So that’s why that’s what I was talking about, you know, having incorporating such tools and technologies that said, that gives you triggered about these metrics that helps you grow your, you know, unlock growth from your existing customer base. Mateus Felini 29:39 Yeah, I agree with you. I think you have to, to work with very good tools to be able to do that. Adil Saleh 29:49 Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Man, I was, you know, it was really really interesting talking to you today. It was a we learned a lot about debt low and How’re you guys are expanding. And I love the fact that you guys had the customers in the first place. And then you wanted yourself and your team, I guess it’s 30 plus people. Right. All those are full time employees. Are these some of the contractors? Mateus Felini 30:15 We have 32 people. We don’t work with contractors who have really far. interns, the rest of them are full time. Adil Saleh 30:26 Got it? Got it. And one last thing before? I’m sorry, mostly what? Mateus Felini 30:32 Yeah, mostly, most of them are the working person Adil Saleh 30:37 working for personnel grade nine to five? Mateus Felini 30:40 Yeah, we we do believe it depends on the stage. You can build some of the things faster when people are in the same room. But we are, we’ll probably migrate to a hybrid mode. So because it improves the lifespan and quality of the employees, therefore improve their productivity depends on the state right now. Adil Saleh 31:09 This depends on the state. Yes, we also have a startup. So we have around five people right now. And we have a hybrid set up previously, we had like Monday to Friday, nine to five new come. We work together as startup just like old movies. Now we have hybrid approach more like Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. So it is working so far, pretty good. So you can experiment that too. So it was realized, by the way, you have any openings, you have any suggestions for people that can show interest in working at Datlo? You can have a word with them people listening, if you have any openings? Mateus Felini 31:41 Well, right now we are hiring developers. I guess every startups are always hiring software developers. Adil Saleh 31:53 OK, what kind of developers? Those are front end back end full stack? Mateus Felini 31:58 Yeah, right. Machine Learning, or C sharp. C sharp. So in sales, people will we are expanding our operation to the United States. Right now most of our customers are from Brazil, and salespeople in the United States at the beginning. SDRs very soon closers. So more Adil Saleh 32:23 of those tools are for your enterprise segment or for the for the mid market. Mateus Felini 32:29 It’s mostly for enterprise. mid market is very good for us to get in touch with people because you can actually reach people enterprise, it’s sometimes hard. But Adil Saleh 32:41 it is a lot of times it is. So you’re talking about STRS and BDRs. Like you have systems because this is what they ask. And they would love to know more on STRS and BDRs. They need a system for like outreaching. You know, you have all of that right? Mateus Felini 32:56 Yeah, prospecting. Right right now. It is. We made a lot of integrations in our sales ops. So have Pipedrive link kidding. We have a few automation tools, emails. Most of our people are very technical, even the salespeople because there are a lot of tools to, to work with. Adil Saleh 33:21 Yes. So yeah. So you, people folks listening to Matt, this, they’re looking for how many roles? Like there’s just one role for sales and one role for engineer on the C sharp expertise mourned? Mateus Felini 33:35 Well, right now we are looking for two SDRs and two engineers, Adil Saleh 33:40 two salespeople, two engineers more experienced with up to two years. It’s like, it’s pretty standard with startups, like two to three years. Is that right? Mateus Felini 33:50 Yes, exactly. Adil Saleh 33:53 With a background in tech, like in SaaS called SaaS, or maybe it can be somebody where you’re at and T Comcast like all these legend, legacy platforms. Mateus Felini 34:04 Yeah, if you have any knowledge in GIS software development, that’s amazing. I know that it’s really hard to find this type of people we used to beat them. But if you do that, very good. Adil Saleh 34:20 Great, great, love that conversation. Matt this episode will be up in a few weeks time we’ve got some some in the queue as well. Our team will get back to you with you know some high resolution pictures if they need any they’ll come back and you know have exchange of information via email. And we should we are good luck for your product the way you’re expanding the approach. And with I mean people listening to these partners listening to this will definitely come for anything that you need help that you that you appreciate that one more time. Thank you very much for having us a great time. Mateus Felini 34:55 Great. Thank you guys. I hope you had what you expected? If you needed it anything else please let me know Adil Saleh 35:05 you’ve been you’ve been amazing. Taylor Kenerson 35:07 Yes. Thank you so much. We greatly appreciate your how beautiful that is. Adil Saleh 35:11 Thank you. Thank you so very much for staying with us on the episode. Please share your feedback at adil@hyperengage.io. 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.

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