In this episode of SaaS Origin Stories, Phil speaks with Andrew Butt, Founder and CEO of Enable, a software development company that helps manufacturers, distributors, and retailers take control of their rebate programs and turn them into an engine for growth. Prior to this, he was the Co-Founder & Managing Director of the E-Commerce Division at DCS Group (UK) Ltd, and the Co-Founder and Director at Enable Infomatrix.
Together, they get into what it’s like going from eighty to five hundred employees and how you cope with that as a CEO, when to stop being a remote SaaS business and move to an office, the difficulties of having such a strong niche, and the differences between fundraising in the UK and the US.
Guest at a Glance:
Name: Andrew Butt
About Dan: Andrew Butt is the Founder and CEO of Enable, a software development company that helps manufacturers, distributors, and retailers take control of their rebate programs and turn them into an engine for growth. Prior to this, he was the Co-Founder & Managing Director of the E-Commerce Division at DCS Group (UK) Ltd and the Co-Founder and Director at Enable Infomatrix.
Topics we cover:
A Brilliant Combination of Skills
Andrew and his Co-Founder both had a set of different skills that really complimented each other; Andrew was focused on the tech side while also having an interest in business, and his Co-Founder had an immense knowledge in supply chains, manufacturing, and how customers work. After noticing a technical disconnect between all three of those, they created Enable in order to make the supply chain processes easier!
“So [my Co-Founder] was a supply chain expert and understood distribution and also business, and then I was really the technical programming guy and I was building applications, building software, web applications in the early days. And I also had a real passion for business as well.”
Being Profitable From Day One!
In the UK, the typical approach when building a SaaS business is by starting small and then growing organically. Instead of straight up looking for an angel investor like so many other businesses, they chose to go the traditional, gradual route of funding the business. Once they started to build a product rather than just provide services, they started using the money they got from previous work as the funding source.
“Initially we were already providing services. We started the company together really as a service provider, and we were building custom software for companies and they were obviously paying us to do that. So, we were kind of profitable from virtually day one, which is a typical approach in the UK: start very small and grow organically.”
Searching for a US Investor
Enable’s goal when they moved to the US was to find an investor that understood what they were about—someone who had a deep understanding of their particular niche. Unfortunately, they learned that a lot of people they pitched to didn’t really understand their product. Eventually, they found someone and managed to raise forty million dollars in the first year, allowing them to build a team in the US and grow organically.
“It really took some visionary investors to see what we had and see through some of those strange kind of aspects and to realize this was a really good thing to invest in.”
From 80 to 500 Employees
When Enable made the move from the UK to the US, their team started to grow exponentially and soon went from 80 employees all the way to 500! The transitional period of this proved to be quite the challenge for Andrew. As time went on, they, fortunately, got used to it; it became much easier to manage and they quickly were able to figure out how to delegate tasks.