We talked to Abe Stein of Matter365 about helping entrepreneurs, operators and investors realize their shared ambition to build good startups, create jobs, grow generational wealth and impact the world. This is what he said:
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Abe Stein: We are incredibly lucky to be doing well. We have maintained good health, and we feel fortunate for that. My parents were just vaccinated, and we’re hopeful things are trending in the right direction.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Matter365.
Abe Stein: My background is in building early and growth stage cloud companies, varying from IaaS to SaaS. I love the pace and the environment of a startup. It’s easier to get everyone aligned and pulling in the same direction, similar to a team sport. I have worn many hats, from running finance and operations to sales to partnerships, launching new geographies, entering new markets. Previously, I lived in Berlin, where I had the opportunity to run an international sales team, and through connections there, I came to Matter365 to lead operations and go to market.
How Matter365 innovate?
Abe Stein: A core part of our strategy is empowering our customers to get the most from a foundational set of building blocks they already have access to the core set of Microsoft applications and platforms. We believe wholeheartedly in hyperintegration. Leveraging existing platforms as the foundation and building out increased functionality. We’re not looking to compete on features but rather to provide functionality and features in a platform that feels familiar, is easy to use, and minimizes friction. Building out functionality for lawyers directly into their Microsoft 365 environment, rather than pushing them out of their comfort zone, forcing “reinvention” onto how they do business.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Abe Stein: Internally, we’ve always been a remote first and a distributed team, so, fortunately, we did not have the shuttering of any offices. Without physical offices, we have continued to work from coworking spaces out of Toronto, Boston, and Europe. That afforded us some extra flexibility without having to adjust to a new normal and no disruption to our processes.
As it relates to market conditions and working with our customers, the pandemic, in many ways, has really spurred the adoption of cloud-based solutions for lawyers and for everybody. We’ve seen that in every sort of corner of the software and cloud ecosystem. What we’re seeing in our sector as relates to lawyers, CPAs, business advisors, they hadn’t necessarily taken the time to move and migrate to a cloud first deployment model for their systems and are now doing so.
For these professions, it is a business model built on billing for their time. They’re not afforded the luxury of investing in big process overhauls and major adoptions. Instead, things are done piecemeal, bit by bit. The pandemic has really interrupted the way they do business. If you were dealing with on-prem services or requiring everybody to log in from the same place, that has been completely upended. This has driven a huge shift in our target sectors in terms of the adoption of cloud-based solutions. Early on in 2020, there were a lot more conversations with our customers where we had to point to the benefits of moving to cloud. Since March/April of 2020, that is rarely an objection or barrier we have to address.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and your company in the future?
Abe Stein: Walks. I go on a lot of walks. It’s a small habit I picked up early on in my career when I was doing sales. If I had a particularly rough day of “no’s,” or a brutal meeting with a customer, I had to learn to find a way to reset my focus and fast. I probably go for 10-15 walks per day, each about just 10 minutes. It helps me work through challenges, gain perspective, and refocus before diving headfirst into whatever comes next.
As we talk about our company and the future, I’m very excited about the next few years. We’re growing quickly with very minimal go to market spend. We have a fantastic team, and it’s been so cool seeing how accountable everybody has been to their work, despite being in a distributed environment. It bodes very well for our growth potential, being able to count on the early folks to set the standards and expectations, for accountability and collaboration in a unique setup being so distributed.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Abe Stein: Our primary competitors are a handful of vendors, such as Clio, Practice Panther, Smokeball. There are more legacy providers, Cosmo Law and PC law. I’m a big fan of all of them because they’ve helped evangelize the concept of cloud in the legal sector. Even before the pandemic, when we were really ramping things up and just getting started with our go to market, we were still having fewer conversations than I would have expected where we really had to sell people on the value of moving to cloud. All of our competitors are doing a really great job spreading the gospel and ushering in different ways of working, which really enables us to then emphasize our differentiations, which is so unique about our approach.
For us, we’re not looking to compete on a feature-to-feature comparison. We aim to build some of the tools and capabilities clients are beginning to look for in an environment that they’re so familiar with and already using, minimizing friction and adoption. We gain customers who have tried adopting one of our competitors but end up never fully using it. These aren’t the most complicated systems nor these enterprise-wide adoptions, more like 20 person firms. It shouldn’t take more than a few months to get up and running. With Matter365, within 30-60 days, users are off to the races because of the minimal migration, minimal setup, and perhaps most importantly, minimal learning curve.
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