First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Adam Robinson: We are doing as well as can be. Luckily both my fiancé’s and my businesses were already fully remote before the pandemic, and our house was set up for two people to work from comfortably. We’re very lucky.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded GetEmails.
Adam Robinson: I graduated from Rice University in 2003, then took a job in Manhattan trading real estate credit default swaps at the now-defunct Lehman Brothers. My first roommates were starting a company called Vimeo in the apartment I was living in. It planted the entrepreneurial seed, and I always wanted to do what they were doing. Starting a tech company seemed like a dream life.
After 2008 and the Lehman debacle, I lost everything and decided that rather than try to go back into finance I should try to get into tech.
Many years later, after trying and failing many times, I finally got something to work – Robly Email Marketing. That was my first startup. It’s a nice bootstrapped business, and it’s still running today by a group led by Sebastian Reingold. We have 5000 happy customers and have won #1 in customer satisfaction by G2 Crowd.
I have been obsessed with the identity market for years and investigating how actually to go about doing what GetEmails does since late 2017. We finally figured it out, and our original plan was to make it a differentiating feature for our Email Marketing application, Robly.
Two things happened that made us all-of-a-sudden decide to make GetEmails its own product:
1) The reception from our Robly users was incredible. Ultra-high conversion rate.
2) People we were outbounding about the product were only using the ID feature and weren’t using the rest of our app, and they weren’t willing to switch.
We decided it was a pretty crappy product if it was stuck inside of Robly, but would be a great one if we integrated it with everything and made it super-easy to set up and use.
How does GetEmails innovate?
Adam Robinson: GetEmails is bootstrapped and grew to $250K MRR in its first 6 months, during the pandemic. It’s also the only Identity resolution tool that allows B2B businesses to identify and capture anonymous email addresses on customer websites. We call this technology Email-Based Retargeting.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Adam Robinson: The pandemic hasn’t affected our business as we know. It’s hard to say because we launched only a year ago, last November 2019. Many of our customers are eCommerce companies, and those businesses are doing very well right now. We did have a few customers cancel because their businesses were on hold, but some of them are already back using our product.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Adam Robinson: We thought it would be good to go freemium, but found out quickly that GetEmails doesn’t provide the same value as a free app as MailChimp would. To do well with GetEmails, customers must have high traffic to their website, and they must be somewhat sophisticated marketers.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and GetEmails in the future?
Adam Robinson: I make sure to diversify my life so that if something bad happens, I won’t be destroyed by the outcome. I work out by running or swimming 3 to 6 miles every morning. I start my day with pour-over coffee and writing in my journal while listening to classical piano.
I put time into relationships that matter to me, and I am very focused on my business growth and new business opportunities.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Adam Robinson: At the moment, GetEmails is the only B2B Email-Based Retargeting app. We are completely new, so breaking into the market, educating people has been more of a challenge than the competition.
Your final thoughts?
Adam Robinson: Advice I’d give to new startup founders – Focus on product, and getting to product-market fit. It’s easy to be delusional about it the first time around. There are lots of emotions that come with starting something for the first time. Read and re-read what people describe product-market fit feeling like, and keep your expenses as low as possible and your team as small as possible until you find it.