Markus Beck of tye tells us how he built a SaaS data quality platform to help businesses keep bad data from ruining great customer relationships.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Markus Beck: Thanks for asking! My family is spread out throughout Europe, but so far, nobody has gotten sick. However, family members of our team have caught COVID & suffered.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded tye.
Markus Beck: I’m half Finnish, half Austrian, 30 years old, living in Berlin. I moved around a lot as a kid and called Vienna my home. I’m a Process Engineer by training, with digital marketing & project management skills from previous jobs. I always wanted to reach financial freedom and realized that the path I was going down definitely wasn’t bringing me there.
I’m intensely passionate about data & relationships. Building on this passion, my co-founders & I built a SaaS data quality platform to help businesses keep bad data from ruining great relationships.
How does tye innovate?
Markus Beck: Innovation is the only currency in Startupland. We built on what we knew, what we saw & what we knew the market needs.
The problem is that the only currency in the rest of the world is money, and having bootstrapped for a long time before we raised capital, we had to be sure that we were doing the right thing. We came up with several hypotheses. Once we proved them individually, we had proven the market opportunity for ourselves.
In our concrete case: bad customer data is a major issue. The only solutions on the market are highly complex tools that you need to configure yourself. Nobody has the time to learn how to use a complex tool in addition to their work. Our hypothesis was: companies need great data, and they shouldn’t have to do it themselves. We created tye, the data quality platform that keeps your data clean & enables you to accomplish more with it.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Markus Beck: In March 2020, our sales team was only able to reach people by phone at 10% of February’s level. For three months, we had no bookings. June onwards, things started moving up. We had switched from cold calling to automated LinkedIn outreach. What a game-changer!
Also, we entered sales partnerships with CRM & ERP consultants, as they knew which of their customers suffer under bad data.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Markus Beck: Thank goodness: no! We are growing strong and hiring ten further people over the next few months.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Markus Beck: We use Pipedrive as our CRM. ActiveCampaign helps us with our content marketing subscribers.
If anybody knows of a tool that helps connect LinkedIn chats to Pipedrive, please reach out to me!
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Markus Beck: The German state of Baden-Württemberg created a leveraged convertible note program called Startup BW Pro-Tect in 2020. For every €1 that a business angel invested, Baden-Württemberg invested an additional €4. We are deeply thankful for this amazing program that has helped out many pre-seed stage startups, which helped top off our €400 pre-seed with an additional €200k. We are currently raising our €2M seed round. This top-up has helped us win amazing customers like the largest tape company, the largest European milk & coffee company & the largest portable toilet company in Europe.
Furthermore, most businesses in Germany were eligible for a €9k one-time grant in Spring 2020 to help pay for certain expenses.
Your final thoughts?
Markus Beck: COVID sucks, but the world will not only go on, but major innovation will come from it!
For salespeople: can’t reach people via phone? Try LinkedIn or email. Don’t be sales-y, but take the “hi, I’m an expert in this topic & you decide if you want to talk” approach.