It was a conversation with billionaire Mark Cuban that forged the foundation of Dale Gantous’s business philosophy.
The InGenius Software CEO met the Shark Tank entrepreneur at a trade show many years back, she told Techopia Live this week, before either had fully established their respective careers. When he asked what the plan was to grow her Kanata-based software firm, the young exec said she assumed an IPO or other major investment would do the trick – but Cuban brought it back to basics.
“He said, ‘No, no, no, forget about all that. Just make your customers happy and make a profit,’” Gantous recalled. “And that’s what we followed ever since.”
Fast forward to 2019, and InGenius has bootstrapped itself to US$10 million in ARR and struck a $29.4-million deal earlier this month to be acquired by Texas-based Upland Software. Hitting that valuation without taking outside capital for the past eight years is a mark of pride, Gantous told Techopia Live.
“We had accomplished something that I think is rare … We did that as a small company in Ottawa with huge enterprise customers all over the States and Europe and around the world.”
InGenius’s software plugs a company’s phone systems directly into their CRM, giving salespeople immediate access to customers’ profiles as soon as they pick up the call. The firm counts the likes of Expedia, Gap and LinkedIn among its clientele.
Though the company has earned acclaim in recent years as one of Canada’s fastest-growing firms, Gantous and InGenius founder Rich Loen decided last year that if the firm wanted to hit the $30-million mark, it would need outside help.
Upland, Gantous said, is the “perfect match.” The company isn’t a competitor – Gantous said she wouldn’t have considered a deal like that – and has direct access to the CIO levels of some Fortune 500 companies.
For those reasons and more, Gantous said she’s comfortable ending her 26-year journey with InGenius on this note.
“It feels fine,” she said with a laugh. “It feels fine because of the acquirer that we went with.”
To hear more about InGenius’s booming business and tips from numbercrunch’s Susan Richards about how to prepare your own SaaS company for sale, watch the episode above.