Software Executive Magazine

February/March 2018

Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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Page 10 of 43

Kraios wasn't trying to build a unicorn when he left a management role at ExactTarget to start a consulting practice. He admits he doesn't have the patience to be an engineer, so he teamed up with another former ExactTarget employee to architect the alpha version (a version he already had a paying customer for). "I didn't know how to raise money, and I didn't know about operating agreements," Kraios admits. "I just knew execu- tives and how to shop the idea around." It helped that one of these executives was Chris Baggott, cofounder of ExactTarget. Kraios left the com- pany on more than favorable terms, so much so that Baggott wrote the first check to back 250ok. Having a heavyweight be the first money in cre- ated the kind of domino effect that helped the company double revenue annually since 2013 and quickly become cash-flow positive. Part of this growth was sparked by the compa- ny's focus on owning as much data as possible without having to rely solely on third parties. That's what inspired Kraios to create a division called MailboxPark in January 2017. This soft- ware platform is complementary to 250ok's core offerings — it enhances domain name sales by utilizing and monetizing existing email traffic. Kraios knows creating new products like this helps keep his team engaged, too. He says, "It's always more fun for engineers to build new things than it is to maintain a code base or fix bugs or scale an existing platform. Really good engineers aren't motivated by maintaining; they are builders and creators." Continuing to build 250ok is how Kraios is pay- ing it forward in the budding Indianapolis tech ecosystem that groomed his entrepreneurial spirit and helped him secure early funding. He's part of why Forbes puts Indianapolis at a sur- prising fifth on its 2017 list of cities creating the most tech jobs, right behind the usual suspects like San Francisco, Charlotte, Austin, and San Jose. "There are a lot of meaningful tech busi- nesses outside of Silicon Valley, and the more that survive, the better. The unicorn stories are fantastic, and we're all a bit hopeful that our idea will go on a ride like that, but instead my goal is to give people achievable goals and make other entrepreneurs realize they don't need a ton of startup capital and continued investment to run a successful company." S A word of advice for anyone trying to get Greg Kraios' attention: your intro email had better be a good one. Kraios is the founder and CEO of 250ok, an email analytics and deliverability SaaS platform that announced a $2.6 million Series A in October 2017. "Over the years, we've had various firms reach out and offer us mon- ey," Kraios says. "It just got to the point where the emails they sent and the calls they made were so generic and felt so impersonal that I just wouldn't engage at all." That's why Kraios wasn't actively fundraising when Arthur Ventures first reached out to him. The company had grown organically to more than 20 employees since Kraios founded it in 2011 and already had logos like Marketo and Adobe in its portfolio. But an early-stage investment firm's email caught his eye — it was targeted, personal- ized, and mentioned a potential in-person meet- ing with 250ok in Indianapolis, where the compa- ny is headquartered. The message did everything 250ok's software is built to do — help companies maximize email marketing performance. Arthur Ventures was intrigued by the $1 million in training grants and performance-based condi- tional tax credits 250ok had announced in April 2017 from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Its local job creation plan was more than altruistic; it paved the way for a seed round to help increase its head count. Kraios liked the idea of working with a family fund instead of a VC, and he also liked the friendlier terms. "When you're talking to potential investors, you feel you need to tell that unicorn story for them to be inter- ested," Kraios says. "Arthur Ventures didn't want or need me to tell that story. They just wanted to see a solid business doing well. They didn't put pressure on us to prove out a billion-dollar idea." 250ok This email analytics and deliverability SaaS company proves why striving to be the next unicorn isn't the only path to success. A B B Y S O R E N S E N Executive Editor @AbbySorensen_ Vital Statistics GREG KRAIOS Founder & CEO Finances Total Capital Raised $3 M ($400,000 seed, $2.6 million Series A) 23 Employees Headquarters Indianapolis Year Founded 2011 Latest Updates October 2017: Announced a $2.6 million Series A led by Arthur Ventures Notable Customers Marketo Adobe SendGrid 11 SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018 By A. Sorensen 250ok COMPANIES TO WATCH Index

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