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 28 of 43

PETER JACKSON CEO Bluescape San Carlos, CA Bluescape helps com- panies innovate, collab- orate, and work better. Its content collaboration software gives dispersed internal and external teams a digital work- space to meet, share, de- velop, and iterate on con- tent, ideas, and products. VERTICALS Design Firms, Film & Entertainment, Consulting, Biotech, Creative Agencies, Higher Education, Others VENDOR PARTNERS AVI-SPL, Whitlock, Dropbox, Okta, Amazon Web Services Bluescape WHAT CHANGES IN CUSTOMER DEMANDS AND EXPECTATIONS HAVE YOU SEEN OVER THE PAST ONE TO TWO YEARS? We're seeing a renewed emphasis on security, in part driven by the shift to cloud computing and by the alarming number of very big, very public cyberattacks across a number of industries mak- ing headlines. As a result, businesses are faced with a number of liability insurance challenges along with the associated technology challenges. As the saying goes these days, "It's no longer a matter of if you will be hacked, but when." WHAT ABOUT YOUR COMPANY IS KEEPING YOU UP AT NIGHT? My favorite quote about this is from Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, "Only the paranoid survive." If I'm not paranoid, then I'm not going to become the relevant player in this market. This is an inter- esting time for Bluescape as we shift from startup to growth mode. I keep an eye on the big players in this market and how quickly they can catch up with us. In many respects, you need to be in land-grab mode to establish a beachhead before they figure out you are on to something. We're al- ready seeing bigger players introduce lower-end products, which brings with it lots of marketing dollars, so we need to stay ahead of that. WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED ABOUT RAISING CAPITAL? I've been in the software business for a long time and have raised lots of capital, navigated IPOs, and negotiated M&A. Along the way, I've learned venture capital isn't that complex; the process is more logical than most passionate entrepreneurs think. VCs spend most of their time looking into crystal balls and asking what will be relevant five years from now. You need to do your homework. Does the VC specialize in a particular area, and are there themes you can glean from their recent investments that support your story? You also have to understand your matrix. You either have to be way ahead of everyone else, like Google was, or you have to have enough adoption traction with early adopters to support what the investors are interested in. Finally, you need to know what stage your company is in based on norms for different funding rounds. Series A companies have traction, Series B companies are maturing, and C and D rounds are for mas- sive growth. Be confident that you are meeting the basic criteria of the VC firms you are talking with and that you are at the right stage. Do your homework, and remember that it's never easy. It's among the hardest things I've ever done. For those who are self-funding, it can be hard to compete with companies that are taking outside VC money who are able to ramp up their prod- uct and go to market more quickly. Funding is the fuel that can take a company from the third inning to the sixth inning overnight. Funding is protection in many ways, and higher valuations typically lead to better returns for everyone. But if you have market share and the scale to stay on top, then self-funding makes a lot of sense. You ultimately have to ask yourself if you've got enough funds and resources to ensure competi- tors won't leapfrog you. WHAT ARE THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS YOU ASK IN EVERY INTERVIEW? The most important questions I ask are designed to assess the candidate's preparation for the in- terview as well as to get a sense of their DNA: Tell me what you know about my company. What are your thoughts about the product/service? Tell me what you know about the competition, and why do you think they are doing what they are doing? WHAT IS THE BEST BUSINESS BOOK ON YOUR SHELF? Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. S EXECUTIVE PROFILE Spotlight BLUESCAPE SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018 29 By P. Jackson

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