In the year 2020, I found myself in a profound conversation with one of my influential mentors, Kyle York. Kyle, an executive at Dyn, was instrumental in cultivating my confidence in the world of business. However, I was at an impasse and had nowhere to go but to him.
After six grueling but rewarding years at LeadIQ, I found myself stagnant, toying with the question, "What comes after LeadIQ?" It seemed as though I'd hit a wall there. The company was thriving, my shares were vested, we had built and scaled a robust team, and my once joyous tasks were now delegated to the new divisions we had created. It felt like witnessing your kids growing up, gaining independence, and requiring less of your assistance.
To my surprise, Kyle suggested that I venture into starting a company as my next professional endeavor. This was not unfamiliar territory since many Dyn alumni had trodden the path before. The idea, previously unthought of, sent my mind into a whirlwind of possibilities. Subsequently, the groundwork for 'Request For Meeting' began.
Cory von Wallenstein, another mentor from Dyn, had once imparted a crucial lesson on finding product-market fit. Roughly a decade ago, during a career transition, I had an opportunity to collaborate with Cory for a few weeks. He was developing his loyalty program startup for restaurants named 'Adored' at the time. The experience involved interviewing restaurant owners and local business managers, a process that highlighted the pain point of customer retention for restaurants. Cory's journey not only paved the path for his startup but also bestowed invaluable knowledge upon me.
Fast-forward to a decade later, I knew I wanted to create a solution that could assist salespeople and simultaneously cater to buyers' personal needs. With a vision for potential growth, I initiated my discovery interviews, which were extensively documented in Season 1 of 'Building a Startup.'
Meanwhile, back at LeadIQ, our evolution into enterprise sales demanded we complete Request for Proposals (RFPs). This requirement inspired the name 'Request for Meeting'. As I registered the domain, what started as a platform to streamline vendors' request for meetings morphed into a method for avoiding cold calls and emails. This pivot is typical in a startup, continually adjusting until you hit the perfect formula.
However, one significant hurdle remained. The common notion among buyers was that a pitch has to be a meeting. Despite conducting polls and asking individuals, it was evident that most users presumed getting paid using RFM involved agreeing to a salesperson's request for a meeting. We discovered that this was not the only way to pitch someone and that most sellers aim to qualify and assess fit during the first call.
Given this revelation, we decided to retire the name and product, 'Request for Meeting.' Over the next few weeks, we plan to transition our numerous buyers and sellers to an enhanced platform. This platform resonates with the evolving landscape where buyers sell their attention to sellers.
To document our ongoing journey, we are thrilled to present the second season of 'Building A Startup.' The series will explore our quest for a new company name that aligns with our newfound direction. Stay tuned to witness our evolution and the birth of our fresh identity.
Ryan O'Hara is the founder of Pitchfire. Prior to starting Pitchfire, he has been an early employee at several startups helping them with marketing and prospecting tactics including Dyn (Acquired by Oracle 2016) and LeadIQ (first GTM employee-Series B).
He's had prospecting and marketing campaigns featured in Fortune, Mashable, and TheNextWeb. Ryan specializes in go-to-market strategy, branding, business development, prospecting, and sales training. He also mentors two accelerators, The Iron Yard and The Alpha Loft.