CEO says Vidyard considering M&A opportunities amid tech downturn.
After seeing strong pandemic-fuelled growth, Kitchener-Waterloo software startup Vidyard is aiming to hit the $100 million USD annual revenue mark, with an eye toward $1 billion.
In an interview with BetaKit, Vidyard co-founder and CEO Michael Litt said the company saw demand for its video offerings increase as sales and marketing professionals were forced to conduct business from afar.
Now, with new chief operating officer (COO) Jonathan Lister leading the company’s go-to-market efforts, Vidyard aims to build on its growth during COVID-19 at a time when many other tech startups are simply looking to survive as a recession looms.
Demand for Vidyard’s solutions grew after COVID-19 “basically killed field selling.”
“Field selling was on the decline pre-pandemic because it was expensive, and inside selling and virtual selling was becoming more and more prominent,” said Litt. According to the CEO, COVID-19 simply served as the nail in the coffin. “The pandemic basically killed field selling,” he added.
Fuelled by public health concerns, travel restrictions, and macroeconomic fears, many firms slashed their travel and entertainment budgets and shifted to operating remotely. These conditions were a boon to Vidyard as more customers adopted its tools, which allow companies to boost their sales productivity at a fraction of the cost compared to field selling.
“That story played out again, and again, and again,” said Litt. “That enabled us to accelerate our trajectory through to profitability, invest as much as we could back into [research and development], and totally embrace this video messaging story.”
New COO Lister’s past experience includes serving as Google’s country manager and managing director for Canada and AOL’s senior vice president (VP) of operations. Lister comes to Vidyard and the newly created COO role following over a decade at LinkedIn, where he most recently served as the firm’s VP of global sales solutions and led its Sales Navigator business unit.
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“He took it from zero to over a million paying subscribers, paying $1000 a year, [at] a billion dollars in revenue,” said Litt, who hopes Lister can help Vidyard achieve similar results.
Founded in 2011, Vidyard provides a platform for marketing and sales video hosting, enablement, and analytics to more than 12 million professionals at over 250,000 companies around the world. Backed by investors like Bessemer Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures, OMERS Ventures, and Inovia Capital, Vidyard last secured external capital in 2019.
According to Litt, the startup currently has “an infinite runway.” The CEO claimed Vidyard is in a position where it can choose whether to operate on a cashflow-neutral basis or invest more heavily in growth.
“In the last two years, everybody was raising money at these insane valuations, which is awesome,” said Litt. “At the time, it was unclear what was going to come. I think a lot of businesses thought these inflated 100x multiples were gonna last.”
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Unlike some other players in the tech space, Litt said Vidyard has been “judicious” about its spending. The CEO added that the company has kept its focus on retaining “really strong delta option value,” adding, “[this] means not doing big financial raises at crazy valuations because we want our employees to have upside [and] we want all of our stakeholders to be engaged with the same outcome.”
Though he did not share how much Vidyard is currently generating in revenue, Litt noted that the startup’s “next meaningful milestone” on the revenue front will be $100 million USD. With Lister spearheading Vidyard’s go-to-market function, Litt believes the firm is well-positioned to achieve that.
Product-wise, Vidyard still sees lots of room to continue expanding in video, and the firm’s R&D efforts right now are focused on helping customers create video content more effectively, including through the use of artificial intelligence.
“We’re in a bear market, but we have the balance sheet and financials to invest heavily.”
-Michael Litt, Vidyard
Part of Vidyard’s focus has been on balancing building on its products and putting itself in a position to explore potential mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Litt believes interesting M&A deals could emerge for Vidyard during the downturn, “especially in the next couple of quarters as businesses look for a soft landing.”
“We think there’s going to be some opportunities to pick up some interesting tech to better complete our vision, and again, come out of this cycle with a really, really amazing suite of products that benefit our go-to-market teams,” said Litt.
The CEO believes Vidyard is well-positioned to navigate current economic conditions, noting that in a recession, “the first thing organizations cut is that travel and entertainment budget,” adding that this spending has “just never come back” since COVID-19.
“Fortunes are built in bear markets and harvested in bull markets, and we’re in a bear market, but we have the balance sheet and financials to invest heavily in product and value for our users,” said Litt.
Feature image courtesy Communitech via Vidyard. Photo by Anthony Reinhart.