The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.
Sean Steigerwald is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm a cofounder at Malartu. We're a no-code analytics platform. Our platform connects data from the tools businesses use to run their operation and empowers anyone to build insightful analytics, from KPIs to forecasts, without any technical expertise.
What did it take / how did you get started? We originally built this to automate executive reports for companies we had invested in through our investment platform, Malartu Funds. We needed a better way to create updates to share with investors and we wanted specific pieces of information about the operation of over 25 companies. We couldn't find a good tool to help us with this so we started building. About a year into building the analytics tool out we realized that this was a problem that almost every business owner or manager experienced in some way, and that "business intelligence" platforms like Tableau and Power BI were still owned and operating by the IT department. So our mission is to bring that level of analysis directly to the folks asking the questions: managers and executives.
What does the future look like for you and your hustle? We believe this is a billion dollar opportunity. If everyone within a business has the ability to get answers from their data it fundamentally changes the way businesses are run. We're finding that accountants, marketers, sales managers, and operators are all becoming data-driven. Near term, our focus is on franchises and accountants. Franchises are essentially large networks of very similar businesses. No-code analytics solves a huge need that can scale quickly within a franchise. Accountants who learn Malartu are able to apply new levels of analytics with their clients, and financial data is the foundation of any company. You'll begin to see a clearer relationship between these two groups on Malartu over the next year, but that's all for now :) What drives / motivates you? Building something to solve big problems. The coolest thing in the world is to watch someone succeed because of something you built.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do? Just start doing it. Too many people get caught up in the minutiae of building a business: fundraising, pitch competitions, networking events, etc. The hard part is executing, so start that first. Find a way to build out your concept with resources available to you: spreadsheets, website builders, email, phone calls, etc. Once you start doing that, it will become very clear who you need to network with, if/when you need to fundraise, what value press might give you, etc.
What has been the hardest part of the hustle? Finances and time. It takes a long time to build anything great, and you don't make much money while doing it. There are no silver bullets. The hardest part has been to manage living frugally for years and finding small wins to celebrate. Some folks see success fast, some slow, there's no right or wrong way to do it. For us, it's been slow and steady while we found the root of really big problems. While I would have loved that to take less time, there's no way it could have. As we're starting to see some hyper-growth, I anticipate the hardest part will be instilling that same hard-working mantra into new hires.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend? Podcasts: I love "How I Built This" with Guy Raz by NPR. Mostly because as a B2B entrepreneur I find I have the most to learn from consumer brands. Other favorites are "Masters of Scale" with Reid Hoffman. Books: "The Hard Thing About Hard Things" "Content Inc" "Predictably Irrational." I'm also reading "The Everything Store" about Amazon's origins and am really enjoying it.
Side or full-time hustle? Full-time.
List the founders Sean Steigerwald (me), Jon Spinney, Lewis Sheats, David Richey
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle? ~50 on a normal week, 60 on a good week
# of Employees? 4 full-time
When did you start? 2015
How much did it cost to launch? Technically around $200 to file for an LLC
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised? All angels, some were originally customers. We've raised over $500k.