The Top Entrepreneurs in Money, Marketing, Business and Life

737: 3000 Hotels Are Paying Them to Optimize Pricing, Investors Put in $50m

July 31, 201725 min
Patrick Bosworth. They launched in 2012 with 3 co-founders and are now at 105 people. They help hotels—specifically, they help hotel locations better optimize their pricing. They raised $51 million serving over 3000 individual hotel locations paying on average 17 grand per year. They will very soon be doing about a $50 million run rate, 75% gross margin which they tripled over the recent future. This is incredible how they worked that fixed cause structure to drive more growth and bring the margin up over time. They spend about $20,000 on CAC; so there is a super healthy payback period at about 14 months. They are based in San Francisco and Las Vegas. Famous Five: Favorite Book? – Crossing the Chasm What CEO do you follow? – Matthew Prince Favorite online tool? — Gnome How many hours of sleep do you get?— trying to get 8, but is getting 7 hours If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – I wish that I had believed that it was okay for me to be happy back then   Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:44 – Nathan introduces Patrick Bosworth to the show 01:23 – Patrick is the co-founder and CEO of Duetto Research, his focus is driving vision and growth at a company 01:50 – Patrick thinks his MBA from Harvard is crucial in the building of the company; a friend of Patrick’s convinced him of the opportunity to build a tech business and introduced him to co-founder Craig Weissman, who was at Sales Force at the time 02:15 – In the fundraising process, his MBA created credibility as well as his co-founder’s MBA from Cornell. Another co-founder also went to Harvard and they were all able to maximize their networks 03:01 – Patrick did the two-year program and it helped him get a grounding in business terminology considering his background was in the arts and in politics 03:37 – If the network is the main concern, there are short term programs, but they are expensive 04:02 – Nathan says he is willing to spend money for people who enter the program to get access to the network 04:23 – Duetto is a hotel software company leveraging on medium data to help hotel managers make smarter decisions on pricing optimization 04:47 – Duetto gets the demand from a particular hotel and picks the price for each customer segment, channel and room type for the next 13 months 04:57 – This has increased the revenue of the hotels from 6.5 to 8.5% which increases their profit from 75 to 100% 05:15 – Duetto gets revenue from the subscription payment that is paid annually based on the product they are buying and number of rooms in the hotel 05:42 – Patrick is surprised that companies are not taking advantage of the performance kicker 06:41 – Last month, 5% of the revenue came from the flat SaaS model 07:10 – The target customer varies – if it is a strong brand like the Marriott, they need to go directly to them rather than the real estate owner; in smaller brands including independent hotels, they need to go to the management company 08:32 – On a per property basis, they are getting $17,000 to $18,000 per hotel per year and it varies according to the number of rooms and products they are buying 08:50 – The company was founded in 2012 09:17 – Patrick and Marco worked on the business idea for about a year and met with Craig in September 2011; it took them 5 months to court him 09:52 – While Patrick and Marco were fundraising, they were only getting $1 - $2 million valuations but when Craig joined, it jumped up to $10 million 10:49 – Craig has more equity than Patrick 10:58 – They have raised four rounds of capital amounting to $58.3 million 11:33 – The payback period is 14 months and they are spending around $20,000 to acquire new customers 11:51 – They have literally not lost a customer in 5 years 12:55 – Selling to the lodging market is difficult because it is an old school industry that does not embrace technology quickly 13:17 – The company tried to spend more on additional sales reps or demand gen but the cash got spent inefficiently 14:12 – Duetto can grow by expanding their reach geographically 14:31 – By the end of the quarter, they are close to 3000 hotels in 98 countries 15:04 – There is a lag in gross and deferred bookings, but the current run rate is a fraction of Nathan’s calculation of $50 million 16:10 – The company has a larger services organization than most and they grew from 30% to 70% gross margin in the past year 17:06 – They staffed up sales globally and the services organization with the platform growth margin north of 95%, but the blended gross margin including the onboarding services dips down in the 70s 18:26 – They had a fixed cost structure 18:41 – Patrick says they did spend a million bucks a month during the early years and it was partly due to naiveté 19:56 – The investors have big expectations and they were the ones that reassured Patrick of the capital and growth 20:34 – In the last round in 2015, they were able to raise $30 million 21:55 – The investors changed their mindset in 2015 and in 2017 22:06 – They currently have 105 people based in San Francisco and Las Vegas 23:14 – The Famous Five   3 Key Points: An MBA degree can give you a leg up in terms of the network it provides you. Know your market well, including all its idiosyncrasies. Study the changes in your investors’ expectations and work with them.   Resources Mentioned: The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

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