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February 1, 2024 32 mins
Host Victoria Guido sits down with Steven Plappert, CEO of Forecastr, an online software designed to aid founders in financial modeling, which was born to help non-finance savvy founders understand and communicate their company's financial health. Despite the pandemic beginning right after Forecastr's launch in 2020, the company didn't pivot significantly thanks to extensive preparation and customer discovery before the launch. Steven delves into the operational and strategic aspects of Forecastr, highlighting the importance of balancing growth with financial sustainability, a consistent theme in their business strategy. Forecastr's significant development was integrating a strong human element into their software service, a move very well-received by their customers. Steven also outlines the company's key objectives, including cultivating a solid culture, achieving profitability, and exploring opportunities for exponential growth. Additionally, Steven discusses the importance of work-life balance, reflecting on his previous startup experience and emphasizing the necessity of balance for longevity and effectiveness in entrepreneurship. Victoria and Steven further explore how companies, including Forecastr and thoughtbot, incorporate these philosophies into their operations and culture. Forecastr (https://www.forecastr.co/) Follow Forecastr on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/forecastr/), X (https://twitter.com/forecastr), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/forecastrco/), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ForecastrHQ), YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/forecastr), or TikTok (https://www.tiktok.com/@forecastrco). Follow Steven Plappert on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/steven-plappert-59477b3b/). Follow thoughtbot on X (https://twitter.com/thoughtbot) or LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/150727/). Become a Sponsor (https://thoughtbot.com/sponsorship) of Giant Robots! Transcript: VICTORIA: This is the Giant R¬obots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots podcast, where we explore the design, development, and business of great products. I'm your host, Victoria Guido. And with me today is Steven Plappert, CEO of Forecastr, an online software that helps founders who hate building financial models in Excel actually understand their numbers, predict runway, and get funded. Steven, thank you for joining us. STEVEN: Hey, yeah, Victoria, thanks for having me. I'm stoked to be here. What's up, guys? VICTORIA: Just to get us warmed up here a little bit, can you tell me what's going on in your world? STEVEN: Well, you know, what is going on in my world? I had a great year last year, very healthy. I have a loving fiancé, and I'm getting married this year, which is going to be super fun. And, obviously, running a business, which takes up more than its fair share of my life. But yeah, it's early Jan, so I've been kind of reflecting on my life, and I got a lot to be grateful for, Victoria, I really do. VICTORIA: That's wonderful. You know, I used to work with a VP of strategic growth who likened forming partnerships with companies as getting into a marriage and building that relationship and that level of trust and communication that you have, which I think is really interesting. STEVEN: Oh, for sure. Emily always, Emily is my fiancé, she always says that, you know, Forecastr is essentially my mistress, if you will, you know what I mean? Because, like, that's [laughs] where the rest of my time goes, isn't it? Between hanging out with her and working on the company, you know, so... VICTORIA: So, how long have you been in a relationship with your business around Forecastr? [laughs] STEVEN: Yeah, right? Yeah [laughs]. Four years with this one. So, you know, we started it actually January 1st of 2020, going into the pandemic, although we didn't know it at the time. And so, we just celebrated our four-year anniversary a few weeks ago. VICTORIA: Well, that's really exciting. So, I'm curious about when you started Forecastr, what was the essential problem that you were trying to solve that you had identified in the market? STEVEN: I'd say the main problem we were trying to solve is that, like, specifically founders, you know, startup founders, really struggle to get, like, a clear picture of their financial health or, like, just the financial aspect of their business. And then they also struggle to communicate that to investors because most founders aren't finance people. You know, like, most people that start a company they don't do it because they're excellent in even, like, business or finance or anything like that. They usually do it because, like, they've identified some problem; they've lived it; they've breathed it, you know what I mean? They're some kind of subject matter expert. They may be good at sales, or marketing, or product. But a lot of times, finance is, like, a weak part for them, you know, it's not something that they're strong in. And so, they really have a hard time, like, understandi
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