ListenFirst provides social media analytics software that enables today’s brand marketers to grow fans, engage customers, and prove ROI.
Social media has revolutionized the way people around the world communicate, both with each other along with the brands they follow and from which they purchase. Brand marketers today need to ensure they are part of the conversation if they hope to compete.
ListenFirst offers a powerful suite of social media analytics software tools within a single unified experience. The company offers marketing professionals in-depth visibility into how they are performing across organic, paid, and earned social media activities allowing brands to see exactly what’s delivering results and where they should be investing time and money.
Q&A with the Co-Founder
What was your thinking going into the investment process?Many entrepreneurs are very focused on bootstrapping and capital efficiency. It was no different for us. We built the company for six years on our own cash flow, with a real eye toward being capital efficient.
We never wanted to be forced into a situation because of our capital structure, either because we had investors that were misaligned with us or that were short-term focused. We wanted to preserve optionality and control our destiny as much as we could.
What were your concerns?We didn't want to partner with jerks. I was very careful to make sure that we were going to partner with people who I enjoyed working with, who I respected, and who approached business the same way we did.
Frontier came across as having a point of view, having an expertise, and having a playbook—not in a generic sense but in a sense that these guys have a focus, a sweet spot, and an expertise in the market. We wanted access to that.
When you talk to them, you feel they understand the issues you're facing, the questions you have. They're knee-deep in other companies in a similar situation. There's comfort in that. There's expertise in that. That was something we were looking for and something that was very clear.
What was your experience of meeting Frontier Growth?The first meeting we had was with the entire team which I thought was a very important statement about the firm’s level of seriousness and commitment. Very soon after, they suggested we have dinner with them which demonstrated their desire for us to get to know each other and to make sure the personal and professional relationships were aligned. This was a big differentiator. You don't get to that point that early with most other firms, if at all.
How did the relationship develop?Moving into term sheet and due diligence gave us a very accurate sense of what Frontier would be like as a partner. What we saw was a team that did what they said they were going to do. It was transparent, it was ethical, it was direct, it was fair.
I remember saying to our banker, “One of these guys is going to surprise us, I’m waiting for something to get re-traded or leveraged or changed.” And it never was.
How smooth was the process?As I think back to the due diligence, it was clear we were all trying to get a deal done. I really appreciated that everybody was straightforward with each other.
Frontier also started to plant seeds on some other things that would be done post close. It gave us the feeling that we were just going to keep hitting the ground running after close.
When it came to the term sheet, it was much more detailed and thoughtful than a lot of others we saw. It addressed possible issues early rather than waiting to raise them later in the process. That was very different than some of our other term sheets.
People who've gone through this process before know what it's like to have a PE partner. But with Frontier, I think they’ll see that this is a different type of partner than they're used to. What you see is what you get. These are just really good people.
How important was Frontier’s focus on software?We were looking for expertise in SaaS and scale, not necessarily deep understanding of our market. I wanted to partner with people we liked and could see ourselves in the trenches with. People who had a track record of similar size and scale companies. People who were asking the right questions.
All the things that Frontier focused on were important in assessing and growing our business. In some cases, they posed questions that we were already asking, which felt validating. In others there were questions we hadn't asked yet, but they were the right questions. Every time one of the team has raised an issue, asked a question, or pointed out something we might be missing, it's been done in a collaborative way, and that's the way we want it.
How did Frontier help you on the operational side?Initially, we didn't have a CFO. It was the Frontier network that helped us get our first monthly financial package and board materials together. We never would have been able to do the board meeting if it had not been for that resource that was sourced directly from Frontier.
We've also been able to tap into resources around pricing, building the marketing stack, and restructuring our client success organization. These have been phenomenal in moving our business forward and directly driving revenue.
What do other entrepreneurs ask about your experience with Frontier?The question I’m always asked is, how active is Frontier in the business? I think everybody is looking to gauge what that level of activity and oversight is going to feel like.
For us, we feel like Frontier works for us and we work for Frontier. To me, that's the balance we’re looking for in our partners. We hold each other accountable. We're proactive with each other. We're respectful of each other. We're direct with each other.
You know, a good partnership when you see it. That's why we chose Frontier.
Customer on-boarding for financial services