“You only live once, but if you live it right, once is enough.” — Fred Allen
David Rae of YPO once reflected that “CEOs are less afraid of dying than they are of not making a contribution to the world.” I couldn’t agree more. Which is why the past 16 months, and my recent decision to leave Kevy, have been so powerful.
As many of you know, in June 2015 I was asked by the CEO and founder of Kevy, David Cummings, to step in to help lead a pivot of the company. Kevy at the time was a point-to-point integration company that was started by David in late 2012.
By early 2015, it became clear that integration as a business was not scaling the way it needed to, so the team began shifting away from integration to focus more on automation. By spring of that year it was decided that Kevy was no longer an integration company, but instead would become a marketing automation platform built uniquely for ecommerce. I stepped in as the new CEO in June to help lead this new business forward.
It was not an easy task. The team had to change, we had to build an entirely new platform, and we were tasked with redefining “Kevy” to a market that still saw us as an integration company. Despite this, our team went above and beyond to build a scalable, powerful platform.
Over the course of just 16 months, we built an entirely new product, took it to market, grew our customer base to hitting break-even and all the while changing the perspective and brand from an integration company, to a marketing automation platform.
When I started we were still giving refunds to old customers from the integration company and had no product to sell, and yet in just a few weeks of launching the new product last year, we had passed more than $100k in ARR and brought on customers like American Signature Furniture, Marucci Sports, Roma Boots and many others.
Since that time we more than doubled in size, built a powerful marketing engine and we launched implementation fees to increase revenues even beyond our ARR. We beat some pretty steep odds against us, I am unbelievably proud of what we achieved in such a short period of time.
As the company stabilized and continued to grow, I decided my role there was complete. I was asked to lead a pivot and, with the help of an incredibly dedicated, brilliant team, we created a scalable business that is ready for the next chapter of growth.
I am so grateful to David for giving me such an unbelievable opportunity and for entrusting me to run his business and lead such a fantastic team. I join so many others in our respect of him for creating a hub for entrepreneurs, mentoring and leading teams and helping businesses scale.
So what does the future look like? It looks great. I will be returning to Marketwake, the company I founded before stepping into the role at Kevy. Marketwake has been run beautifully by my partner Maddie while I helped lead Kevy. So now, I am excited to say I am fully focused on continuing to scale this powerful business.
A Chinese proverb says that those who drink the water must remember those who dug the well. I was reading John Maxwell’s The 15 Laws of Growth and was struck by the following words: “Everything we do, every accomplishment we have, every milestone we pass has come in part because of the efforts of others. There are no ‘self-made’ men or women. If we can remember that, we can be grateful.” I am truly grateful.
Leaving the Kevy team is hard, but I have been unbelievably lucky to be surrounded and supported by some of the most incredible, successful, well-known people in the industry. These men and women have encouraged and enabled me to take big leaps in my career, in my future and in my relationships. I am certainly stronger because of their influence and am excited for this next future to start.