by Randy Wootton
Catching lightning in a bottle isn’t easy; many would say it’s impossible. That’s why we use the phrase to suggest accomplishing an almost impossible task.
Though, as Adam Savage of MythBusters recently demonstrated, it is possible to catch lightning in a bottle. You just need the right equipment, the right knowhow, the right team, and the willingness to be deliberate and mindful about creating the conditions for success.
I thought about Savage’s experiment this week as I took up my new role as CEO of Maxio—a company that’s rewriting the rules for financial operations and subscription billing. Just like Savage’s MythBusters, our company really has caught lightning in a bottle, with the right people, the right technology, the right product, and the right market opportunity all sparking together at precisely the right moment.
How the magic happens
I’ve spent 20+ years in tech–all of it in the Internet sector. I was there when the bubble burst in 2001, the meltdown of 2008, and I’ve seen our industry rise again as SaaS businesses have attracted incredible amounts of capital over the past 10 years.
Along the way, I’ve seen plenty of companies founded by folks who wanted to achieve the impossible. Some succeeded. Some obviously didn’t. (Remember Pets.com, anyone?)
When you look at those who made it, their success was partly due to timing. But it was also due to the founding team and investors making a big bet on a market opportunity, creating a unique solution to a pervasive problem, and building out a well-aligned GTM engine capable of cranking at high velocity. It’s only when all of these—along with broader “secular trends” such as industry and technology shifts—come together at just the right time, and in just the right way, that the magic happens. I saw this play out at early in my career at aQuantive, which was bought by MSFT for $6B, and at Salesforce as it grew from $5B to $10B. I saw it most recently at Seismic, now one of the most exciting private companies out there.
When I look at Maxio, I see a similarly revolutionary convergence of talent, technology, opportunity, and broader secular trends, and I know that points to the company’s potential for tremendous success.
What makes Maxio special?
Part of Maxio’s “special sauce” is that it was created, just one year ago, by bringing together two companies that were each amazing in their own right: SaaSOptics, which streamlined financial operations and analytics for SaaS businesses, and Chargify, the leader in billing and subscription management for B2B SaaS.
Both Chargify and SaaSOptics did amazing work creating must-have tools for CFOs and product leaders. By bringing them together, Maxio has created an opportunity to build tech that’s essential not just for CFOs, but also for CEOs, investors, and every other SaaS business operator: a true “SaaS-in-a-box platform” that will unleash growth for subscription businesses all the way from startup through IPO.
Having integrated companies before, I know that bringing teams together and forging a shared vision isn’t easy, but it’s something Maxio has already achieved. I am extremely grateful for the hard work the teams have done over the past year to translate that vision into an integrated platform, a unified brand, and aligned go-to-market motion. We are now ready to let some of the lightning out of the bottle to delight our customers and prospects.
Maxio is more than the sum of its parts. With smart operations and world-class investors behind us, Maxio is in a position to change the way that subscription businesses operate—and help transform new businesses to operate more efficiently, scale faster, and reach more customers.
What lies ahead
Companies like Maxio don’t just happen. Just as catching real lightning in a bottle requires a hell of a lot of planning and special equipment, so seizing this moment and building a company with real staying power requires a special kind of leadership.
Outgoing CEO Tim McCormick and the rest of the Maxio team have done an amazing job. The management team’s unique insights and ability to identify a specific and pervasive problem have set the stage for the opportunity that lies ahead of us, and our amazing investors at Battery Ventures have given us the resources and expertise we need to execute on that vision.
The product and engineering team, too, have done an incredible job, building unique category-defining solutions for SaaS companies. Our GTM evangelists have brought that new gospel to our customers and helped them see how essential our technology is to the future of their companies. And other team-members, at all levels, have helped to make that success possible and will be key to Maxio hitting the next inflection in its growth trajectory.
Working together, the Maxio team really has managed to catch lightning in a bottle. Now, it’s incumbent upon all of us to make the most of that incredible achievement—and seize this opportunity to shake up our industry and realize our company’s full potential.
I couldn’t be more honored to have been entrusted with leading this amazing company forward, and I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us, and what we can do with the opportunity we’ve been given.
Let’s go, Maxio!