Take 5 with Eric Christopher

In one of the largest and most impressive Series A rounds that the Indy tech community has ever seen, Zylo just announced it has raised $9.3M, led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Our team at Hyde Park Venture Partners is thrilled to invest in the business alongside a dream team of investors, including GGV, High Alpha Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Slack Fund, and SV Angel. 

I had the opportunity to sit down with Zylo’s CEO, Eric Christopher, to chat more about his bold vision and this big news.  Eric has built a great team around him to create a new category of software – SaaS Optimization. Prior to co-founding Zylo, Eric held sales leadership roles at ExactTarget, Shoutlet, and Sprout Social.

Zylo is the leading enterprise SaaS optimization platform that transforms how companies manage and optimize their SaaS applications. Zylo has discovered that its customers manage an average of more than 400 cloud subscriptions and often underestimate their cumulative spend by three to five times. If you’re an enterprise who would like Zylo to audit your spend and utilization, let me know and I can connect you with Eric to learn more about their platform. 

1.) Tell us about the vision for Zylo and what problem you’ve set out to solve for your customers?

Zylo provides business software to help track an excess of business software, SaaS for SaaS. The full vision is to optimize the entire experience of how businesses buy and sell software by providing a layer of transparency for the buyer and seller around cost and utilization.

2.) What are your thoughts on category creation, Zylo being the first to market, and what unique challenges and opportunities that will present?

The opportunity to create a new category of software is largely dependent on market timing. We couldn’t be more excited that the SaaS explosion over the last 15+ years has created the opportunity and need for SaaS optimization today. Being one of the first to market is exciting because we can help define the category with our customers, but it is also challenging when not every enterprise has created a budget or project around the SaaS challenges that Zylo solves.

3.) This round was the arguably the biggest Series A that Indy has seen… what are your biggest learnings and what advice would you have for other Midwest CEOs in fundraising?

My advice is first and foremost to focus on building the right team and technology for a large market opportunity. While you’re building a great business, you have to find time to develop great VC relationships throughout the process so that when the time is right, you have a strong network of connections. When you’re ready to start fundraising, be prepared to put a lot of time and energy into the process and know that it will likely take twice as long as you think it will and be four times harder than you imagined!

4.) What were you looking for in an investor? How did you think about forming a syndicate?

We were looking for investors who have strategic value and connection to the cloud. Most importantly, we wanted to find investors who have just as much passion for the business and team as we do. As we were forming a syndicate, it was extremely important for us to get representation from the SaaS providers to validate the business and market that we’re building.

5.) You moved back from Chicago. You could have built this business anywhere. Why come back to Indy and build here?

Indy is home for me – both personally and professionally.  I grew up only an hour away and my wife is from Indianapolis. While we’ve spent time away over the last ten years, we loved the chance to come home to Indianapolis and build the company here. We have a young family and are thrilled to raise our children in Indianapolis with a strong family and friend network. I am working with some of my colleagues from the earliest days of my career at ExactTarget and reconnecting into the awesome talent pool in Indianapolis now.

Zylo SaaS Optimization Platform

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *