About this episode

My guest this week is Matt Barnett, the founder of Bonjoro. Bonjoro is a customer or lead engagement platform like none other. Matt and his team integrate private video messages with your current marketing and funnel strategies.

Imagine this: within minutes of receiving a lead capture form, that lead receives a personalized video from you. Imagine your e-commerce brand utilizing Bonjoro to say hello to an abandoned cart transaction. Think about the increased amount of engagement, brand affinity, and trust that would develop between you--the entrepreneur--and the buyer.

The potential to elevate your brand and your relationship with your clients by using Bonjoro is remarkable. In this episode, the founder of the startup, Matt Barnett, is breaking down the key strategies he used to develop this amazing company. Even beyond that, we’re discussing all of the twists and turns that led Matt to the success he now enjoys.

In this episode, you'll hear:

  • Some of Matt’s earliest product designs that got him into business.
  • How he put a business plan around his earliest idea and pitched it.
  • What it took to make him realize he wanted to stop running an agency and start doing his own thing.
  • The first technical solution he wanted to create and how he did it.
  • What happened with that startup to make it fall apart.
  • The changes he made in his approach to his second technical solution.
  • What Bonjoro is.
  • How to build Bonjoro out to a SAS solution that can go global.
  • Whether solopreneurs can use Bonjoro as a stand alone solution or by plugging it into a platform.
  • The funding process for Bonjoro.
  • How the lead conversion process works and how Bonjoro can help with it.
  • How Bonjoro works inside of e-commerce.

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Matt on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mbjbarnett

Bonjoro: https://www.bonjoro.com/

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Episode transcript

Matt Barnett, founder of Bonjoro

Matt Barnett: Hi, this is Matt Barnett. I'm the founder and Papa Bear of Bonjoro, and this is MY startup story.

  • Every wildfire began with a spark. Every superhero has an origin story. And every single startup has a moment that they point to as their beginning. And every founder has a purpose that drove them in the midst of all obstacles. THAT is The Startup Story. *


James McKinney: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of The Startup Story. It's 2021 so let's show some love to a few startups that have taken me up on my offer for a free plug in this show. The first spotlight goes to Brandon Brown at AG Headwear. He writes, "Absolutely loving these podcast episodes and it's so great listening to founder stories as I get work done. I hope one day to get on the podcast once the company I have founded, AG Headwear, grows. If you ever need minimalist headwear which is built to perform make sure to check out agheadwear.com." Thanks so much for the review Brandon and I look forward to tracking the success of AG Headwear. For everyone listening, make sure to visit agheadwear.com and check out the latest designs. I love that AG stands for "always going." Brandon, if you ever make a hat that reads something to the effect of "always grinding" hit me up on that one.

You know it's a small world but we have another review from another Brandon, this time it is Brandon Stover, and Brandon Stover writes, "The Startup Story is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to weekly. James is a phenomenal storyteller and does a fantastic job at revealing each entrepreneur's true passions while mining out the key insights we all need to succeed as entrepreneurs." Well thank you for that, Brandon, and for all those listening Brandon Stover has a podcast of his own titled Evolve. I was a recent guest on the Evolve podcast. You can listen to it via the link we will include in our show notes.

And if you want to plug your brand in an upcoming episode of The Startup Story then make sure to leave a written review on Apple Podcast and make sure to plug your brand in that written review. That way when I read your review in an episode it will be like a free ad within an episode of The Startup Story. Speaking of advertising, brands that have advertised in The Startup Story have seen results that exceed all expectations. Brands like Brex, the credit card for startups, and Design Pickle the flat rate design service, have both come back and said the ROI from advertising with The Startup Story surpasses campaigns they've run with shows ten times the size of The Startup Story. If you want to share your brand, product, or service with The Startup Story audience then drop an email to advertise@thestartupstory.co. Like always, we'll include this in the show notes. Now let's jump into this week's episode.

My guest this week is Matt Barnett, the founder of Bonjoro. Bonjoro is a customer or lead engagement platform like you've never experienced. Bonjoro integrates private video messages within your current marketing and funnel strategies. Imagine the increased level of engagement and brand affinity that you will develop with a new lead if they received a video message from you within minutes of filling out your lead capture form. Or imagine if your ecommerce brand leveraged Bonjoro to say hello to an abandoned cart transaction. Think about the level of trust that would develop with your buyer. You've now just taken the ecommerce transaction from a simple buy/sell engagement and leveled it up to an early stage relationship. All of this helps to build and scale your business and we haven't even mentioned how Bonjoro can be leveraged for customer onboarding.

The potential to elevate your brand relationship with your clients by using Bonjoro is remarkable, and in this episode we do have Matt Barnett, Bonjoro's founder, break down some of his key strategies in using Bonjoro. But like all episodes of The Startup Story, we really seek to understand all the twists and turns a founder has endured to get to where they are today. It's those stories that never get told because every journalist is chasing the media headline of a nine-figure venture capital raise or an IPO announcement. Yet even before all of those attention stopping headlines, The Startup Story actually begins decades before then. In fact, it begins in the childhood years.


Matt Barnett: I had no hope. My father ran the world's biggest crossbow and archery company which is now still going in the states, run by my brother, called Barnett. So very much not the industry that I'm in.


James McKinney: Yeah.


Matt Barnett: But I think you grow up around that and you see that, honestly just the fun of running a business and kind of what that could bring, the travel and the opportunity and the excitement of being kind of creative out there in the world. So yeah, I had no hope unfortunately.


James McKinney: So when you were growing up though do you remember saying to yourself, "I want that. I want to run my own business," or was there some challenges within your dad's entrepreneurial story where you were like, "I don't want that, that's just a hot mess."


Matt Barnett: I don't think when you're young you realize. Now that I'm older, I look back and reflect, I'm like I remember him walking the streets at 5 a.m. in the morning, I just thought he liked walking. Nope, that was because things were tough. You understand more of it now when you're in the same trees as a young man, whereas as a child you don't. I had a choice of zoology or business. I figured I would go into business, build a fund, and use that to go and impact zoology. I thought that's probably the way that I could make the biggest personal impact, rather than going on my hands and knees as a scientist, so that was always a pretty easy decision.


James McKinney: That's interesting, so coming into the end of your high school era you were thinking about science. Zoology was part of your trek, what you were interested in.


Matt Barnett: Yeah, I've got a kind of weird brain. So I ended up studying industrial design which is kind of product design, which has this weird like the artistic side and the kind of like scientific side so those two mixed together it's a bit of a weird head, so the science was always part of it. And then making impact is part of that. So business I felt could do the creative and the kind of mathematical scientific side, like you do meld them together. Again in hindsight I look and go zoology could have done that too, so I don't think so much the industry you pick and direction you take as to what you do with it over the time when you have it. It's all about the journey, not really the destination.


James McKinney: Yeah, and I agree. So as you were ending your high school years going into the university, what was your pursuit? When you jumped into day one of college those are two very different tracks, science versus business. What track were you on at that time?


Matt Barnett: Well I chose industrial design which was product design, but having come from a background where the family was making products and design products, obviously the first thought was let's learn that skill, let's get into CAD and kind of the stuff that they weren't doing, to use that to come out with a product, and then use that product as a basis to go and start a business. So my intention was always end university, have a product ready to go, and then we'll work out the business stuff afterwards. So it was kind of starting with the product first which is how I think a lot of businesses start. You kind of start with the product and the business stuff you just can't learn it in university, you've got to kind of learn it on the ground. I assumed that would happen and ultimately it did.


James McKinney: So when you think back to your college years and real quick, just for a frame of reference how old are you Matt?


Matt Barnett: 36.


James McKinney: 36 okay so we'll say 15 years ago in college what were some of your early product designs that you thought this is probably what I'm going to run with from a business perspective?


Matt Barnett: So the one we were going to run with, we actually designed a paintbrush with a lid. So it sounds kind of stupid, and this is a commercial paintbrush. The idea was obviously you clean your paintbrushes every day, huge waste for the environment but also for just getting rid of bristles, paint brushes breaking, everything else, waste. We looked into it for six months, we came up with the idea of just putting a lid on it like a pen, and it would stay wet, and you could use it the next day.


James McKinney: What happened with that?


Matt Barnett: At university, myself and one of my other colleagues were going to go ahead with this and he got cold feet last minute. We actually got investments. We actually got offered investment from a university panel. We went and did a few competitions, won them all, and he got cold feet last minute and went and took a job. And I didn't feel at the time I could go ahead without him. I thought it was wrong to take his idea. Now, again in hindsight I'd be like yep, I'm taking that, it's your fault. But at the time it was our idea together, I didn't feel comfortable doing it without him so I went off and kind of did my own thing from that point. I guess one of the learnings I had is a lot of creatives, and design is obviously a creative industry, struggle to come into business, but they like, everyone who went into jobs because they wanted the approval and the kind of recognition. But now at this age, plenty of them have come back into business which is great to see.


James McKinney: That's awesome. You bring up a good point about the nature of creatives. Business needs to have some boundaries to it, and that's kind of counterintuitive for a creative. The ability to think through and ideate without boundaries and limits is really what most creatives… I have a friend who is a video game designer, one of the founding partners of Treyarch, he loves video games because the worlds are limitless. So when you try to create him into a confine with limits it's frustrating to him. So for yourself that's in the creative space, making that translation into business and monetizing, and again pitching is one thing. Having a great idea, pitching it for what it could be, what was that translation process like for you to put a business plan around this paintbrush idea in order to pitch? Because pitching, you're not just pitching a product, you're pitching a business.


Matt Barnett: With that mindset where you have the kind of like the science math side and the creative side, they meld together pretty well so I'd say anyone who's kind of come from especially industrial design which a lot of it is engineering so it's very much on that side. I actually have a great brain for this. That said, I also think business is creative. Creativity can have limits. That's part of what… limits can drive creativity, this is the whole point. Working within limits gets new ideas out the door. Again, like when you're young there are no limits. I always remember there was a lecturer, the head of design, ran a large consultancy, like a very successful consultancy. One day I asked him, "Why do you bother lecturing still? I don't understand it, it doesn't make sense to me. If you're that successful, why are you doing this?" He was like, "You guys have no limits. That helps me in my job be more creative because I see where you guys are going and you're not constrained by you can't manufacture this, you can't do this, like this won't sell. It's wonderful." But then obviously he would take that to inspire himself and get his creativity up for his normal job. I think limits are not a barrier to creativity, I think they help.


James McKinney: That's awesome and I love that you had someone model that for you with your lecturer, to come back and say I'm challenged and encouraged by seeing you guys think limitlessly as he breaks it into his agency, and I love that. That's a lot of what The Startup Story brings, is bringing other thoughts to the table so that those listening can have their expanded thoughts on how to tackle a challenge or obstacle that they have in front of them. So when you think of your time at the end of university, what was your next step? Did you come out the gate running your own business? Or what was step number one for you?


Matt Barnett: So I think we would have done, with that the idea the paintbrush idea, but again we didn't so I jumped into a consultancy for a year and a half. It's the only real job I've ever had, so I went into a design consultancy and I just kind of took over a lot of it. I came in and I was like, "All right, we're going to rebrand your whole company. We're going to do a new website." And I was doing design as well, I went through and then I was like, "We're going to photograph all your products," because their brand was, it was a great consultancy but the brand has aged. So I was like look, as well as design the products working on that, I want to go and do everything else. Like I was there until midnight just getting as much out of it as I could, which they were very happy for so obviously it benefited them. I just wanted to learn everything I could. I didn't just want to do product design; I want to do all the other things that come with business. I wanted to drive myself into that. So I ashamedly used it as an opportunity to get my head around the aspects that weren't just the product design stuff.


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Matt Barnett: I ashamedly used it as an opportunity to get my head around the aspects that weren't just the product design stuff.


James McKinney: You know looking back now you can see how you leveraged that season to prepare you, especially coming into an existing agency, really thinking about it as though it was your own agency, making the changes that you would make to it if it was yours from day one. But again a lot of that is hindsight. In the moment did you really recognize this as an opportunity? Because you knew this was temporary, I'm going to have my own thing at some point in time. I want to milk this for all it's worth to learn about all the different areas of running this agency or this business. Was that an intentional or looking back you see that you had that subconsciously?


Matt Barnett: I just went after all their challenges, so I was excited by all the challenges and the things where I saw they could do better, so I wanted to get my hands into those. I did this thinking I was building a playbook to start my own business. If I'm going to be here, if I'm going to do this, I want to do everything, I want to try all the things. And again, I'm like this company could be better if we changed these things, so I'll go and change them and see if it works. Part of it was experimentation. Again, hindsight you realize what you're doing, you're getting across all parts of it because anything you haven't done before, to me it's exciting. I'm like I don't know about this, therefore… The learning curve is what drives us. That learning curve, I was like how can I make this go steeper because that's more exciting to me, so I would go and do that. Again, it gave me a playbook. But I would also ask them about finances and also be trying to work out how much projects cost, how much profit they made, and how it all worked. Could we hire someone, so I helped them go and hire, I was like you should go and bring them in, they're cheaper. So I started to try and get my hands into everything, and they were wonderful and they let me do this, and they supported me for that. So again, ever grateful for that experience.


James McKinney: That's great and one of the things you talk about the learning curve is what drives you. I remember back to an interview I had with Steve Jurvetson, one of the or maybe the first investor in SpaceX and Tesla, good friend of Elon Musk. He talks about the reason that he knew venture capital was his trajectory is because he never wanted to stop learning and for him he looked at a job as having a finite learning potential to it within the confines of a job. And then he said well why don't I just run my own business? And he said if I run my own business there's still a limit to what I can learn within that business because you can't just continue to create infinite products in infinite industries, so I knew venture capital was for me. I wanted the infinite learning. It's an incredible interview with Steve Jurvetson to talk about the infinite learning. You talk about that idea of the learning curve driving us. I think a lot of what makes entrepreneurship exciting for those who aren't in it is the idea of it seems infinite in what we can learn and what we can do. Then when you're in it there's a whole lot of layers to entrepreneurship that most people aren't aware of and that's why we have The Startup Story to unpack those layers. So how long were you with this agency before you did your own thing?


Matt Barnett: I was with them for a year and then moved back to London, worked remote with them for maybe on and off for kind of a year after that while I started to set my own agency up. So I moved out of the city, did contract work with them, used it as a basis to start my own agency. Started to build an agency there, decided that agency was not the kind of business I wanted to run.


James McKinney: Now why is that? Again, having been part of an agency really helping run the agency, and making a lot of changes in the agency, why did it take you to do your own thing to realize I don't want to run an agency?


Matt Barnett: Doing the creativity for other, for clients, killed a little bit of it for me. I was like okay, I've got someone to answer to. Call it an authority complex or whatever you like, I didn't like answering for other people. It's interesting, it's was also about the time when the GFC, the global financial crisis, kind of hit which was good because it meant it was harder and so again that learning curve was a lot steeper. When I saw things and decisions being made I was like I would make this decision, and you should do this idea and not this idea, and if I was doing it… and so it got to the stage where I was like we need to be doing my ideas, not theirs.


James McKinney: So you mention an interesting time period. You talk about the global financial crisis, which tells me we're talking around the 2008 to 2010 era is when we're speaking at this time. An incredibly challenging time for all businesses. The greatest recession in US history, obviously Europe heavily impacted as well. And here you are in the midst of it in product design. In that season what did you learn about what your future was going to look like based on that season of turmoil in 2008 to 2010?


Matt Barnett: I ended up learning how to sell and how to network, which from where I come from wasn't something we ever had experience in. Universities at the time at least failed, because it's always how to design products, not necessarily how to sell them or how to build businesses or raise money or do any of that. So this was kind of like again a hole in my experience at the time, so I ended up joining a lot of networking groups. I was what 23, so I'd be the youngest guy at pretty much every one. I was a little bit of an odd child. I started wearing a kilt for most of them, a kilt and a suit. It was like who is this guy? I'd just go on, and I was just like again how do we ramp up this experience, so I would go to everything I could. I ended up running a networking group in London. Again very young, with an older mentor as well alongside me which kind of helped. I just got myself into that learning experience of how do you sell, how do you build, and so I got customers and clients through that.

That was again a year of very hard learning, very quick learning. The GFC because I didn't have experience with the market before that, I was like oh man the selling is really… I look back and would it have been as hard before that time, I imagine not, but it was all I knew so I was like it doesn't matter, I have to make that is work, I have to be able to feed myself and pay my rent. You do that because you need to. So I loved it. I think the GFC, I learned more about it in the years afterwards than when I was in it.


James McKinney: Perspective is everything. It's funny, you mention that. Selling technical solutions before that, it was the heyday. Not anybody could figure out a way to build a technical solution and then all the sudden it comes through, the GFC comes through, and now everyone is looking at technical solutions like do we need to spend this now, what is the answer to this. And so anyone who is just cutting their teeth, much like I assume realtors and real estate at the time, if you were cutting your teeth in that market you were really set up for when things started to recover because it just got easier for you. But again then the propensity is okay I never need to work that hard again because that was the worst economic period globally ever and then all the sudden COVID comes around and reframes everyone's thoughts again, but we'll get to that in a second on how that changes things. So coming out of the GFC when did you start thinking through what your next steps were going to be, being that you didn't want an agency? That was something you very clearly said I don't want, so that removes that from the list of opportunities and possibilities. What started percolating then?


Matt Barnett: So I actually decided to move to Australia from the UK. So I moved over here. Part of me was just getting away to a new country. Again the experience and learning curve, I was like I want to go do this overseas for a while, leave my own, kind of make my own way. So I looked at ways to get here. Australia's not the easiest country to get into.


James McKinney: Why is that? Why is that comment? I don't think people would consider that a factor. Why did you say that?


Matt Barnett: So at the time with a global financial crisis there was very little, there was like three jobs on the skilled visa list to get in. It goes through fluctuations. So Australia's a very new country, a very young country. Population growth is important to it but it does it very staged and very measured. So there will be periods like in the sixties where they were getting as many people from the UK and Ireland as they could, and then in this period they pretty much shut the borders and so getting in and getting a visa, and being allowed to stay… Getting a green card in the states is also hard, I think stay in the UK, so not anywhere is easy.

At the time Australia was doing well in the whole financial crisis. It's probably one of the countries that did the best globally. The crisis here was never really a crisis. Again, didn't know this at the time. Partly personal, I used to surf off Scotland. I got sick of surfing in the snow. Like February one day we're sitting on this beach and it's hailing so hard, it's like denting my board, my face doesn't work, and I just thought enough. So I left, came over here, looked for a way in, did an MBA to get a visa. I also figured because of my background most of the people I hung around with were creatives, so I thought if I do an MBA I'll hang out with a bunch of people who are not anything like me which turned out to be completely true. I think there were two creatives out of like a cohort of 60.


James McKinney: Interesting.


Matt Barnett: I figured to use that as a stepping stone to get here, put a base down, and then decide what business I was going to go and start.


James McKinney: Let's put a time stamp on this. When did you complete your MBA?


Matt Barnett: So I finished 2012, mid 2012.


James McKinney: Mid 2012, you're surround by more people that are not creative than you are surrounded by creatives. So what were you thinking you wanted to build for yourself coming into 2012?


Matt Barnett: I assumed I would go into tangible products, again from the design background I assumed that was where I would go. And I wanted to meet people who were again doing an MBA, average age was probably 32, I think I was 26 so everyone was a bit older again, which comes back to the learning curve thing, you can't put yourself ahead. I imagine there's a good chance I'd start with a business partner, let's find someone who is more on the business side. That ended up being me again anyway, but I thought I'd get into products. Coming out of it I ended up in tech, so I ended up finding a technical cofounder and starting a technical, online software company.


James McKinney: Does that lead us to Bonjoro?


Matt Barnett: It takes a while.


James McKinney: I love it, I love it. So this first technical solution, and again you not being a technical person you found a technical cofounder. What was that first technical solution that you wanted to create? And I'm asking this question because now we're finding ourselves in 2012, 2013. There are developers everywhere. It's a pretty hot… let me think here real quick. 2012 and 2013, the app phase had long gone as far as it being a super hot make an app and become a millionaire. Facebook is around, Instagram is around, there's a lot of things that we know today that really started on the tail end of that period.


Matt Barnett: Smart phones were just starting, that was the kind of period.


James McKinney: Yeah so iPhone had been around five years at that point, five or six years at that point I think. iPhone at least really picking that up. So what was your technical solution?


Matt Barnett: We decided to go into a B2C product. That's something everyone does the first time they try it and the idea was to do family life stories, so recording videos of family members answering questions, doing interviews, and then recording that online so if you like have a mobile video based ancestry book. So you could do an interview and save your grandmother for the future generations.


James McKinney: That's interesting.


Matt Barnett: It was super like, so a very emotional idea, very good. We raised money for it. We had our pitch down, we raised funds, we got into it. I always tell this story but I remember going to the states to the valley to pitch as well. And by the way Australia, so we talk about where technology was, Australia had its first wave of startups starting to happen, so Australia was definitely behind. It was not on the front foot at all. There was a very small investment community here. [Annasion 25:16] existed but then beyond that you had the first kind of cohorts starting to come through. The first ever startup space was only in 2012.


James McKinney: Oh wow.


Matt Barnett: Started crazy late. So we ended up going to the valley, bouncing back and forth to the states quite a lot, we pitched there. But I remember meeting someone there who was like, "We tried to do this and it's really, really hard," and he told me all the reasons why it wouldn't work. And I was like, "Sure mate. Don't worry, we'll make it work." Again hindsight, listen to people.


James McKinney: As soon as you said you met someone who tried and talked about how hard it is, I knew the words that were going to come out of your mouth because I have spoken them myself. I know how to solve around that challenge, or that challenge is unique to you I've got a solution for it. But yeah you're right, listen to what people are saying and learn from them. So the idea of what you just talked about is super interesting from obviously there's an emotional appeal too. I think of ancestry.com but a video version of it, how you can build out a family tree through video. I think that's wow, super interesting and compelling. What went wrong with it that we aren't talking about that today? What happened there?


Matt Barnett: Yeah, so we used mobile. We went into mobile video as well and this was early so like data, I think we were 2 or 3G at the time so data transfer was always a challenge. We were starting to get mobile video apps, but we built them out and they worked. It wasn't the easiest but there was a key assumption that we made which was completely and utterly flawed, which was the urgency to go and record these videos. And so again, like also very naive, hadn't had experience within that industry and there are ways to overcome this with negative marketing and the ways that a lot of companies do it. I think you could do it now with hindsight, but at the time everyone told us it was amazing. We actually sold a lot of it and so the assumption there is it's obviously going to work, and then what we found was that activation was nonexistent. People would be like, "Oh, I'll get around to doing it, I'll get around to doing it," and then grandma would get ill and they're like, "I don't want to do it now because I don't want to remember her when she's ill." So we had this real struggle with activation.


James McKinney: Interesting.


Matt Barnett: And again, and like where I am now I look back and I'm like there's ways to drive activation, there's ways to do this. But at the time we didn't have the experience. So we couldn't get activation, we couldn't bring the money in after the first subscription so they didn't continue, the churn kind of went up, and my cofounder imploded a little bit. It all kind of just blew up as it does. It blew up fairly quickly. It took, we went for a year and a half or two years until it all kind of like ended. So it was good but at the same point coming into an industry I had no idea about and being quite naive, I kind of look and I'm like it's almost inevitable that was going to happen. Not even an 80/20, I think the first time was probably 95% chance that first one doesn't work, and that's fine.


James McKinney: Yep. And what's interesting though now knowing that we're talking today because of Bonjoro the fact that your first technical was still video based, so I want to ask this question truly not knowing the answer to it, but does your second startup then stay in video and everything in between stay in video until we get to Bonjoro?


Matt Barnett: Yep, it does.


James McKinney: See that's what I find so fascinating about the entrepreneurial journey is that even in the midst of the failure of that ancestry solution, you saw something in video that still captured your interest to try and solve for startup number two and however many more there are until Bonjoro. And so coming off of that failure of the first one, what was the second startup and what changes did you make in your approach to your second technical solution?


Matt Barnett: The second one came out of the ashes. It's called Verbate and actually still runs today. We salvaged some of that and we took it into a B2B environment, and this was born purely of a hunch and trial. We actually put funds in and tried to keep the thing going. I felt we had a moral obligation to investors to not lose everything. So we took it into research. I was like look we have a system here that we can get video of people and upload it online. I wonder if that would be interesting for qualitative research. So you look at this and go I do have some experience there because of product design, we did a lot of qual research. Focus groups are expensive and I was like, "Is there not a way here that we can get people to take us around their homes, how they're using packaging and products in India and Japan and China and Germany and have it all online the next day, and use that as a research tool?"

Turns out that was correct, we could do that. So we basically salvaged it. We had our first paying client which was almost on the old technology and we kind of like got through, and we made like $5,000 and we're like oh this is interesting. Then we got another one and made out $10,000 and we're like we like money, money is the… At this point I was like okay, if it doesn't make money it doesn't make sense. And we started to fall into B2B which give the experience I had in London was actually a lot easier for me. Sales, I could go out and sell. At the time I was good at sales so I could do this. Then we started to build that business and being research we ended up with all our clients in New York, Paris, and London even though we were based in Australia. And we ended up selling to large agencies and to FMCG companies who would want to see Huggies releasing a new product and they want to see how mothers use Huggies in third world countries.

So we would allow people to upload video diaries and that would be used, and we'd pull all the text out and do analysis, et cetera. But essentially it was kind of the same core concept. All this would lead through the whole idea of deep industry expertise as a way to succeed because what we were building is expertise in almost… The technology was not that hard. I wouldn't say video technology is the hardest thing in the world, but I think understanding how people use video, what video could be used for beyond film and TV which is where video was at the time except for maybe Skype, which was starting to connect families together. Suddenly you start seeing videos as a communication tool and as a data tool, and that understanding and yeah so we kind of invested and kind of went down that rabbit hole for a couple of years.


James McKinney: And so you're with that, you're working that business solution for a couple of years. It's still in existence so did you sell your stake out? Are you still part of it? How did you move on beyond that?


Matt Barnett: So I talk about it in the Bonjoro origin story because it kind of comes out of this at this point, so I think this is a pretty good time. We were here running it. We were having leads coming in overnight and so one of the things we did was look at better ways to convert those. Originally we used to use Intercom and drip feeds, and that actually worked pretty well back in 2016 maybe, maybe 2015, and then kind of engagement rate started to drop off. Because with were in the wrong time zones we couldn't get on the phone and call people, we couldn't pop around to the office and see people.

I'm very much a jazz hands kind of seller, dance around and do that thing. And obviously we're selling to agencies that are creatives so that's part of it. We couldn't do that and so I was like, "Look, we have a video solution here. When anyone signs up or comes in through our lead funnel let's just send them a video and welcome them on board," so the first piece of comms they had we record a video for every person. I happened to take a ferry to Sydney which went past the Opera house so we had a pretty good background for it, and I'd do it on my mobile which is where we played. So the first piece of comms anyone would get was a video from me saying, "Hey John. Saw you just signed up from Ogilvy in London. Obviously I'm not in London, we're in Sydney, but I will get over there in four weeks time. See you, you run the Budweiser account, we've worked with Tiger Beer and Heineken doing this kind of research and let's come and share some insights with you." We tripled out response rate. People loved it.

The fact we'd taken the time for them, and obviously we were showing video off. We got every single meeting, and every single meeting we got more business and went from there. We then moved that company eventually to the UK because it was just easier for time zones. This solution we built where we would send people video messages to welcome them on board, inevitably one of those clients asked if they could use it for their clients. We built a solution over a weekend they could test out. Two of their clients then came in and asked if they could use it, so we put them on board. We put a sign up form, and actually overtook the original company within 12 to 18 months and I think maybe six to eight months in, me and my CTO moved onto it full time as a project.

It was always a side project. It had all the pieces of a SAS starting to fit together, whereas the other company was starting to look more like an agency because although it was built in technology, it involved sales and projects and creativity, which was fine. Because it was an agency, because it was services plus product it was a little bit different but for me the idea of building a SAS and building pure product that kind of on boarded like large funnels was pretty exciting. So we jumped on it, we took the opportunity. We invested in it heavily, it overtook the company in 12 to 18 months and we moved the original company to the UK, put a different team in, it's got a different culture. I still sat on the board for it but day to day operations it's not me. Again research versus what we do in Bonjoro, very different industries, very different. One is inbound one is outbound. One is a very serious or more serious brand, one is not serious at all. They're very different companies even though they share kind of the methodology and technology.


James McKinney: You're absolutely right and it is fascinating to see the deep expertise in a certain category, and how that will most likely, it doesn't always but it tends to lead us into a startup that we find success in. I love that Bonjoro is a success story out of another company that did find success as well. You saw an opportunity, use it for internal efforts, and then started getting traction and saw the ability to turn it into a SAS. So now that we're in the Bonjoro chapter for those that may not know what Bonjoro is, can you unpack for us what is Bonjoro?


Matt Barnett: It's an extension of the original idea, so it's one to one personalized video messaging. And it is videos that are sent to customers at all leads at certain points in the funnel. It will plug into any CRM or ESP you use, HubSpot, Salesforce, Intercom, even Shopify. And then when you go and have your lead come in or a customer purchases for the first time or they hit whatever trigger you want, we notify you, we give you all the customer's information so we show you where they're from, what they've done in your system, what their job title is, and we say, "Look, this is a great time to send the personalized video to this individual and welcome them on board or drive a demo, or ask them to go do XYZ in the platform they haven't done." So you pull out your phone or your desktop, do a video, takes 30 seconds, to that individual and then we deliver that to them and drive actions off the back of it. That's kind of the system within a very simple nutshell.


James McKinney: That's incredible. Absolutely love. I love it because video is so critical. I think most people, including myself until I became aware of Bonjoro, I think most people view video from a content perspective. We know the value of it from a lead generation perspective. We know the value of it from a sales process and how it can really drive and convert. But we tend to think of it, to your point back in the day, as entertainment or a content piece. But to use it and bring it into our sales process I don't think we tend to think about video that way and yet because of your internal needs you actually did see the opportunity in that is, inside of this. So as you are starting Bonjoro as a separate entity now, as you're building on it, you had to then also too think of it a bit differently than you were for the internal solution or for the client that you were just creating a one off for. What were some of the learnings you took from your previous ventures as you came into Bonjoro and said how do we truly build this out as a SAS solution that can go global?


Matt Barnett: I like to say and my team doesn't like me to saying this but we're not a video company. We're an engagement communication company, so video is a medium. I think this year has shown that it is a ubiquitous medium, like everyone is going to be using it everywhere. It's not… like a video is not a company. We're not a video company. We're using it in a certain way and I think the thread through everything we've done was always video not as a content form. So video has always had this pedestal, movie and film, which is the reason why people feel nervous to get on video whereas if you think about it logically doesn't make sense because you don't find it nervous sitting down and having coffee with someone, and video is just a window, the same thing. So I think it was always on this pedestal.

Even back to the original idea with the family stories, it was unedited, just raw pieces of it, comms coming from the family. The second one was all about research and using it, and getting to hear from people and see through their eyes. The third one is just about connecting with customers. So that's the thread that goes through it is that video is more than just a film medium, it's more than a concept. It is a communication medium the same as text is. It's much, much, much better. So understanding that, that opens up an entire world of where you can use video and where it can go, but again it's not about perfect content. It's about speaking to people and this is a medium that helps us do that. It's not about looking your best or perfect timing, or editing or spending money. It is so much more than that. So that's the thread that comes through.

In terms of building a SAS, having a predictable business model is amazing. It's a machine. You're basically building a machine where inputs come in the top and then you try to get as many outputs out the bottom, AKA revenue. And so you're working at this machine, you're fixing the file and you're editing parts, building better products. That's the reason for starting it. Maybe it's the engineering part of my head, I'm like we're basically making a living machine. But the interesting thing is other than the difference to like the product design piece is this is a machine that grows in complexity over time. It's not building multiple machines or multiple products, it's one piece that just starts to get crazy big which makes it hard. But I love the predictability. I love being able to tweak and tell, which obviously you do in other businesses but I think with a SAS, with the very inbound self service product like SAS it's fun.


James McKinney: Is Bonjoro something that, for someone who because you talked about integration with a lot of different platforms. For the solopreneur that doesn't have a need for Salesforce or maybe they have a Shopify but they don't have a platform per se, is it a standalone solution that can be plugged in with various automation triggers to still leverage for their business? Or is it something that is always plugged into a platform?


Matt Barnett: So it can be used standalone. If you don't plug it in the chances of becoming an active user are much lower. This is what I learned from the first business is how you activate and how do you get habitual use. So what we found is that obviously having a process to do things in business means things get done. So if it's used as oh I'm meeting someone at an event, I'm going to send a video tomorrow and kind of say thanks for connecting, I'll randomly reach out to a customer and do this. So you build automations like a Thank You Thursday that randomly picks a customer every Thursday to tell you to send a video thank you to them, that kind of thing could work. But again you'll be reminded every Thursday. If you have to go and remember yourself you will get distracted, like we all get busy.

The automation it can plug into anything, so if you're using the smallest email system in the world, we have a lot of Mailchimp users, it can plug into anything. You can use Zapier, so you can plug into anything there. So you need to have some automation I think for these to work. Again, we have customers who are very active who don't do that, but they have internal processes like school camps who will have campaigns and nonprofits who have campaigns and drives at a certain time of year, and they know that they can make video part of that, but that happens in January and then here's the thing and they go and do it, and then off they go.

So I think when you're building, maybe this applies to every business if you can build habitual use in and if you can take the thinking as much away from people as possible then you are likely to be more successful. Again, this is one of the pieces that makes people more successful, there's a million others, but again that habitual use if you get that it's key.


James McKinney: That's interesting. So learning this process, that tells me as you're building out Bonjoro your onboarding process is probably something you spent a tremendous amount of time on because the key factor was getting them to integrate it into some of their processes. Because I can't imagine part of your onboarding process is to create habit in someone else's life. It's probably to integrate into their existing processes, and so your onboarding processes is it really hands on or are you keeping everything at an online automated format?


Matt Barnett: It's online. It's quite a bit of setup for the user. So one of the first things we like to do is we connect into your CRM, which is a fairly big ask. It's much easier to stay with the way that things connect, but we ask to do that. We ask you then to set up and customize your videos and to make sure it's sending from your email. These are quite big hurdles for customers to do, and there are different schools of thought here, but our school of thought is look having those hurdles is going to knock more users out of the funnel, but it means if they come through they're going to be more committed. So again this about working with a funnel. So you can have an extremely light touch and have a lot of users in and try to educate them over a long time. The other thing is having high barriers so the ones that make it through you can guarantee a good more to convert.

We've tested both, we've found the second more effective in terms of overall output for the company. We continue to test so the system we have now, it's definitely not the best way of doing it because it's impossible to know what that is, so the only thing to do is to keep trying to test. Obviously as you grow and that funnel grows you have more data to help support this, you get more savvy, you talk to more customers. But at the same point on the creative side, there could be a way of onboarding customers that we haven't even considered that is completely different, that doesn't even involve any of that and it might be doubly effective. So this is exciting, but again where we are today we found that works. We've started to be a bit more hands on with customers if they need it. We've only really started to do calls with customers in the last six months, with larger teams and we found that works great. Everything you ever do in business, you do it and you think I wish we'd done that six months ago.


James McKinney: Everything is like that.


Matt Barnett: Everything, yes, without a fail.


James McKinney: When would you consider Bonjoro's start date? What is your launch date when you think of Bonjoro?


Matt Barnett: So 2017 is the like early 2017 we put it out with a sign up form on it, but it was a side project at the time. We still count that as our launch date for sure.


James McKinney: Got it, so 2017 considered your launch date. What has been the capitalization for it? Have you gone venture backed? Have you been profitable from day one when you spun out of that company? What has been the funding process for it?


Matt Barnett: We did raise some funds. We raised a seed fund here, about $1 million Australian. Maybe a year, maybe 18 months in I think when we started to go into full time and then we to profitability after that. So yeah, we kind of had a bit of a different mindset of going to break even with it, and we will look at funding again. And probably not in Australia because 90% of our customers are overseas. Again Australia, I love living here even today because it had that delay on investing in tech, even today I would still say compared to the rest of the world it's a very immature market. So great start here. I think it helps that a lot of us are non Australians. We have quite a diverse team. We're actually, the team is based in six different countries around the world. We're only 14 people so we're not a huge team, but we're kind of tossed around and we've kind of done that from day one. So that mindset for us, we're not an Australian company. Just the founders happen to live here.


James McKinney: That's awesome. I love it. I love it. So your seed fund is it so far? That's remarkable. I love those stories of taking what little capital they can, stretch it as far as they can and reach for profitability first. I love that. Again, I think sometimes we glamorize venture capital. Let's glamorize profitability. Let's glamorize self sustaining cash flow. Let's glamorize those things. But there is something to be said about venture capital when you've got all the dials figured in and you're just ready to scale at that point. Obviously, I assume at that point that's when you'll start considering venture capital is when you're really just kind of to go off in scale.


Matt Barnett: In stages yeah. The first stage is survival. The second stage is where can we deploy this capital after the funnel, where I know if I put $1 million in I'm going to get $5 million out. I know that and I can guarantee that, and I have the ducks in a row to do that then it starts to make sense again. That's very attractive for investors too.


James McKinney: Yes, oh absolutely, absolutely. So in your three years now of Bonjoro being a standalone company since its launch, what have been moments along the journey that you realized wait a second we actually have something right now? Has there been that moment where like we know we are onto something and this thing is going to succeed? And conversely, have there been moments where you thought I don't think we're going to be able to pull this off?


Matt Barnett: No, definitely the first one because it wasn't… I think the difference here is we didn't go out and build the strategy while building a business and go and launch. We had the strategy, we hit the numbers, it was a side project that started to take off. That makes it challenging because then you're like what is the global vision of the company? Because it wasn't really a company. You have to backtrack and be like what is it we're even doing here? Is this video, is this not video? What even is a core concept, where can we take this? Because there's a hundred directions. Do you become a video platform, do you go into customer success, do you go into engagement? So that is difficult doing it that way, but at the same point it means that it's kind of all upside because it was never expected.

Six months in, so we moved in between six and 12 months me and my CTA kind of jumped in full time and we were very binary. I think the other business to be fair was running well without me, without us, and we literally took a step one day. Again, it went from a side project to a full time project very, very quickly. I think we saw those levers, and the experience was there and we understand that those levers were genuine levers. We understood they were real, we understand how valuable they were, and even now you look back you're like we should have done that six months before. But again, running two businesses I would not recommend.

It made sense pretty early on. We went in, it just kept growing. I think early on being able to fundraise, even though it's only a seed, validates that as well that others have confidence in it. Began to break even, validates it once again. Look, the barrier… and I don't know what true validation is because the barriers always move. You get to some big revenue hurdle and you think you're going to celebrate, and you get there and you're like, "We need to double this as quickly as possible." So like do we ever get a validation? What does validation mean? I don't know if we'll ever sit down and be like, "We are satisfied."


James McKinney: It's interesting. That's a great question because I don't know if this is the answer to it, but I reflect back on my interview with Ben Chestnut, the founder of Mailchimp, and he talks about his period of time in 2007, I think it was 2007 and 2006 when Constant Contact had gone public, venture capital was chasing Mailchimp or any other email service provider out there because they saw what Constant Contact had done, and people weren't coming to Mailchimp right away. So he had this almost like this vanity moment where he was bothered that venture capital wasn't coming to Mailchimp, and he's like where's my headlines? We've created X hundreds of millions of dollars with no venture capital, where's my headlines at? Where's my vanity moment?

And he realized wait a second, all this validation I'm looking for, I have customers opening their wallets. That's the validation I need. I don't need headlines, I don't need venture capital to validate this. I have customers who are paying for my service, that's my validation. And so from that point on they have not taken any venture capital. They're a $5 billion valuation, it's crazy and it's been bootstrapped from the get go because he had a moment where he flipped a switch and said the only validation I'm going to seek is customers paying. I was like that's awesome. Again, I don't know if it's the answer but I love it.


Matt Barnett: And I agree. I think so the whole venture capital thing, double edged swords, there's absolutely value in it but there's also value in like you say Mailchimp did it. I think Campaign Monitor here, their first thing they ever raised was $60 million in the same space. Very, very similar. They're like the Aussie relative, agency, spot email, off they went. Another company Vero in the email space and then ConvertKit have done it like Design Pickle, other companies who have done it without funding. I think those companies are inspirational, far more inspirational than anyone who has raised money. Because the other this is to do that they have more stable businesses because they had to make revenue to get there. I'd like to see us more like them.

That's why we had a bit of internal thing like let's get to break even and prove the business is a real business. In my mind it's not just a propped up funded business. We'll raise if we want to for the right reasons. If we could do it without raising and we could hit the same numbers, then we won't raise. It will just be a case of timing, speed, there's a lot of different factors. But hats off to anyone who does it without. I think those are the true… Mailchimp has the headlines above anyone else if you ask me.


James McKinney: I am such a Mailchimp evangelist. I love Ben's story. I love the way that they handle small businesses. I see Bonjoro in its very early stage fitting in that same spot with Mailchimp from the ability to just truly deliver for small businesses. Again, I know this is not part of your marketing as much as it is for Mailchimp, but Mailchimp has really positioned themselves in this space where they have come alongside businesses in order for them for messaging. And yours is very much the same, you have the ability to come alongside businesses and help them when it comes to lead conversion. So what I'd like to do right now for all of the founders that are listening now, all the people that are operating businesses, the idea of leveraging a video solution, an engagement leveraging solution video if you will, for lead conversion can you walk us through what that looks like and how can Bonjoro help with that?


Matt Barnett: Using Bonjoro ultimately what you're doing with leads is making the best first impression. So we're using videos to do this because video is the full spectrum of communication, so you get the emotion across, you get who you are, but more importantly you get to connect with customers one on one. It's transparency and it shows that you're willing to take time with every lead that comes in. Now to use this, if you're using a system, an ActiveCampaign, Salesforce, Intercom, whatever you use to manage your leads coming in if you plug Bonjoro into that we will notify you when leads come into your funnel. We'll notify you or some member of your team.

Now, the system will actually pull in information about that customer, so if Joe Bloke signs up from Orlando and works for X Company, we'll pull that and then we'll tell you and say, "Hey Joe Bloke from X Company just signed up," and we'll also tell you what he's done in your system. So we'll say, "Hey he's signed up. He's gone through onboarding but he hasn't completed step X." We'll even tell you what his lead score is, how valuable a customer he is, and whether you should potentially go and look to talk to him. You'll get a notification. You or your team members mobile if you're on the move, or desktop you simply hit record and record a message for Joe. So obviously welcoming him on board, saying, "Look I saw you signed up. I saw you did steps 1, 2, 3. I saw you haven't done step 5 which is really important. Here's a link to go and do that step because if you get that across you'll be successful in the product. Or if you'd like to book a demo, there's also a demo booking link. One of our team will hop on a call and talk you through. Thanks so much for coming on board. Wonderful to have you. Any questions at all please reach out. We're here to help."

That's it, like a 20 second video. You press send, you go back to work. Now we deliver that to Joe. We'll send it out to him. It'll include links that you mentioned. You can choose different links, different customers and what we'll see is that the average Joe will reply three times as much as they would do to a normal, generic, automated email they get when they sign up. So I think first point of contact is so powerful because it's your chance to make the best first impression. And anyone coming in, and I'll argue this is for pretty much any industry, if you show that you're willing to stop in your day and acknowledge that customer, there's a lot of power in a name, a lot of power in saying their company, a lot of power in just showing that you actually have support as an excellence in your company. The law of reciprocation will kick in and this person is far more likely to come back to you and say, "Wow, did not expect that. Actually, I do need help. Can we hop on a call?"


James McKinney: I love it.


Matt Barnett: So what you're trying to do here is really to build a micro relationship with anyone who is interested, and you're also capturing people who would potentially bounce out because they don't understand the onboard, they don't understand the company. They might be distracted. You're showing them that you're there to help and it's much harder to turn down a human than a generic email. And the idea of personalization as well, it's two points of hard to turn them down and the fact that there is someone there, and that they are a good company, and the ethos comes through and the transparency. That's the kind of company that you want to work with, that you will trust to help you out when things get tough.


James McKinney: That's awesome. One of the things you mentioned in our conversation was the use case inside of Shopify. You plug into Shopify. I can absolutely see a Bonjoro solution in some type of B to B environment, or I guess even B2C. if I'm a contractor, a pool contractor, someone comes in with a lead I can absolutely see all of this where there is a one to one sale. How does this work inside of ecommerce?


Matt Barnett: Yeah, so it's pretty interesting. I think you'll see ecommerce… so ecommerce has changed a lot in the last 12 months even.


James McKinney: Yes, oh absolutely.


Matt Barnett: So in ecommerce the concept of lifetime value is starting to kind of rise as it used to in SAS and other companies, and lifetime value is basically how much money will a customer give you over their lifetime. So if they buy a widget off you for $100 but they come back in six months and they buy another one, and six months another, and then another one, then they're not a $100 customer, they're a $300 customer minimal. If they come back for 20 years, they're potentially a $5,000 customer. So understanding that repeat purchase and what that customer means in terms of absolute value is kind of key to this. If you start thinking this way then it is no longer about single sales. Ecommerce becomes about repeat purchasing and lifetime value of customers.

So back to what we talked about with sales, building a relationship with a customer, showing them that you're different to your competitors, showing them that you're an ecommerce company who cares about customers and cares about support when your competitors don't because anyone can sell the same products and you will have competition, this is something to stand out. So where we get used, we get used for things like shopping cart completions. So if those don't complete, checking to make sure people are okay, asking if they need help. We get used a lot for referrals and advocacy as a byproduct. So people wait until a product has been delivered, wait 24 hours, send the video, say, "Hey Jay, I saw you bought X dress. I just want to make sure it arrived and that it's exactly what you expected." So this part is the customer service excellence.

Again, if that person has an issue they're going to come to you, extremely happy and positive rather than being negative, so showing that you're there to help them and support them. And then you say, "If it was everything you expected and you enjoy it, would you mind leaving us a review? Here's a link to Trust Pilot." So off the back of this, the other thing is you take that positivity and use it to drive more traffic through reviews or through case studies, or through everything else that comes through. So essentially you're trying to reduce your cost of acquisition by using your existing customer base, show them you're an amazing company, show them that you get those positive reactions, and then leverage those to drive more customers into the funnel.


James McKinney: Absolutely love that. That is remarkable. It's funny as you're talking I'm thinking to myself o fall my ecommerce transactions I can't think of a single time that someone has leveraged something unique that has driven me to actually write a review. The emails, I just disregard. I get so many emails but if somebody were to send me a Bonjoro, that's a game changer. My mind is just… my wheels are spinning on how I can bring it into the latest launch of our coffee subscription, Grindology. I can really see some value inside of leveraging a Bonjoro for that, so that's quite remarkable. You know but when we think of the growth of Bonjoro and the trajectory of Bonjoro, if we're having a where are they now episode in five years where will Bonjoro be? How do you see Bonjoro in three to five years from now?


Matt Barnett: Yeah, so we have an ethos that kind of drives the vision which is automate process with having relationships. So really what we're about here again, we're not a video company. We are a personalization scale company and we're trying to ultimately turn customers into advocates or super fans. That end goal, that is the Holy Grail. So can we help you be more effective at generating relationships with customers, can we help you be more effective at generating these advocates, and then can we help you leverage them. The ecommerce is a good example, driving reviews.

The other thing is can we make sure that every single customer you ever have has a wonderful experience, has the best experience of any company they've ever dealt with through the way that you engage with them. And then can we take that positivity and get them to drive you more customers, and that's kind of our goal with the company is what other methodologies can we use to do this. Video is great, it's one touch points. What else can we do that's kind of unique and delightful on a customer journey? Can we tell you when you should be reaching out? Can we tell you when to invest your time in customers and which customers you should invest in? This customer is more likely to convert if you send a video at this time, this customer fits your best customers you should spend more time on them than this customer and here's the tools to go and do that. Once you've done that, here's some tools to make sure that customer leaves a review or case study, or drives new traffic because we know they will because we've flagged them as an advocate or super fan. So that idea of helping you create the best personalized genuine experience for customers and then use those as a growth leader for the company.


James McKinney: Oh my goodness, I absolutely love it. Absolutely love it. Just happened to glance at our time, and as our time is coming to an end I want to make sure I know all the value that you've delivered to my audience, and I'm just so grateful for your time here on the show but I want to honor the time of our audience as well and get to the final three questions that I ask every founder. That first one has to do just the perspective of entrepreneurship. You've had an interesting journey leading up to Bonjoro, one that might be considered an unintentional entrepreneurial journey that has led in certain ways, and ways we look back and reflect on I can see that being very intentional. But when you think to the idea of entrepreneurship and how the media has glamorized certain elements of it, do you think anybody can be an entrepreneur? Not want to be. Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, but should they desire do you think anyone can be an entrepreneur?


Matt Barnett: I would say probably not. I think it takes a certain mindset. It takes the way that you satisfy yourself. So if this curve you want as steep as possible, it's an awesome way to go. If you don't and you have other priorities which might be family or lifestyle, then maybe not because there are the highs but there are probably a lot more lows. It's a wild ride, having a wife and family. I would hate for them to go into it and experience it at the same time, so it's nice to have stability with a partner. So I don't think it's particularly for everyone. I think it has been glamorized. I think you need to do what suits you as an individual and as long as you're content that's awesome.


James McKinney: I had one of our past guests say entrepreneurship is a lot more about temperament than it is skill set.


Matt Barnett: Exactly.


James McKinney: I couldn't agree more. And one of the things about entrepreneurship and about the fact that it has been glamorized, part of the persona of entrepreneurship is that it's this isolated journey. It's just a matter of you sleeping on someone's couch and a laptop, and just hacking away at code to deliver some solution and trying to do the marketing via online. But it's just you and your computer, and you can do this all by yourself. And while those stories have been proven true, they are the anomaly not the norm. So when we look back at your entrepreneurial journey from the very beginning who are all the people you point to with such immense gratitude for their contribution to your journey?


Matt Barnett: So team, and then obviously investors as well and mentors throughout the journey, from the first company I worked for, the mentors there to going into learning how to network and sell into some investors and mentors we had in the early days, and to our new investors now and where they are. You need the people around you. It's not a solo journey. I actually run a group of 350 founders in tech in Sydney now because of that need to have other people around you. Bringing people who are in the same, who are doing the same journey and challenges support you because as much as I love my family they don't understand.


James McKinney: 100%, you're absolutely correct. That's why I ask that question because the more times I ask it, and the more times other founders preach to the idea that you need other entrepreneurs to kind of connect and brainstorm and ideate around, the more that persona of this lone ranger goes away, and I just want people to understand it will break you if you try to do this solo. Connect with other entrepreneurs.

With that said, one of the things that I wish I could afford all my listeners is a chance to connect with my incredible founder guests like yourself, but alas I can't. it would be near impossible. I can't arrange 85,000 coffee dates with you to bring some of their most challenging questions to. But I would like to afford what I call the mentoring minute. So as much as we can play the role, if you were to have a coffee with one of my listeners and maybe it's the entrepreneur who is just constantly dealing with cash flow struggles and not quite sure, they think it's just them and their ability to execute, and they're about ready to just give it up because they can't handle the turmoil. Or maybe it's the wantrepreneur who has got a book full of dreams and ideas but there's some narrative, maybe they're 50 years old and the idea that most entrepreneurs are in their twenties and thirties that they think entrepreneurship is not for them. Or maybe it's the entrepreneur that had a business but COVID has absolutely decimated it and they're about ready to call it quits. Whoever that may be if you're having coffee with one of my listeners what would you say to them?


Matt Barnett: It's a tough journey for all of us. I don't think anyone has it easy. I would be taken in by the entrepreneurship work. I call it business, it's business like. You're no different to the generation before you. They did and they probably did it a lot harder than you've done it. It is tough. There is a point when it's good to stop, but then you can always start again. Tomorrow is another day. When I have a bad day and I have them for sure, I tend to just switch off. I will go to sleep because I know that tomorrow I'll wake up and I'll be smiling again because there's as much opportunity tomorrow as there was on the very first day I started the company, and you'll find that too. So when you're having a hard time talk to friends, switch off, relax, tomorrow is another day. There is a million things you could do, so keep going.


James McKinney: Once you've had a few moments to process all the value that Matt Barnett brought us in this week's episode please hit me up on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram and share with me your thoughts on this episode. And lastly if you've been around The Startup Story for any length of time then you know how much emphasis I put on the idea that entrepreneurs support other entrepreneurs. So please visit bonjoro.com and take them up on their free trial offer. Within minutes you could integrate Bonjoro into your marketing and sales processes and see the value you can deliver to your business before you spend a single dime. It really is zero risk opportunity so make sure to visit bonjoro.com. I say it in every episode because I believe it with my very being, entrepreneurs support other entrepreneurs and Bonjoro is a startup so let's show up for Matt Barnett and the Bonjoro team in a huge way as a way of saying thank you for all the value he delivered to us today. And now for my personal ask.

The Startup Story community has been so incredible about sharing our podcast with others, but we have more stories to tell and more people to reach. We too are a startup and word of mouth is everything, so please follow us on Facebook and Instagram @TheStartupStory or on Twitter @StartupStory_. If you're on LinkedIn, please search for The Startup Story and follow our company page. LinkedIn is a really powerful way to raise awareness of the show. But the most impactful way you can help us grow our audience is to leave a review on Apple Podcast. Or if you listen to the show via Spotify, then please simply share the podcast directly from your Spotify app or wherever you listen to the show.

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If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer Danny Ozment. He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and make a real impact in this world. You can contact him today at emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory.

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January 12 2021
Matt Barnett, founder of Bonjoro

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