Sometimes the simplest actions make all the difference.
That's what my business partners and I thought when we decided, on a whim, to send high-profile investor, Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban an e-mail pitch on behalf of the startup we founded in 2011. One of our key team members had recently finished reading Mr. Cuban's book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, which listed his e-mail address. We were looking for funding and we thought we'd give it a shot, even though no reply was expected.
Our company, Procurify, was initially developed by three of us as a school project at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby. We refer to the business idea as the evolution of procurement, providing a spend management solution for small and medium-sized businesses. In a nutshell, it shows how and where your company spends its money, and helps maximize savings.
Two months after Procurify 'graduated' from Vancouver-based accelerator GrowLab, it became one of the few Canadian companies to sign a deal with Mr. Cuban. How did it happen?
In his initial reply to our e-mail, Mr. Cuban said he would revisit our company in six months, citing how busy he was. Not to be dissuaded, we e-mailed him again the following month to let him know about the traction Procurify was gaining.
This time he replied that he wanted to get a closer look at the company. He wasn't interested in Procurify strictly from an investment perspective, he also recognized the value it could provide by improving the spend management at his existing businesses. A demo of Procurify was set up for his team and it began e-mailing questions back and forth.
Over several months, the terms of our deal were finalized and closed, all without ever meeting in person. The process was conducted entirely through e-mail and phone calls with Mr. Cuban's lawyer.
Mr. Cuban will sit on Procurify's board of advisers and his investment is part of a leading $500,000 seed round to help build the company and move it forward. Our team is now 13 strong.
Kenneth Loi is the co-founder and COO of Procurify, which is dedicated to re-inventing the way companies manage their spending. It features real-time analytical reports, budgets and automated approvals.