Ground Truth Raises $7M More; CEO Sterling Wilson Talks Company Culture, Global Expansion
(Page 2 of 2)
Internet usage but not a lot of mobile analytics services. It will form relationships with local partners that can help it gain access to data from mobile operators, and then work to find a way to sell its software in those countries. “We will be using the money to expand internationally this year,” Wilson says.
Earlier this month, Ground Truth announced that some prominent tech leaders have joined its advisory board: Peter Daboll, Usama Fayyad, Clark Kokich, Henry Lawson, and Chris Maher. Collectively, they have experience at companies such as Hitwise, Razorfish, comScore, and Donovan Data Systems.
I asked Wilson what the big challenges are for the rest of this year and beyond. He says one of the keys is expanding the company’s data partnerships. “The goal is to get data from every source we can and improve the data we can sell to our customers,” he says. “We’ll continue to expand the sales and marketing. In the next year to two years, it’ll be a lot of blocking and tackling.” (Meaning focusing on the basics of executing the business strategy.)
Wilson says there are some parallels to his previous company, Seattle-based digital commerce firm Qpass (he was president). Qpass sold its software to mobile operators; Ground Truth gathers data from mobile operators. “There’s a lot we learned working at Qpass,” he says. “How to deal with mobile operators. We’re working on helping them improve their business—to reduce their churn, or improve customer service, or look for new revenue streams.”
On the management side, Wilson says he is focusing on building the company and attracting the right talent. His philosophy? “One thing I learned at Qpass is to hire intelligent, bright adults, and treat them as adults,” he says. “Hire really bright people who have opinions and experience, make sure they fit with the teams, and let them do their jobs. And give them guidance.”
Wilson says he’s looking for a unique combination of traits in his employees, besides technical skills. “Are you used to working in a startup? Are you willing to get really dirty and dig in even though you carry a VP title? Are you willing to express your opinions and have a debate about your opinions? We don’t want wallflowers. Are you willing to jump in and help people outside your expertise? You’ve got to be willing to work really hard, and realize that startups are hard.”
Asked to boil his company’s culture down to one word (as I am inclined to ask), Wilson says, “Truth.” It’s what they do, how they live, how they treat people, and, ultimately, what they deliver to the mobile marketplace, he says.