Show investors you're going to do something 'crazy': Patrick Baynes - Technical.ly Philly

Growth

Mar. 17, 2014 8:30 am

Show investors you’re going to do something ‘crazy’: Patrick Baynes

It's a competitive environment for mid-stage funding, so you better be planning on doing something 'crazy' said PeopleLinx cofounder Patrick Baynes at last week's Startup Grind Philadelphia event.
PeopleLinx cofounder Patrick Baynes at the March 2014 Startup Grind Philadelphia event held at Benjamin’s Desk coworking space. Photo courtesy of Startup Grind

PeopleLinx cofounder Patrick Baynes at the March 2014 Startup Grind Philadelphia event held at Benjamin's Desk coworking space. Photo courtesy of Startup Grind

If you’re going to convince an investor of something, convince her of something big. That’s why PeopleLinx cofounder Patrick Baynes said his startup is aiming to be the industry standard for big companies to manage the spiraling network of staff social media accounts.

“The competition is really thinnest for venture funding at the top with crazy goals because there are not as many people going after it.” said Baynes, who added he only has five competitors, all of whom he knows.

Baynes, who was the 162th employee at now publicly-traded resume-focused social network LinkedIn, offered advice to future disruptors during an intimate talk at expanding coworking space Benjamin’s Desk. He was interviewed by Startup Grind Director and the space’s founder Mike Maher last week as part of the entrepreneurship fireside chat series.

PeopleLinx started as a resource for Fortune 500 firms to analyze and track how their employees were using LinkedIn. This month, the team launched Twitter integration. It’s all part of competing for that big goal, Baynes said, being the leader in their space.

It’s an industry that is still growing. Big companies have all long adopted web engagement ethos but are lagging behind in understanding how to leverage what their employees are already doing on their own.

Using a “pain pill and vitamin” approach, Baynes and company show Fortune 500 businesses how to connect their employees’ social media platforms. A social media enabled workforce, Baynes posited, allows companies to improve branding, respond quickly to customers and expand their ability to increase content distribution.

That goal has earned them the interest from some investors: last March they closed a $3.2 million Series A round. To do that, Baynes credited an early VC pitch from Linkedin founder Reid Hoffman as inspiration.

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“[Investors are] Powerpoint obsessed to some degree,” Baynes admitted, “but honestly, your story is more important” as it connects a theory with a human element.

Baynes also shared why Philadelphia’s tech community has been part of their early success.

“If I were to start from scratch, I would start in Philly. The network here is one degree away anybody you want to know or get to know,” he said. “We have all of the right things to be successful. We’re real people in Philly and I think it’s a great place to start a company.”

Find other photos of the event here.

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