Bob Moore has learned some lessons from what he calls his “$2.6 billion ecosystem fail.”
He and cofounder Buck Ryan started working on Crossbeam, the 2019 RealLIST Startups list topper that describes itself as “LinkedIn for data,” in 2018, and by August 2019, announced a $12.5 million Series A, and was in the process of hiring a slew of new employees.
But in a recent blog post, Moore gets real about the experience of watching former competitor, Looker, get acquired by Google for $2.6 billion this past summer. Looker had a great product and a first-class team, Moore wrote, but he was still disappointed: “We had all of those things plus a four-year head start,” he wrote.
Ultimately, though, the acquisition taught Moore about a company’s place in an ecosystem, he wrote. That understanding is likely just as important as the product itself.
“Looker placed itself at the center of a massive ecosystem, while RJMetrics operated as a silo. They made other products more valuable, and we were where your data went to die,” Moore wrote. “What felt like a strategic advantage — we were a one-stop shop, the only thing you would need — ended up being our downfall.”
Here are four things the founder said a company needs in order to “be a player in an ecosystem”:
- You have more than one partner.
- You and your partners share data bi-directionally.
- Your partnerships team is not in a silo.
- You start with one core feature and rely on APIs.