SaaS Pioneer Ken Burke on Building a $100M Company

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About Our Guest

Ken Burke, founder and CEO of The EntrepreneurNOW! Network, is a speaker, serial entrepreneur, mentor, and author.

Ken founded MarketLive, a market-leading, enterprise class ecommerce software platform used by major merchants generating $2B in online sales through the platform. He sold MarketLive to Vista Equity Partners, one of the largest private equity companies in the world, in 2016.

Ken authored the book, “Intelligent Selling: The Art and Science of Selling Online,” as well as hundreds of industry articles. He earned his MBA in Entrepreneurship from the USC Marshall School of Business, which later awarded him the honour of Entrepreneur of the Year.

Full bio here.

About this Episode

SaaS Pioneer Ken Burke on Building a $100M Company

Unicorns don’t happen overnight. It takes commitment to growth and the right mindset to build a valuable business, and none know this better than entrepreneur, Ken Burke.

Having bootstrapped his ecommerce service business, MarketLive in 1995, Ken diligently spent the next 20 years scaling his company from a few hundred thousand dollars of transactions to over $2B for their customers per year. He exited in 2016 for a staggering $100M. Ken’s experiences have positioned him as a thought leader in the space and he shares his challenges, lessons, and insights gained along the way.

This is a fast-paced episode with a tonne of takeaways for savvy entrepreneurs.

What you will learn in this episode

  • Tips on how to maintain a healthy business relationship with your VC funders
  • How to know and understand your definition of success and leveraging it to drive your career forward
  • The wakeup call: What strategies to deploy when you get cut off from investors
  • How to manage your ego as an entrepreneur

Connect with Ken Burke

Show Notes

(4:41) Before Software as a Service (SaaS) existed, Ken Burke pivoted his service business to a fully operational SaaS business in order to effectively scale. In going through that transition, he learned a lot about how to satisfy customers.

(8:43) Lessons from Ken Burke: 1) Covet your equity, don’t just give it all away in exchange for investment. 2) Don’t have a parent-child relationship with your board members.

(19:10) Ken returned to his business two years before he exited and set a specific target for what they were going to sell for. Not only did he meet it, but the team exceeded it by 20%. Here’s how.

(26:56) Layoffs are never easy. Ken has had to do it twice and says it was the most heart wrenching experience. Here’s the mistake most entrepreneurs make about layoffs.

(35:49) Listen to Ken’s ‘before and after’ on selling MarketLive. Throughout the process there were positive and negative interactions between VCs, shareholders, and staff before ultimately selling for a staggering $100M.

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