From Bankruptcy to Billions: The Story of Influitive
Once upon a time, marketers implemented a wide range of strategies to attract more buyers.
From launching promotional products to creating powerful yet costly advertising- spamming clients was the way to go.
Worst case scenario - a bad review would ensue and a company’s reputation would shatter to pieces! Offering a smarter solution to this timely way of advertising was Mark Organ - the man who invented Influitive! Leaving nothing to chance, Mark introduced his groundbreaking idea as an aim to turn companies’ most loyal users into an army of advocates willling to publicly share their love for a certain product.
Influitive’s new layer of software engages users to advocate prosperous business and fuel their further growth - leaving countless satisfied customers worldwide!
So, how did Mark build a billion-dollar business from a state of bankruptcy and nothing but an idea in his mind?
Read the full story here:
Blossoming into Young Entrepreneur
Nowadays, it is nearly impossible to imagine a first-grader turning dimes into stacks of dollars - all by selling trifling items from his home cabinet.
For a kid carrying a natural knack for business, ain’t no mountain high enough - and Mark Organ is the epitome of ‘go big or go home’!
Born in a suburban city near Toronto, Mark Organ was the child of serial entrepreneurs perpetually involved in all walks of business. Unfortunately, in the midst of the booming family business - a threat of bankruptcy announced itself from the horizon.
For Mark, childhood was merely a rollercoaster of opportunities. He enjoyed spending time with family and relatives and thrived on learning from the best in business.
Despite the family’s then-financial struggles, Mark took this as a lesson in adopting essential business how-to’s - and how not to’s.
Having been raised in a workaholic environment, and a family that doesn’t quit when faced with trouble, Mark could easily see himself as a promising entrepreneur.
However, realizing the risky business of entrepreneurship, Mark’s parents encouraged him to enroll in medical studies, a move that earned him a Phd in neuroscience. Fascinated with the way the human brain performed, Mark hated not his studies. To the contrary, he took great interest in figuring out how motivation can fuel and impact the human mind.
Next thing you know, Mark acquired a certificate in pragmatic marketing and immersed himself in discovering how brain capacity can reflect on his childhood dream- to become a global leader in entrepreneurship!
Cutting the Teeth
To Mark, opening a start-up was not dependent on nurturing high-scale experience.
First line of business- to open a house painting company which- within a year - morphed into refined custom artwork.
His next step was to develop a strategy in surpassing his competition through introducing both innovation and newness. Unlike other companies, whose employees followed a strict dress code, Mark envisioned his staffers working shirtless- an almost ridiculous concept to behold.
Ridiculous or not, Mark’s genius idea led his business to become four times as profitable than your run-of-the-mill house painting company.
Having already worked as marketing manager for Dundas Software at the time, Mark noticed there was a gap in companies which provide automation solutions for B2B marketers to help oversee their clients’ purchase habits.
With all resources already acquired, and the idea bubbling in his mind, Mark would create a demand-generation software, thus offering a fruitful service company for marketers worldwide. Not a fan of the one-man-business concept, Mark needed to gather a proper team to launch his venture.
Initially, Mark rounded up fourteen employees only - a number that would grow to staggering 150 staffers in the years to come.
In 1999, Eloqua’s foundation was set, and a few months later, it launched on the market. While the company’s growth was steady in its early phase, Mark failed to focus on the ‘big three’ aspects to help him expand further - funding, marketing and vision!
As a result, his company turned from profitable to nearly declaring bankruptcy, so the team needed a solution to the crisis - and fast!
A Mission to Revive
Analyzing potential risks and threats led the team to discover a massive drainage of cash - mainly in educating customers on using the latest technology. A light-bulb moment followed right after the realization - what Eloqua needed to pull itself from the gutters was a generous amount of easily-educated customers.
Three days ahead of declaring bankruptcy, the team was ready to raise their hands in defeat - but not Mark. Enforcing one last hoorah- with a team of only fourteen- Mark took over competitors’ customers in no more than thirty-six hours- and brought the company back on track!
By cutting down clip and paper costs on a yearly level - on the last day before bankruptcy - the cash started piling up once more, and the darkest times of Eloqua were gone and forgotten.
A Change of Pace
In 2007, Mark made a groundbreaking career move - he sold Eloqua for a staggering $800 million to Oracle, and aimed towards a greater challenge.
Traveling for three years gave Mark plenty of room to experiment career-wise. In this timespan, he tried himself as a book author, and ultimately published The Messenger is the Message - an instant Amazon best-seller!
But, a more ambitious voyage was still in the cards for Mark- one that took him to Japan, where he optimized a business concept for an advocacy marketing start-up.
Working without a steady cash flow turned troublesome, but Mark took a different cash-free approach - pleasing his customers and meeting their business needs. His main business plan was to gamify the process of advertising, by awarding advocates with the experience they craved.
Instead of forcing customers to fill out lengthy forms, Influitive also had to appeal to clients by introducing entertainment into the picture.
Nevertheless, one puzzle piece was still missing- finding the perfect candidate to manage the company's technological demands. Who better to do the job than human computer interaction genius David Crow?
After reaching out to his pal and trusted confidant, Mark recruited David to Influitive and the two set off to achieve business greatness of massive proportions.
Soon after that, in 2010, Influitive was launched.
Packed on experience and pulling all the right strings, Mark and David abandoned the inefficient concept of Eloqua and strived to attract devoted employees instead. More importantly, they cared about their clientele in a way that not only suited their company- but its most loyal clients, too!
Advocating change in the name of quality company advocacy!
After its launch, the company witnessed its first seed round from Extreme Venture Partners, whose contribution remains a mystery to this day.
Its second round of funding came from HWVP- a Series A funding worth a ravishing $7.3 million. Three years later, Georgian invested a total of $30.5 million- providing Influitive with a much-needed pat on the back.
The latest company funding entered into force in 2019, and while it came from venture funds again, the funding provided remained a well-kept company secret.
All in all, Influitive has raised a dazzling $59.8 million in funding, over seven rounds total.
Influitive in a Nutshell
Influitive not only appeals to a thriving community of users- it also provides a super-enjoyable experience to them all.
In essence, Influitive encourages the growth of companies worldwide through proper advocate nurturing, discovering, and mobilizing.
Nowadays, Influitive makes an annual revenue of $20 million, employing over 200 workers in a handful of around the globe.
Without a doubt, Influitive unlocked the doors to clever, essential and relevant entrepreneurship - all by encouraging customers to do the marketing for them!