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Funded Founders: Jeffrey Nicholson - millions raised for Tracer

🚀 Funded Founders: Interviewing Jeffrey Nicholson, Co-Founder & CEO of Tracer.

📃 Message from the Team

If you haven’t already, be sure to read Monday’s Deep Dive into Tracer. We highlighted everything you need to know!

Today, you’ll receive insights, advice and stories from Jeffrey Nicholson, the CO-Founder & CEO of Tracer.

- Team @ DeelScoop

For a more sound understanding of this interview, make sure to check out our Monday Deep Dive into Tracer.

Before Tracer, what significant experiences did you have that were instrumental in shaping your perspective on data marketing and how have they impacted your approach in building Tracer?

I'd say that all the positions and opportunities I was lucky enough to work at, all helped shape my vision and thoughts around the years. But, I’d say the most instrumental was when I was running ads early in my career. I just think having your hands on the keyboard and understanding the day to day operational pain, as I used to like to describe it, was very important. Dealing with the complexity of our industry, I think was, the biggest thing that changed how I look at things as a leader - and why I think I have the perspective I do today on data.

So, how important is the data aspect in Tracer? Obviously it seems like it is the main value proposition.

It is the main proposition. We’re an agnostic data platform that is solving the problem for raw data to answers - which is both a technical problem as well as a business problem. You have to typically span multiple pieces of technology to take raw data sets from different companies and transform that into something typically in a visualization tool. There's a combination of 5 to 7 technologies and humans that are potentially needed to solve those business questions. I think that's why we're so excited about Tracer and what we believe we can deliver to the market.

You managed to close an oversubscribed round - which is very rare given the current funding environment. What do you think were the most important factors in Tracer’s value proposition that resonated the most with investors?

I think the first one is the potential opportunity in the marketplace. If you look at how people are solving this problem today, there are several multibillion dollar companies that are solving a portion of the problem. So given our market position, we honestly enable better usage across the ecosystem and deliver a significant value both on the performance side as well as cost reduction.

I think that got a lot of the investors excited. The other thing is just the reputation that we we've earned. When you look at how big the business has become and what our clients, our partners and our employees are saying about us as a business, I think that people were and are very appreciative of the value that we've tried to build and the care we put into building the organization.

Given that vast investor interest, how did you choose who to partner with? And what advantages do you anticipate from having been able to choose your investors if they play a role at all.

There’s definitely an advantage in picking your partners. You’re obviously looking for people that you want to spend time with. I think these are people that you’re asking advice from, want to trust and want to rely on. So, having a common vision in regards to how everyone’s going to be successful is very important.

I felt very blessed to: pick the partners that I [and my co-founder] felt comfortable with and that we thought would deliver the most value to the business. In regards to the differentiators, it’s the people. You have to be realistic on what your business needs and what you need as a human. For myself, as a first time CEO I was really looking for other people who understood being an entrepreneur and the challenges that you go through.

I think I learned a lot about going through the process and how people speak to you and where they feel they can add value as well as how they present themselves. That was a big factor in how we evaluated partners.

Given the current funding environment, did you have to shift from an operational perspective to get this funding?

The goal never really changed too much. I think the strategy definitely did. My goal was to focus on finding people who truly believe in our mission and then using that momentum to help build confidence when many were hesitant to deploy capital at all.

Regardless of how successful a business has been, you needed a lot, a lot, to win people over. So, we were really focused on a couple partners early. They were huge for us—getting people who were aligned in what we could be and the value that we could derive helped us create a lot of interest to bring investors to the table.

The business strategy at a core level will definitely shift. We’ll still be focused on growth but everyone will be tighter with money—and that’s again a function of the market we’re currently operating in.

Jeff, the floor is open to you. You can share any upcoming projects or anything you’d like our readers to know.

The thing I would share—and this is for any business (small or enterprise)—be sure to look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Do I have control? Do I understand what’s going on? Is there a better way to do it?” challenge yourself continuously. Find the best options and solutions around how to operate in today’s environment to have—and keep—control of your business.

In the data space especially, make sure you know what’s going on, as an employee, an entrepreneur, and everyone in-between.

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