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Rob May of Backupify: We Love Boston Entrepreneurs

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This interview is the third in our series of “We Love Boston Entrepreneurs.” Those of you who are unfamiliar, meet Robert May, Co-Founder of Backupify, a leading firm specializing in secure online backup for all social media and SaaS data. Roberts answers to the interview questions are short, sweet and to the point. Enjoy…

Richard: You’ve been able to attract some very bright people to your company, including Dharmesh Shah. What’s your take on relationship building and business?

Robert: You can’t build a great company alone, but building relationships takes time, so you can’t do it just to have a big network.  Focus on the people you really connect with and can learn from.

Richard: Backupify just recently received over 4 million dollars in series A funding. This must be a very exciting time for you and your colleagues as you watch the company mature. Are there any rules you followed or didn’t follow (for that matter) that you could share will other entrepreneurs that might help them as they attempt to acquire funding?

Robert: It’s about persistence and learning.  Don’t be afraid to talk to investors early and often.  Go in and talk about your goals for a raise, without actually pitching, and ask them if they want you to come back in a few months and give your formal pitch.  The best thing you can prove to them is that you can deliver progress, and they see that if you talk to them several times and each time you have moved the company forward.  Don’t fall into the trap of waiting until everything is perfect before you approach your first investor.

Richard: I’ve read your blog and it sounds like it’s been a long road to your most recent success at Backupify. With all the “failures” along the way, what’s kept you going and motivated?

Robert: The love of the game, the desire to compete, and I guess a little bit of spite.

Richard: What’s the single biggest mistake you keep seeing all your fellow entrepreneurs make?

Robert: The “man with hammer thinks everything is a nail” syndrome.  Too may entrepreneurs read one book or blog or learn one theory and think that has to drive everything they do.  It’s all about having lots of tools in your toolkit, and knowing when to use which tool.

Richard: You’re originally from Louisville, which I would suspect is slightly different than Boston – what made you take the leap to pack-up and move yourself and Backupify to Boston?

Robert: Large successful startups are easier to build with the right ecosystem in place.  Boston has great financing options, several companies that could be partners or acquirers for us, and tons of great tech talent.

Richard: With other online data management companies competing for a similar audience, how does Backupify position and distinguish itself from those competitors?

Robert: Right now, we see mostly point competitors – companies doing some piece of what we do.  No one has put everything in one place like we are attempting to do.

Read the full line-up and entrepreneurial interviews here: We Love Boston Entrepreneurs

Author Richard Banfield

As CEO, Richard leads Fresh Tilled Soil’s strategic vision. He’s a mentor at TechStars and BluePrintHealth, an advisor and lecturer at the Boston Startup School, and serves on the executive committees of TEDxBoston, the AdClub’s Edge Conference, and Boston Regional Entrepreneurship Week.

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