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Meet Collin Holmes of Chatmeter in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Collin Holmes.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Collin. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve spent my whole career in San Diego, dating back to the dot-com boom in 1998 working in marketing and product development across mobile and internet startups. I started Chatmeter back in 2009, after the iPhone came out, recognizing that mobile local search was going to take off (it was less than 5% adoption at the time), and reviews would have a big impact on the decision process for consumers.

Thus, this was a brand new marketing channel for businesses with physical locations. I was enticed (as many are) by the market opportunity of 30 million SMBs. I spent nearly 4 years learning that small business owners are knowledge starved, money-starved, and time-starved. Acquiring and retaining those customers is very difficult, so we pivoted toward the midmarket and enterprise businesses with hundreds or thousands of locations in 2014.

We clearly found our product-market fit, illustrated by our 700% revenue growth since then, placing us in the top 10% of the fastest growing software companies. Our customers are very happy and we are working with some of the biggest brands in the country!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
“As founder and CEO of a marketing-based software startup company established in 2009, I was enticed (as many are) by the market opportunity of 30 million SMBs. I spent nearly 4 years learning that small business owners are knowledge starved, money-starved, and time-starved.

Acquiring and retaining those customers is very difficult, so we pivoted toward the midmarket and enterprise businesses with hundreds or thousands of locations in 2014. We clearly found our product-market fit, illustrated by our 700% revenue growth since then, placing us in the top 10% of the fastest growing software companies. Our customers are very happy and we are working with some of the biggest brands in the country!

In addition, I bootstrapped the business with very little capital. Working with contractors and part-timers the first few years, while funding the company myself with my life savings. After I went broke, drained my friends and family, I started raising a little money through local angel investors. To date, we have raised very little money, and yet we are one of the fastest growing software companies in the country. Very proud of what we’ve done with so little. Lost of blood, sweat, tears along with way. It’s taken a ton of tenacity to get here.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The company is over 60 employees now and growing fast. We provide our customers with a software tool (dashboard), that helps them manage and improve their presence on local search sites like Google Maps, Yelp, Facebook, Apple Maps and more.

The tool allows them to track all their customer reviews being left for each location, respond, and understand where to make operational improvements. In addition, we help them update all their business listings to make sure they have an accurate name, address, and phone number on all these sites and it communicates the brand and experience a customer may expect with business descriptions, photos, videos, etc.

I pioneered this idea of taking content from across the web and tagging it down to the individual location/store level. Clients would never be able to manage this because it truly is a big data problem. If you have 1,000 locations, that means on average you need to collect and manage 20,000 reviews, 10,000 listings, 30,000 photos and hundreds of thousands of social mentions.

What were you like growing up?
I was a very active kid, always outside playing. It was a different world then. I grew up in a big soccer town, up in the bay area (Pleasanton), so I did that for years. I was a decent student, but certainly not straight A’s. I was also very curious, which got me into a lot of trouble. I like understanding how things work and what motivates people, which is likely why I like the concepts of marketing so much.

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