Interview With Rick West
Describe your product or service:
“We provide retail solutions to brands and retailers via our B2B ecommerce marketplace.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“We help people win at retail. Values: faith, humility, community, commitment, excellence, growth.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“Series A and follow on ($4.5 million total).”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them!
“100 in Fayetteville, eight throughout the US.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“Think about the pre-selfie era in 2009 — we were looking for a solution to capture data at scale in a retail location. No video, iPhone 3s kinda days. We started the work really around data collection and capturing information. And what we've seen over the last 10 years is that we really created a marketplace, a B2B marketplace for our clients to go and find retail solutions.
And it's been pretty cool. It's the same B2C concept that people see every day when you shop on Amazon. You find what you want when you want it. We've created that same type of experience from a business standpoint for all of our clients that are wanting to engage at retail. So it's been a pretty exciting journey.”
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How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“It just made sense — sort of a secret agent look and feel.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Yes, I grew up in Appalachia and always had that get it done attitude and wanted to work for myself. My wife and I rehabbed a house in the 80s before it was cool to be Chip and Joanna. But it was with Procter and Gamble in Asia that I really made the decision to leave the corporate world.”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“CPG brands and retailers. It was a logical fit based upon our business model.”
What's your primary marketing strategy?
“Funnel focus with no gates that allow people to self-educate and self-select.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
"Relationships and word-of-mouth/PR.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Usage, repeat, and churn are the primary focus, and then it varies by department.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“Book: ‘Shoe Dog,’ Podcast: ‘Flip my Funnel’ (now Move).”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“Calendly, Trello, and Slack.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“How relationship-driven it is.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“No such thing as balance — life is a balancing act, and through positive deposits in your work and life partners you can withdraw when a season requires it.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’ — do not live in the world of maybe (which is the primary time killer in life).”
When did you know it was time to quit your day job to focus on your startup?
“I left P&G after 16+ years to do a startup because we knew that we had a solution to a problem.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“Paper boy — It is hard sometimes to keep honest people honest.”
More on Field Agent
Rick West, founder of tech startup Field Agent, shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.