Interview With Ed Johnson
Describe your product or service:
“PushFar is a world-leading mentoring platform, for both individuals and organizations. For individuals, we help people to find a mentor, become a mentor, or do both. For businesses and organizations around the world, we license our technology to help them to run scalable, effective, and efficient internal mentoring programs.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“PushFar aims to make mentoring accessible, effective, and engaging to everyone, everywhere.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“Seed Funding — $520,000+.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“A team of 12, including two co-founders, employees, and contractors.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“Initially, I was looking for a mentor myself. When I realized it wasn’t easy to find a mentor, I started to explore mentoring. At the same time, I kept coming across HR managers and learning and development teams who were looking to run mentoring programs and seemingly had no way to do this other than through excel spreadsheets. So, I approached my co-founder, and we began to work on the concept of PushFar. We quickly saw appetite and demand for the platform and began to grow our product from there.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“We considered lots of names. We landed on ‘PushFar’ because it was two syllables, and the domain was available. Ultimately, it reflected what we wanted it to, which is all about career progression, motivation, and drive.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Yes, always. I’ve always been interested in the concept of connecting people through the internet and always worked in startups and tech companies.”
Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?
“Surprisingly, we didn’t really. I think my biggest concern when we started the business was wondering how we would recruit enough mentors for the mentee demand. However, we didn’t find this to be an issue once we launched as we realized lots of people wanted to share their interests, experiences, and insights to help others.”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“Everyone. Anyone looking for a mentor or to be a mentor can engage with PushFar. For our business offering, we target businesses with 50 or more employees. Ultimately, mentoring can benefit everyone at every level.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“We use a wide variety of marketing approaches from outbound sales strategies … to more commonly used digital marketing campaigns. We focus a lot on content.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“We continued to engage with and have conversations with hundreds of different companies, proving the value to them along the way.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Primarily, annual recurring revenue (ARR).”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell.”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“Trello. Every time.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“The amount of time spent on everything other than the product. So, legal, accounting, fundraising, team building, etc.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“Get an early night! I make sure I’m in bed early when I can.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“I try to exercise every day, combined with people-focused work. Talking, engaging with, and meeting our customers is a huge motivator.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“As a marketing campaign manager for an ad network. It taught me the basics of business operations, startup structures, and people/interpersonal skills.”
“Fake it till you make it works to get started. Money is as honest as anything gets.”
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