Editor’s note: This profile is part of Something Ventured, an ongoing series by Crunchbase News examining diversity and access to capital in the venture-backed startup ecosystem. As part of this project, we’re following seven seed-stage entrepreneurs over the course of several months as they build their businesses. Read our previous profile of Kim Stiefel and Sarah Wissel and Los Angeles-based Repeat, here. Access the full project here.
Repeat co-founders Kim Stiefel and Sarah Wissel had a realization in late June while on their first vacation in years — they were able to take some time off to travel to Hawaii, and their company was running smoothly back home.
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It’s part of what happens when a company grows successfully and there’s a larger team that the co-founders — who in this case are also a couple — trust to keep things moving in their absence. But one of the hardest things about the journey as a founder so far has been building that team, according to Stiefel, who spoke with us again recently after we profiled her and Wissel several months ago.
“It took us a couple years to get it right, and I feel like we have so far,” she said. “We’re still growing.”
Los Angeles-based Repeat is a SaaS platform for consumer packaged goods companies. Its technology analyzes single-buyer behavior as well as household behavior to know when to remind customers when it’s time to buy something — toilet paper, skincare products, etc. — again.
Repeat started 2021 with three employees, and has since grown to a team of 11. The company expects to end the year with around 20 employees, Stiefel said. The pair decided to hire company heads first to start, and took the time to think about the attributes, like attitude and aptitude, they wanted in their first hires. Then, they wrote the job descriptions themselves.
Stiefel and Wissel wrote down the company values and job descriptions and opted to look past their own networks and be intentional about who they brought on board.
But tripling their headcount in a short period of time also comes with growing pains. Stiefel and Wissel had to rethink communication across the board and make sure they weren’t the only two creating the rules of engagement.
“It was really important that we allowed for space, for new voices to come into the overall goal setting and strategic planning so that’s been a really interesting experience and a really exciting experience,” Stiefel said. “But it definitely requires you to take more of a backseat. When it’s just two people — co-founders — making all the decisions, relinquishing control can be uncomfortable. But for Sarah and I, culture matters to us, and (part of the culture) is giving people the space to have a voice.”
Repeat has adopted structured and unstructured meetings to mitigate the chaos that comes with growing so fast, Stiefel said.
“The balance of structured and unstructured has really helped us as effectively as we can onboard many people to the team and make progress,” she said.
June was the company’s biggest sales month yet, with May being the second-largest sales month. The company expects that pace of growth to continue. Repeat hired its first salesperson in May. Prior to that employee getting up to speed, it was Kim who did all the deals.
But growing sales also means Repeat is onboarding more customers, and the company set itself up to handle growth at scale. Stiefel and Wissel made the decision to hire a head of customer success in the fourth quarter of 2020 and filled the position in January.
“Now we have to think about onboarding and scaling customer success, which is hugely important,” Stiefel said. “Retention is everything and our relationship with our customers is everything.”
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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