Introduction

Dan Reich is the Co-Founder and CEO of Troops, a venture-backed technology company that is building intelligent software to help millions of people combine data about their customers and relationships to empower them with critical information and actions so that they can make more money and grow faster. Troops is working with hundreds of companies and has raised about $18 million in venture capital from First Round Capital, Slack and others. He is also the Co-Founder and President of TULA, a health and beauty business that has created the world’s first probiotic-based line of skincare products and is backed by LCatteron. He has been involved with companies that have raised over $100 million in venture capital and have exited for over $1 billion in mergers and acquisitions. Prior to Troops, Dan started a software company called Spinback which he sold to Buddy Media, and then to Salesforce.com for about $850mm. He has a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a contributing writer for Forbes, TechCrunch, Harvard Business Review and has been named Silicon Alley Top 100 by Business Insider.

Are you an entrepreneur looking for your MVP built? Get in touch with us at hello@devathon.com

Devathon has built software for companies backed by the world’s leading investors like Betaworks, Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, KPCB, Lightspeed and many more.

In an exclusive interview with Devathon, Troops Co-Founder and CEO Dan Reich traces his journey so far and his plans for the years ahead.

When did you first discover your entrepreneurial spirit and How is your entrepreneurial career developing so far?

In middle school I started selling baseball and basketball cards at the end of my driveway. Then in high school I started to sell bouncy balls out of my locker. I’d buy them on eBay wholesale and sell at a markup. Then I started my first real company which was an ecommerce site that sold wholesale urban apparel all over the world. I haven’t stopped since, and now I’m focused on Troops.ai, helping companies improve real-time visibility and collaboration around their most important deals by creating real-time, intelligent workflow for everything related to their customers and prospects.

What has been the biggest success and biggest failure stories you went through?

Probably the most notable win was when we merged our startup Spinback with another company, Buddy Media, and then sold to Salesforce.com. At the time, I think it was the 2nd largest tech exit in NYC history so that was pretty neat. As for failures, there are at least 5 different companies I started that are in the graveyard. The whole ecommerce site I mentioned earlier, an electronics company, a medical marijuana company, and one or two more. Once you know they won’t work, it’s easy to kill them and move on.

How did you come up with the idea for Troops.AI and how did it all start?

At the time, I was working on another company called TULA.com and I knew I wanted to get back to software. My co-founder of TULA, Ken Landis knew this too and so we started looking at ways to help our future sales people for TULA out in the field. We quickly knew there was a lot to unpack so I reached out to a friend, Scott Britton, and asked him for his thoughts. That conversation quickly evolved and we knew we needed and wanted more tech help, and then looped in another friend Greg Ratner. And the whole time, the question we were asking was, “what if we could chat with our CRM?” That was really the contrarian and crazy idea for how Troops started.

Tell us something about Troops.AI

Today we work with several hundred organizations from companies like Slack, WeWork, Flexport, Looker, InVision, Andela and more. We help them bring in mission critical data and workflow so that they can more effectively empower their customer facing teams, and quite frankly, the entire organization.

What are your growth plans for the near future?

We are hiring for a handful of roles now from product and engineering to sales and marketing, in NYC and in San Francisco.

Looking back, what did you learn and what would you have done differently?

At Troops, we are really inventing a new class and category of software. This requires evangelism and storytelling, and certainly early adopters that want to come along for the ride. Looking back, I would have taken a closer look at other ways to bridge the gap between the future and now, to make it easier to bring people along for the ride and to a future that we think is an inevitable one.

In your opinion, what are the hurdles that keep people away from starting an entrepreneurial career? What advice would you give to the new entrepreneurs?

Fear. I think people overestimate the impact of fear and underestimate the impact of failure. If you start a company, the worst case scenario is that you fail and people think this is a huge deal. Who cares. Its a great learning lesson and will make you better at your next venture or shot on net. However, much scarier than failure in my opinion is never trying at all. Imagine being, 60, 70, 80 years old looking back on life thinking “would of, could of, should of, and didn’t.” That feeling of regret far outweighs failure so my advice to new entrepreneurs is to start. Do it. Don’t look back and don’t be afraid to fail.

Are you an entrepreneur looking for your MVP built? Get in touch with us at hello@devathon.com

Devathon has built software for companies backed by the world’s leading investors like Betaworks, Greylock, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, KPCB, Lightspeed and many more.

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