An Interview with Entrepreneur Jake Stein

Jake is co-founder and CEO of Stitch. Previously, he was a co-founder of RJMetrics, which was acquired by Magento in July 2016. Before RJMetrics, Jake worked in venture capital, started a landscaping business in high school, and was the 44th-ranked table tennis player under 21 in New Jersey; achievements of which he is equally proud.

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, Stitch co-founder and CEO Jake Stein traces his journey so far and his plans for the years ahead.

When did you first discover your entrepreneurial spirit?

I started a landscaping company in high school with two friends. We made fliers to drum up business with slogans like "Cheaper than people who overcharge" and "Keeping teens off the streets and in your yard." We drove around the neighborhood in my mom’s minivan and stuffed them in people's mailboxes. By the time I got home, there was a message from the local postmaster. Apparently, it’s a federal crime for anyone who is not an official mail carrier to put something in a mailbox, and we had to cease and desist immediately to avoid prosecution. So I would not necessarily recommend that marketing strategy to anyone else, but it drummed up enough business to keep us busy for two summers.

How is your entrepreneurial career developing so far?

It's a constant learning process. I started out after college working at a venture capital firm where I talked with many entrepreneurs. I quickly realized that I was more excited about their jobs than mine. In 2008 I left the firm and co-founded RJMetrics with my colleague Bob Moore.

Stitch, my current company started out as a hackathon project at RJMetrics. At RJ we got data and put it into a multitenant data warehouse that powered an analytics dashboard. One of my colleagues created an extension that let us put data into our customers' data warehouses instead. That extension ultimately became our second product.

In 2016, when Magento acquired the original RJMetrics business, we spun out that second product into Stitch.

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

My most significant success is the team we've put together. It's an amazing group of people I trust, admire, and enjoy working with every day.

I’ve failed at lots of things, and I'll tell you about one of my roughest days. In the early days of RJMetrics, I did all of the sales, onboarding, and support. I was particularly proud of our largest customer, on whom we had done a case study that was on the front page of our website. Then one day I found out they were canceling their contract with us. I was stunned and sad and felt like the world was rejecting me. I remember walking home from work feeling sorry for myself – and while I was walking a homeless man came up to me, got in my face, and started cursing at me. I was like, "What?! You too?"

The experience ultimately helped me get the perspective to realize that while it was disappointing to lose that customer, I still had a lot to be grateful for.

What are your growth plans for the near future?

We have two big growth areas for our product. One is building more integrations to data sources and destinations. We're also enabling other software developers to embed Stitch within their applications via a product called Stitch Connect.

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

One thing I would have done differently applies to the early days of RJMetrics. I wish we'd been more deliberate in thinking about how to scale the business. We figured it out, but I think we could have spent more time on strategic rather than tactical issues.

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?

Entrepreneurship is not the right move for everybody, and maybe not even most people. It also might be the right move for someone at one point in their life but not another.

If you're thinking about it, I advise you to think carefully about what you value, your risk tolerance, and what you want out of your career. If starting a company gets you where you want to go, great; if not, that's fine too. There are lots of ways to make an impact.

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.