Company Co-Founder Brian Denker talks about infrastructure and integration
No matter how ingenious a new piece of enterprise software is, if the developer doesn’t know how to navigate cloud marketplaces, the types of organizations for which the software is designed may never even know it exists. And no customers mean no revenue.
That’s where Tackle.io, Inc., comes in.
Founded in 2016 by Brian Denker and Dillon Woods, Tackle.io, which has 110 employees working remotely from 30 states, is a software company that “provides a go-to-market solution to help B2B (business-to-business) software companies establish, operate, and scale sales through the cloud,” via Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Google marketplaces. In simple terms, Tackle.io has created a platform that allows software companies—both new and established—to be more visible and to sell their products without diluting resources (employees’ expertise, finances, etc.) that may already be stretched thin; and it allows organizations looking for industry- specific software to find them.
“People know how to sell software. They’ve been doing it for 40 years,” Denker said. He offered an example of what that sales model used to look like. “I negotiate a deal, I give you a sales order, you agree ([to the terms)] and sign it. Then, you give me a purchase order, then I send you an invoice, and then you send me a check,” he said.” That’s the way things happen even today;, whether you’re buying $10,000 worth of software or $10 million worth, it generally happens that way.”
That is not only a cumbersome way of doing business, but it is also inconvenient,; and convenience is clearly a driving factor in how consumers and end-users make buying decisions.
“Twenty years ago, if you wanted to buy a pair of shoes, your only choice pretty much was to go down the street to, say, Foot Locker,” Denker said. “Ten years ago, if you wanted to buy a pair of shoes, you would go to Adidas.com, pick out a pair and buy them. But to buy those shoes, you’d have to create an account at Adidas.com, put in your credit card number, put in your username, and put in your password. Now, due to what Amazon has done to the retail market, you probably still go to Adidas.com to check out the shoes, but you probably go to Amazon to buy them. And why do you go to Amazon? Because it’s so easy.”
Denker said the ease is due in part to Amazon leading the creation of the cloud server market with its Amazon Web Services. Data centers that once housed (some still do) stacks of physical servers from corporations like Dell, EMC, and HP, have been replaced by cloud storage, where a new server can be up and running in a matter of minutes. Denker and Woods thought getting software should be easy, too. And selling software isn’t the same as selling consumer goods. A software company needs to be integrated into the cloud marketplace and use the mechanisms of digital selling, such as automatic downloads, updates, etc., which sounds like a daunting proposition—but it doesn’t have to be.
“([The software company)] just talks to us and, in a couple of weeks, we get ([them)] there,” Denker said, adding that like PayPal for consumers or Shopify for businesses, Tackle.io is the infrastructure that allows for digital selling, meaning it provides the platform that allows a software company to get listed in the marketplace, sell their product and get paid.
Helping software companies be successful in the cloud marketplace is helping Tackle.io be successful as well. In March 2021, Tackle.io closed its Series B round of funding, raising $35 million from Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and existing investor Bessemer Venture Partners. In a press release, Martin Casado, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz is quoted as saying, “Tackle.io is the leading player for enabling companies to sell software through the cloud. We believe every enterprise software company should be using them.”
This level of funding allows Tackle.io to focus on one of its most valuable assets: its employees.
“We have been able to create a culture where we can spend time actually looking into our company and making sure things are right, and people are doing what they want to do,” Denker said. “I want to create a desirable workplace and leave a positive legacy. I’d like to be sitting in a bar someday and overhear someone say, ‘Yeah, I used to work at Tackle.io. It was an amazing place to be’.”