Christopher Myers says his product for small business owners is akin to a gym membership. BodeTree, a financial tool for SMBs, is technically “good” for companies, he says -- although it may take some convincing to get them motivated to behave more financially savvy.
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“Our biggest obstacle is the fact that our product is something that the business should do, and it will have a payoff,” he says. “But it’s hard to motivate them. We take something really powerful and package it into something they can run with.”
And BodeTree itself is certainly running. The company has just completed a $5 million round of funding from private investors and GreenLine Ventures, and recently surpassed the 50,000 user mark. With that cash, Myers says he has his sights set on quadrupling their user base in the next year, and adding to its 14-employee workforce. The company is based in Denver, Colo.
The business was co-founded by Myers and Matt Ankrum in late 2010, with its alpha version launching in 2011. He started his career in midmarket investment banking for both small and mid-sized companies.
“It gave me the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs who were passionate about their businesses, but not skilled or trained in business,” he says. “From there, I jumped over to the corporate world and was on a strategy team at a Fortune 500. I saw the resources available to big companies, and it was frustrating to know that this support wasn’t available to 97% of the small businesses in the U.S.”
From there, his idea for BodeTree was born. The financial dashboard helps small companies make sense of their financials, set goals and connect them to potential funding providers. There is a free version, and a premium version for $49.95 a month, which has added features including peer comparison.
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“That’s when we set out to bring these resources to every small business, in a way they can afford and understand,” Myers says.
Financial services startups today, especially in the business-to-business arena, are a hot commodity. Myers says his greater interest in this area from both the entrepreneurial and venture capital side of the equation is a byproduct of the Great Recession.
“Coming out of the recession, the perspective of what constitutes a stable, active company has changed,” he says. “A lot of people went through their careers thinking if they were at a big publicly-traded company they were set. We had our confidence shake from 2008, and more people went out and were looking for their own opportunity.”
This heightened interest in entrepreneurship also means a greater need for resources for burgeoning companies, Myers says.
“More people are asking ‘why not me?’ in terms of entrepreneurship,” he says. “So there’s a need for user-friendly, powerful [business] solutions. The price point has come down so far that it’s now possible for a small business to be able to compete with the big players in this space, in a way they weren’t able to in the past.”
And BodeTree wants to aid the journey, Myers says, and help the little guy compete and grow, while doing the same with his own company.
“Small business owners are running a million miles an hour, operating a shop, funding the business, ordering inventory,” he says. “The competition for their time is fierce, but we are having success. BodeTree will become tremendously successful, but it’s a battle.”