Blog

The VentureFizz Podcast: Nick Patrick - Co-Founder & CEO at Radar

March 30, 2020

The VentureFizz Podcast: Nick Patrick - Co-Founder & CEO at Radar

For the 170th episode of The VentureFizz Podcast, I interviewed Nick Patrick, Co-Founder & CEO of Radar.

A lot of apps these days count on knowing your location. It is a key piece to enabling the product and offering the right user experience. However, the options for enabling a location offering from a technical point of view have been very limited. It basically has involved a lot of custom built solutions.

It reminds me of the world of payments. Online payment services have existed for several years, but it wasn’t until Stripe changed the game and built a platform that allowed companies to enable online payments and subscription services easily with a product that just worked.

Radar is looking to do the same for location-aware products experiences with its privacy-first location data infrastructure platform. Nick and his co-founder, Coby Berman, are Foursquare alumni and have a lot of experience with location services. The company recently announced a $20M Series B round of funding led by Accel.

In this episode of our podcast, we cover:

  • The current trends in the tech industry as it relates to data and privacy.
  • Nick’s decision to pursue a career in product management and his experience at Microsoft, Foursquare, and Handy.
  • The aha moment that led to the founding of Radar.
  • All of the details on Radar in terms of how they are changing the narrative on location data, plus some use case examples.
  • Advice for entrepreneurs on negotiating a company’s valuation.
  • And so much more.

You can listen to the podcast in the player below. To make sure you receive future episodes, please subscribe to us on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherSpotify, or SoundCloud. If you enjoyed our show, please consider writing us a 5-star review—it will definitely help us get the word out there! 

Interview Transcript

Keith Cline, VentureFizz

Nick, thanks so much for joining us.

Nick Patrick, Radar

Thanks for having me.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz

So I'm excited to talk to you because you're building a company that is doing a lot in terms of, you know, making, you know, location, real now with applications. And it's just a very interesting platform that we're going to talk a lot about in terms of radar and what you guys are up to. But before we get into that, let's let's talk a little bit about data and privacy. It's obviously something that's on the radar for consumers as it should be and Companies certainly had to think about it differently with legislation like GDPR and the California privacy law. So like, what do you how do you think companies should be thinking about these things as relates to that, you know, the trends around, you know, data privacy?

Nick Patrick, Radar   

Yeah, I think that's spot on. You know, we started the company about four years ago. And really two big things have happened since then I think, first, you know, the need for location based services has only grown location underpins a lot of the app experiences that we use every day from, you know, calling an Uber to searching for restaurants on Yelp to, you know, geo tagging our posts on Instagram and Snapchat. So location based experiences are even more in demand than they were. It's it's still too challenging to build, which is the problem that we're trying to solve for, for companies, which we'll talk a bit about, but I think you're right. I think the second thing that we've observed is that data privacy is under more scrutiny than ever. I think part of that is coming from legislation, things like GDPR and CCPA. I think part of that is coming from, you know, consumer preferences, really, I think consumers expect to have control over their data, they expect transparency, they expect, you know, an exchange of value when they when they do grant permissions. So I think we're trying to build the most developer friendly platform for locations that have made it really easy for folks to build these location based experiences. But also help them do it in the right way. Do this in a privacy first way. And I think part of that is a business model thing. Part of that is a product thing which happy to unpack that.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

Yeah. Well, let's talk about your background. So you know, that foundational level stuff of like, where'd you grow up? You know, what were we like as a kid? What did your parents do for work, things like that.

Nick Patrick, Radar   

For sure. I grew up a little bit north of Baltimore. So in Maryland. I was a nerdy kid. I got into computer programming when I was about 11 or 12. I think my first computer, my first computer, I actually you know, my parents were very supportive of my early tech habits. And I basically asked for a bunch of raw materials to build a computer I think when I was 11 or 12 so I built my own computer, played a lot of computer games on it, I think. Yeah, very cool. And I think my first foray into programming if you want to call it that was I built a Pokemon website where I would design my own Pokemon. So sort of learning HTML, learning CSS, things like that. And then over time got into Visual Basic programming and you know, very lucky lucky to have parents that supported me learning all that stuff when I was a kid.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

Well, I guess that makes sense why you went on to study computer science at Duke and I noticed on your LinkedIn profile you said you're a basketball fan so I visited Dukes campus for the first time last year and it’s amazingly beautiful. What was super fun and interesting was I saw all these students in tents lined up waiting for tickets for the UNC game that was happening. And I found out these kids were in tents for like months waiting for these tickets. So what's that all about?

Nick Patrick, Radar   

Yeah, Duke was a really awesome place to go to college. I was super lucky. Lucky to go there, I think it was a great balance of academics and you know, studied computer science studied biology as well. I actually initially wanted to get a PhD in computational biology and did a bunch of research and lab work and kind of hate it, had like a mid college crisis and pivoted to being a comp sci major eventually going to business school and getting into startups. But definitely a good sports scene as well. I tented as they call it for basketball games for three years. Basically, you form a group of 12 students you camp out for a couple weeks to hold your spot in line. And towards the end as it gets closer to the game. It turns into a giant party basically. And so that was a great experience. We unfortunately lost to UNC all four years that I was there. We did beat UNC twice this year. So I you know, as it stands right now, we're we're doing okay, but it was a ton of fun, and I think, you know, great institution that I was very fortunate to attend both from an academic perspective. And a you know, having fun perspective.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

Yeah, it definitely gave me a whole new appreciation for watching the games on TV now and just seeing how, like small that arena is. And those seats you see the students, I'm like those students went through a lot to get those tickets.

Nick Patrick, Radar   

See, I think it holds. I think it holds 9000 students or 1000 fans, it's definitely a intimate sporting environment for sure.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

So what did you do after graduation?

Nick Patrick, Radar   

So I mentioned I initially wanted to get a PhD kinda decided not to go down that path and said, hey, I really like this computer programming stuff. But I'm also really interested in the business side of things. So product management seemed like a good path for me. 

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

Now did you know that existed like product management, like my backgrounds recruiting and product management was my thing. Yet, It was always interesting to see how people landed in that most people didn't even know that was an option coming out of school.

Nick Patrick, Radar   

Yeah, I certainly didn't know it was an option going into school. I think as I started to research different paths forward, you know, I could have applied to a Microsoft or a Google as an engineer, but but decided that, you know, Product Management could be a cool mix of both the tech side of things, but also the business side of things. This idea of being a little mini CEO of the future, or the product you were working on was was very appealing. So I went to Microsoft for two years as a PM, worked on developer products for Dynamics CRM, which is Microsoft's Salesforce competitor, and learned a ton. You know, Microsoft is obviously a huge company. I think I joined in the third year of a three year ship cycle. And this was back when Microsoft was still sort of embracing the cloud. Right. And I think we were still mostly distributing products by, you know, shipping them on, you know, burned on a DVDs shrink wrapped in a box, right? Very different from the, you know, SAS agile distribution that Microsoft and most tech companies follow nowadays. So it was an interesting learning experience, I think a great place to you know, build a foundation of product management fundamentals. But over time I, you know, basically progressively tried to go smaller and smaller in terms of company size.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

So then from there you attended HBS to get your MBA.

Nick Patrick, Radar   

Yeah, that's right, I think, you know, actually applied to HBS in undergrad when I was having this mid college crisis that I mentioned. I didn't really know what business school was all about, seemed like a good way to get into business. And, you know, I think it turned out to be, at the end of the day, a great experience in a number of different ways. But most importantly, a great networking experience, met a lot of really incredible people there from from all different backgrounds, all different skill sets. You know, when I was there basically said, I want to keep doing this product management thing, but I want to do it at a smaller company where I use the product Personally, I'm really passionate about it. At the time for me that was Foursquare and interned at Foursquare between my two years of business school went back full time afterwards. Great learning experience there. I also met two of the cofounders of Handy, which was an on demand home services startup. The two co founders actually dropped out after their first year, we sort of kept in touch and eventually joined there as the as the first product person. So a great learning experience, great networking experience, again, going to business school was a ton of fun. I don't know if I would do it again, personally, but it was certainly a fun fun two years when I was there.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

Well, it sounds like you know, from you know, I've talked to lots of people that have gone onto business school, and it just sounds like it's a good two year cycle to kind of think through what do you want to do? Make some amazing contacts you obviously learn a ton to that goes without saying, but it just sounds like it's a good two years to kind of, you know, just really reflect on the future. And you know, so I've had lots of HBS grads that have gone on to start companies on this podcast, so it's just, it's obviously a great opportunity to network.

Nick Patrick, Radar   

Absolutely.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

So at Handy,  what do you or even a Foursquare, what do you think that experience taught you in terms of that, you know that raw Product, building and shipping product.

Nick Patrick, Radar   

Yeah, I was lucky enough to have a really great manager at Foursquare, Noah Weiss, who went on to be an executive at Slack. And he's still there. And you know, Product Management at a small company like Foursquare is very different from Product Management at a company like Microsoft, you know, you're moving a lot faster. You're shipping products almost continuously. You're working with engineers who are very talented and product oriented themselves. You know, I think you can work with engineers, or you can build an engineering culture where, you know, specs are delivered, everything is meticulously specked out every single edge case. And you're almost resented as the product manager, if there are any gaps. You can work on the flip side in engineering environments where engineers are product oriented themselves. They're excited to fill in the gaps. They're, they're entrepreneurial. And I think the engineering team at Foursquare was was like that. So it was it was a learning experience for me in terms of how to write specs, how to structure projects, how quickly things move, and just sort of the interaction between, you know, Product Management and, and the rest of the company. I think every company is a little bit different. And I think the product management style at Microsoft, in a lot of ways makes sense for Microsoft as a big company with a lot of moving parts. It made sense at Foursquare at the time, and at Handy where I was the first product person had the chance to help put, you know, some initial processes in place and build out the team. There were other patterns that were useful, just sort of based on the type of company that Handy was building in the in the needs there. So I think one thing that I've learned and this has been helpful in the context of radar as well is there's no one size fits all product management process or team structure. It's a little bit different depending on what you're trying to do, how the business works and the stage of the company.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

Now Foursquare obviously has been around for a while and it's, you know, hit levels of scale, which is Amazing. Is there like a strong alumni core that have gone off and started companies? You being one of them, but I would think there's lots of other people that have, you know, gone on and started other companies.

Nick Patrick, Radar   

Yeah, I was very lucky to team up with Coby Berman, my Co-Founder at Radar and then Tim Julian our CTO, both of whom I worked with at Foursquare. And they were two of the guys who were on my super shortlist for people that I wanted to work with again, eventually, and the fact that I get to work with them now at Radar is really, really cool. I mentioned Noah, my manager at Foursquare, who went over to slack, a number of early Slack, New York team members came from Foursquare. There have been a number of other folks who've gone out and started companies, the founders of sunrise, which is a calendar app that Microsoft acquired. Were designers on the Foursquare team. They're now actually working on a an app called Jumbo or one of them is now working on an app called Jumbo, which is an app for consumers to manage their personal data. So it's a it's a privacy related app. You know, we've been lucky enough to hire a few Foursquare alums at at Radar as well on the engineering team. So it's a it was a very talented group of people out doing all sorts of interesting things. And it's very cool to see that alumni network. Yeah, doing great stuff.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

And it's good for the ecosystem. Obviously, you want companies to thrive, but it's good when you see people spawn off and start next generation companies, too. So let's talk about Radar. So, so how did you and Coby come about, you know, coming together to kind of come across this idea and the problem to solve?

Nick Patrick, Radar   

We've been in and around the location space for a while. So obviously at Foursquare, thinking about location space a lot. I was, like I said, the first product person at Handy when I was there, we had experienced a need to build the system to track our cleaners and handyman. We wanted to deliver this Uber style, see your service provider on a map type experience. You know, your booking is about to start, are they five minutes away? Are they 10 minutes away? Are they running late? You know, from an operational perspective, if you want to dispatch a service provider to a booking or logisticalaly understand where they are. So we set out to build that system. And I think thought it would be relatively easy to build it. We put an iOS engineer on it, we put an Android engineer on it, web engineer, a server engineer, and, you know, spent a couple months building it turned out to be really tough. It was tough to do it reliably. It was tough to do it in a battery efficient way, you know, if you're location tracking, or if you're using location services on on a smartphone, it'll, it'll drain the battery if you don't do it properly. It was challenging to build the product experiences to actually surface this data and make it actionable. And you know, reflecting on it after the fact when we wanted to do payments, we just popped in stripe when we wanted to do analytics we just popped in Mixpanel, when we wanted to send a text message we just popped in Tulio. And it felt like there was no great developer friendly full stack solution for location. So that was where the initial idea for Radar came from. Started socializing this with Coby, this was a couple months after I'd left Handy. And I've been sort of prototyping other apps, none of which went anywhere. And shared this idea with Coby, Coby was on the sales side of Foursquare. He went on to be the first seller at a company here in New York called mParticle, which is an enterprise SaaS solution for its customer data platform, customer data management. And he was hearing that a lot of his customers and prospects wanted to collect more location data, they wanted to action off of it, they wanted to build experience off of it, they wanted to do it in the right way. And so we sort of married those two experiences to say, let's build a great developer friendly SaaS products for for location. And that was how that was how Radar started. And that was early 2016, which is hard to believe. But since then, it happy to unpack that journey. It's it's basically been, you know, an amazing journey of building the team, building product, getting it out in market, you know, iterating on it, and now we're almost a 30 person company here in New York and just closed our Series B. So it's been a great ride.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

Yeah, so 20 million announced, which is a total of 30 and a half million, which is, which is amazing. But so so what is Radar today? Like, what do you guys do?

Nick Patrick, Radar   

Yeah, so radar is location data infrastructure. Basically, we help developers and product teams build a great location based app experiences. We have API's and SDKs for things like geo fencing, or location search, or geocoding. That basically, you know, make this stuff really easy to build with. We're providing building blocks for location for developers. You might use them to, you know, power a store locator, you might use them to send a location based push notification when you're in a particular city or at a particular place, you might use it to change the app experience based on the user's current location. So take a travel app. For example. If I open the travel app, and I'm sitting at home on my couch versus at the airport versus in a new city, you might want to show me different content based on my current location. Maybe at home, it's about booking my next trip. Maybe at the airport, it's about my current trip, is my flight on time. Maybe you're helping me access my boarding pass. When I'm in a new city, maybe you're pushing the interesting, you know, recommendations with places and content nearby. And so at Radar, we want to make it really easy to build those types of engaging experiences for users do it in a privacy conscious way. And, and radar is basically building blocks for for location based app experiences.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

And you mentioned the analogy of Stripe which, and you talked about, you know, this didn't exist, it was hard to build this location aware type of integration. So the same happened with me. So for VentureFizz for payment processing, we used PayPal, and when we moved to more of a, a subscription model, it was a nightmare nightmare. I'm like how is PayPal that like payments giant, it's been around forever. This is so complex, and then swipe, Stripe came in. totally changed it. And totally granted, it is more of a developer tool. But once it works, it ‘s like I used to run in to so many problems with credit cards getting denied and wasn't the problem, the credit card just was so finicky in terms of what payments it would accept. So ever since we moved to Stripe, it's just been beautiful and seamless. So I imagine that that's similar feedback you get from your customers.

Nick Patrick, Radar   

Yeah, Stripe has certainly set the bar in terms of documentation, ease of use simplicity of the the dashboard, and the frameworks and the pricing and all of that. And so I certainly don't think we're Stripe caliber yet, but they're a great inspiration to us. You know, our goal is to abstract away all the different challenges and cross platform differences when it comes to building with with location. And so Stripe Stripe sets a great example for us. 

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

SO how has the product evolved? Like how do you even get started building this type of platform that developers know that exists, right? And there's so many different use cases for this type of solution. So how do you get started and then how do you start to monetize that?

Nick Patrick, Radar   

We started with geo fencing. So for those who aren't familiar with with geo-fences, you're basically setting up a virtual area might be a circle, it might be a polygon on a map. And when a device enters that area, you generate an event. So enter geofence or exit geo-fence. The geo-fence might represent a place like a store, it might represent an airport, it might represent a city. And so we wanted to make it really easy to build with geo-fencing. That was that was where we started. And the alternatives were basically, you know, working with kind of the out of the box, geo-fencing capabilities on iOS and Android, which our SDK sits on top of, but they can be pretty, pretty challenging to work with at scale. You know, if you're building directly against them. So we started there, you know, we also started, I think, when people think about geo-fencing, they think about background location, they think about push notifications. So we started with iOS and Android SDK, and a lot of it was very focused on the generating events in the background and maybe triggering push notifications based off of that. Over time a couple things have happened first, customers asked us for additional we call them context types but you know, you can create custom geo-fences but customer said hey, I want to know whener you know somebody is at any airport or any McDonald's. Can you just tell me that stuff out of the box. So we launched a new context type called places where effectively effectively we have out of the box geo-fences where without setting up any custom geo-fences, we can say, you know, user entered a place with category airport or user entered a place with category or with chain equals McDonald's, right? We added other types of out of the box geo fences as well. So our region's context type has country boundaries, state boundaries, and city boundaries out of the box. So you know, part of the way the product has evolved is providing customers with you know, more context types, essentially out of the box geo-fences. Another way the product has evolved is the stuff is relevant beyond just smartphones, right? You can add geo-fencing to your iOS or Android application. But maybe you want to add location context to a website. Could be mobile web could be desktop web. You know you think about augmented reality is all about where you are right? There needs to be a location context layer, self driving cars, IoT, there's a location component. So we're starting to think about how we move past smartphones and be a location layer for all products and services across all devices. And then I think the last piece in this segment we were talking about earlier in the show is privacy concerns and compliance and we want to be the most privacy friendly location data infrastructure. Part of that is our business model. We're a SaaS company. Basically, we we charge you based on how many monthly active users that you have. We keep the data silo to each individual customer so we're not turning around and monetizing or selling the location data that we collect. Part of it is also product functionality, right? So how do I build these great location based app experiences, but minimize the amount of data that I'm collecting, right? Maybe no user data is sent to the server at all. So Radar actually isn't persisting any location data tied to a user identity, it's truly anonymous. Maybe there is a use case for sending it to the server, but we can help customers set up data retention policies such that data expires quickly or only certain types of data are persisted. So helping people build more types of location based experiences on all sorts of different applications and devices and also doing it in a very privacy friendly way.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz    

And then how did the sales and marketing efforts evolve like when you started getting some traction with some customers? Did you start to see kind of like a almost like a word of mouth type of spreading or was there more of a direct reach out? Was it you know, more inbound demand Gen, like like what methods worked in the earlier days and then how has your sales model you know, changed since then?

Nick Patrick, Radar   

Well, the early days when it was just Coby and me, nobody knew about ust, so there wasn't an eye on it, basically. Yeah, and so basically the way we divided responsibilities was, I would write the code and Coby would sell. And Coby was effectively the account executive SDR, you know, marketing team all in one. And it was a lot of pounding the pavement, sending a lot of emails working on network, to lineup the first couple meetings. I would sit in the corner and code and mock up whatever feature it was that we're going to build next in the context of customer conversations, I would play sales engineer. So I would be the sort of technical consultant during a customer conversation or during a sales cycle. And to the extent that there was a gap in product functionality, you know, maybe a customer wanted some geo-fences out of the box, or they were confused by this aspect of the SDK, or they needed to, you know, send data to a new destination or whatever. I would basically pull an all nighter or work all weekend and build that feature, and then we'd go back to them, you know, the next the next business day. That obviously doesn't scale super well. So over time, as the team has grown, we've started to write more stuff down. We've started to make the products, obviously more full featured, but also more self serve. So it's easier for customers to sign up and get started with without a ton of hand holding. And so that's, you know, part of the way that it's it's evolved over time. And now we have, you know, a mini brand, I would say forming where folks have heard about us, we get a fair amount of inbounds. You know, it might be individual developers signing up self serve to use Radar and then upgrading to a paid plan over time. Or, you know, might be another path and maybe they see one of our blog posts or they see an ad or something like that. So we're starting to build out more of this demand gen sales engine over time, starting to build a brand. We really want to make Radar synonymous with location. If you're a developer, if you're a product manager and you want to build a location based experience. Radar should pop into your head right away, right. And the same way that if you want to add payments to your app, Stripe should should pop into your head. So we have a long way to go. You know, we obviously work with some some great customers and are doing some pretty serious scale, which happy to talk about that. But still just getting started and a ton of exciting stuff for us to do over the next or the next several years.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

And well that is a perfect segue way. So talk about a couple of the, you know, customers and the different use cases of how they're using your platform.

Nick Patrick, Radar   

Sure, we work with a number of different customers across a number of different verticals. Might be food and dining might be shopping and retail, might be travel and transportation, sports. A couple examples, Burger King ran a campaign called the the Whopper detour, which you may have heard of, some of your listeners may have heard of. The idea was if you downloaded the Burger King app and you went near a McDonald's, you could order a whopper for a penny. You just had to leave the McDonald's and go to the nearest Burger King to pick it up. So Burger King came came to us. And it drove millions of downloads very, very creative idea. And Burger King came to us and said, hey, we want to build this product experience. We have 14,000 McDonald's locations that we need to geo-fence, can you help us out with that, and we were able to help them with that. So that's a good example of sort of a product experience on the food and dining side, but work with companies like Ibotta, which you may have heard or seen commercials.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

I have the app, my wife loves it.

Nick Patrick, Radar

There you go. So we help them you know, understand when somebody visits a retailer on the Ibotta platform, if you're reminding them to use the app. In the future, I think we're going to help them with with with other in application based functionality as well. You know, companies like DraftKings so fantasy sports, gambling is only legal in certain states. You know, can we help them understand when somebody's in a particular state and maybe prompt them to prompt them to use the app? Travel companies like booking.com, you know, can we help? Can we help travel apps understand when somebody is in a new city or at an airport or you know, whatever at a hotel and build relevant experiences based off of that, we're starting to see new verticals as well. So we're working with a state government to help them geo-fence, road closures and emergencies like wildfires, which is really cool. We're starting to see some interest from banks that potentially want to use location more from an operational perspective for anti fraud type use cases If your phone is over here, but your credit card is swiped over here. And those two things don't match up. Maybe that should be flagged, right? So we're starting to see, you know, more use cases emerge over time. We've also started being used at a bunch of hackathons. And we've started to see students pick up Radar, and really inspire us with new use cases that we hadn't even thought of before. There was a college hackathon where somebody basically built an app to geo-fence a group of friends going out for the night and if somebody left that geo-fence, unexpectedly their friends would would get alerted. Right so interesting sort of safety use cases and you know, part of the reason why we want to make radar super accessible and easy for developers to use is so that anybody can sign up and get started. But but also because it inspires us about, you know, people sort of picking up the product and using it for things that maybe we didn't anticipate, and that inspires our roadmap and inspires, you know, additional features that we can build to democratize that or enable use cases like that.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

Well, so you and Coby were first time founders or are first time founders. So what was it like raising capital, you know, raising the seed round, and then there's always the, you know, do we get the series A, and now your are Series B. So how has that process been? You know, raising capital.

Nick Patrick, Radar

It's gotten progressively easier. I was personally pretty bad at it at the beginning, I'll freely admit that. You know, it's a little bit daunting when when you start right, you're going out and you're asking folks for millions of dollars. And, you know, I think when we raised our seed round, we probably had about 30 people tell us  No, before we got a term sheet, you know, I think the mistake that I made when we were initially raising was I was sort of looking for the, you know, the perfect way to run the process, right? Like, how many people should I talk to you per week? How do I structure the perfect introduction? What do I ask for from a valuation perspective, and what I realized over time was, you know, just get out there and start giving your pitch. Be very thoughtful about how you're pitching the opportunity, refine it over time, you know, create a sense of urgency. And if you tell a good story, if you have a good product, if you have, if you have traction, it'll work itself out. And it's gotten progressively easier for us over time. I think that's true of fundraising. I think it's true of building the company as well. We've learned a lot and I think grown a lot over the last couple years. The nice thing is it sort of progressively gets harder, right? So I think if we had gone from two people to 30 people overnight, it would have been a bit overwhelming, but we went from two to five and then we went from five to 10 We went from from 10 to 30, right? And every time you make one of those big sort of, you know, order of magnitude leaps in company size, stuff breaks, and you have processes that you need to add or processes you need to change or, you know, things that you need to standardize or write down or change or whatever. And it's, it's, it's a never ending process. But you know, I think both for fundraising and a company building perspective, we've learned a lot over the last couple years. And I think we still have a lot to learn over the next couple years as well.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

We touched upon the valuation piece. So how much should entrepreneurs think about that? Is it I think some entrepreneurs probably get caught up in it, like overthinking the valuation? So what advice would you give entrepreneurs on, you know, setting what their expectations are for the valuation versus what the term sheet might say?

Nick Patrick, Radar

Yeah, I think oftentimes the type of round that you're raising and the amount that you're raising influences what type of valuation you're going to get, you know, so does your level of traction, so does the amount of leverage that you have in the process. You know, the goalposts are always sort of changing But I think, you know, seed round sizes series A round sizes and valuation ranges. There's some numbers out there about what's typical. And there are certainly outliers. But oftentimes you'll sort of fall in that standard range. And your business needs to be at a certain point to be able to have those conversations, whether it's, you know, the amount of revenue or as you get further along things like your margins or your retention rates or things like that. Right. So one thing that I think has been great, and this is true of fundraising, this is true of, you know, managing or starting a startup in general, it's true of product management, is there's a lot more content here than there was four years ago. And there's a lot more content than there was four years before that, right. So a lot of people have done this before. There's a lot of data, there's a lot of guideposts to help you and and honestly one of the things has been most helpful for us has been we've had some great investors that have given us a ton of advice and helped us you know, grow the company and and get to the next round. We had a lot of advisors that were tremendously helpful to us in the early days, and even just friends and former colleagues and folks in our network. So we've been very fortunate to have help from a number of different folks, and never would have gotten to this point without them either.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

What do you think has been like the hardest part? Um, there's lots of difficult parts of building a company, but what do you think has been, you know, kind of the hardest part as well as, or maybe, you know, the biggest lesson learned, you know, since starting the company?

Nick Patrick, Radar

Yeah, the hardest part for me and this is it's, it's a good problem to have is just how do we make sure that everybody stays aligned and in the loop as the as the company grows, right? In the early days, you're a few people sitting around a table and you can just sort of talk, you know, write anything down. And in fact, writing stuff down would would slow you down. But as you scale, obviously, you need to write stuff down. You need to take the knowledge out of your head and you need to put it in a place where anybody can see it and learn and get ramped up, right? So it doesn't happen all at once. It's not like you sort of flip a switch and say, okay, you know, now we have to document everything. It's it's a very sort of gradual transition. And the amount of process and documentation changes. It's a sliding scale as the as the company grows. We just did an employee engagement survey where we sort of took a pulse about how people were feeling earlier this year, and kind of ran the numbers and realized that over 50% of the employees had been with the company for less than six months. And that's amazing. And all of them are off to a great start, which is really cool. We've been we've tried to be very thoughtful about onboarding. But you know, we just didn't do all hands today, it was our first ever all remote all hands which which, which went well, but you just sort of realized as as the team grows, how many concepts and data points and just terms that you throw around every day are unfamiliar to new folks joining the team. And, you know, we're basically just making an effort to be cognizant of that and start writing stuff down more, really invest in communication and documentation and enablement as we as we scale.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

Along with the scaling part, like how do you think about culture? Like how do you, you know, companies as they scale, sometimes the culture can, you know, be part that starts to diminish? So how have you thought about the culture side?

Nick Patrick, Radar

We went through a mission vision values exercise as a team early last year. And we we tried to go through a similar exercise when the company was five people. And what we realized was, we just didn't have enough data points yet. Kind of felt like we were making stuff up. And, obviously, you know, the the founders, the early team, you have a certain background, and you have a certain viewpoint, and you have a certain personality that maybe seeds the culture and kind of infuses, what the what the core of it is. But one thing that's been really fun for us is, as we've grown, we now have more data points about what makes us successful and what doesn't, right. And that's unique to us as a team. It's unique to us as a company. It's unique to our business. And you know, we've had I've been lucky enough to hire some tremendously talented people who've done great here. And they've done great because of who they are, but also because we've conducted ourselves in a in a certain way. And we've, you know, unfortunately had a few folks that that didn't work out. And so we have these data points about what works what doesn't, you know, there's an up there's a down and we were able to basically codify codified company values that said, Hey, this is the Radar way, this this is what works for us. And so try to be very deliberate about it. You know, you don't want to make this stuff seem corny, right, painted on the wall in you know, cursive letters or whatever, you can do that. But it needs to be authentic. It needs to be something that is actually true. It's the way that you conduct yourself and you need to, I think be willing to reassess every year or two and, you know, change it over time, right as the company grows, maybe we swap one value out for another, you know, we've rewarded some values for clarity and yeah, you know, it's it's it's been fun to collect data points and, and actually make this stuff organic. And we'll see how it evolves as the as the company grows to 100 people over the next couple years.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

Well, so you obviously just raised your Series B, which means you're hiring. So what's the what's the plan as far as growth and and what what functional areas Are you hiring for?

Nick Patrick, Radar

We're hiring across functions. So we're going to try to double the size of the team this year, go from 25 to about 50. Some of our functions have been around for a while, and they're already starting to scale. The engineering team is seven or eight people at this point. The sales team is four or five people. Some functions are relatively new, right? customer success, marketing, sales engineering, sales operations, are all new functions for us, right. And so some functions, we're still still building from scratch. We don't have any product managers yet. We have a really talented product designer, but I'm sort of playing how to products right now. So we'll be we'll be hiring a director of products.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

Oh, that's a great one right there. So back in my search days the first product hire under the founder is such a great role.

Nick Patrick, Radar

Yeah, very near and dear to my heart. And you know, I've been in the shoes of whoever This person will be, you know, being the first product person at a startup myself, so, and lots of personal learnings from from that experience. So, you know, luckily, we have a very talented recruiting lead, who joined us from greenhouse, he's helped us level up the process and the tools there, you know, starting to invest more in diversity inclusion as we grow. And yeah, just really excited to grow the team. I think the single biggest thing that we can do to move the business forward right now is to hire incredibly talented folks. And we've done a great job of that so far. Obviously, the numbers get bigger and bigger as you scale and it's it's personally a big focus of mine as the as the team grows.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

How about things that you're checking out these days podcasts or books that you'd recommend? It could be business, it could be fun to it doesn't have to always be business?

Nick Patrick, Radar

Yeah. You know, podcasts that I've been checking out. Let's see here. I was just on the MongoDB MongoDB podcasts, which was was fun. You know, we've used MongoDB since the early days. And, you know, it was a technology that we used at Foursquare, technology that Tim our CTO used there as well. And so that was that was great sort of talking about our experiences scaling Radar from a technical perspective early on. Was just on the Dorm Room Fun podcast that hasn't been released yet. And my former colleague, Eric Friedman, is starting a podcast called Building the Machine where he's basically interviewing operators from all sorts of different tech companies. And so was lucky enough to be one of the first guests on on that as well. So maybe I'm biased because I've been sort of doing the podcast circuit recently, but I guess I'll plug in the other podcasts that I've been on.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

Yeah. And I did check out Eric's podcast. It was awesome. I mean, it's just definitely hit so many different pieces of what I aim to pull from these podcasts. So yeah, that was a lot of fun and I didn't know Dorm Room Fun has had a podcast.

Nick Patrick, Radar

Yeah, I think it's been around for a while. That was sort of a fun one. It hasn't come out yet. So hopefully it's good. But we will see.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

So how about outside of work. What do you like to do for fun outside of work?

Nick Patrick, Radar

increasingly gotten into cooking. We, my wife and I are avid Blue Apron, customers and users. Their business is going through an interesting stretch recently, but we love it. It's sort of a fun way for us to come home and unwind not be in front of the screen after after work. I historically been super into running I ran cross country in high school, try to continue running through college. I'm trying to get more into that recently. back into that, I guess, and you know, honestly, like, just trying to, you know, I'm living and breathing Radar all day every day. I love it, but but trying to sort of carve out time to step away for a little bit often it's on those runs or while I'm cooking or while I'm on vacation, that, I can sort of zoom out and connect the dots on sort of larger patterns and trends, right. And oftentimes stepping away is the is the best thing you can do for your for your productivity.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

I totally agree with the running piece. Like that's just such a great opportunity to kind of cleanse the mind and just think about things because you're you're just kind of focused on, you know, exercising, running. And then, you know, just for whatever reason, I think it just helps the mind think, clear thoughts as it relates to challenges you're facing with your business. Well, Nick, thanks so much for taking the time to walk us through your background, all the great things you've been up to as far as the different companies you are part of, obviously, what you're up to with Radar, which it's I love hearing companies like this, and I can see why the investors are super excited to invest in it because there's so many different use cases and such a great, great opportunity to build a pillar company in New York. And obviously all the great advice for other entrepreneurs to follow.

Nick Patrick, Radar

Yeah, thank you so much for having me on the show. Really enjoyed the conversation and hopefully it's helpful for folks looking to follow in, you know in the same footsteps.

Keith Cline, VentureFizz 

Well, that's our show. I hope you found it useful and entertaining. If you did, please make sure you subscribe so you'll get future episodes. Also, please consider leaving us a five star review and share this podcast with all of your friends and colleagues in the industry. It all really helps us out. Last but not least, don't forget to visit venturefizz.com, the most trusted source for tech and startup jobs, news and insights. Thanks for listening and I'll see you next time.


Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6.