What I love about this interview is how Rick’s persistence paid off – mainly because he listened to feedback and adapted. When pitching on the VC circuit, he took some innocuous feedback and turned it into a 75 employee, 1500 client global enterprise. A fine feat indeed and I am proud to have interviewed Rick Enrico.
Rick Enrico is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of SlideGenius, Inc., a San Diego based marketing & software agency. Rick currently oversees an experienced team of talented graphic designers, software developers and marketing professionals that specialize in creating custom corporate presentations and cloud publishing applications servicing over 1,500 global clients.
SlideGenius is an awesome product and you have built an impressive client list, how long did it take to build your company to this level of success?
We were formally founded in 2012 and for the past 5 years, we’ve remained focused on high quality design and fast turnaround times. Each year we get better at both, which has led to 40% year over year growth, which is admirable primarily for a serviced based business. Today we have just over 75 employees servicing over 1,500 global companies.
How did you come up with the idea for SlideGenius? What problem were you trying to solve?
The irony is that SlideGenius is an accidental business. Back in 2008, I was CEO of a fledgling software company and was continuously pitching venture capitalists for some much needed growth capital. As most of us can recall, mid 2008 was a horrible time to raise money. I lost count at over one-hundred “no’s” but I kept hearing the same thing… “Unfortunately we can’t fund your company, but that was a really impressive presentation.”
One of the venture capitalists must have set a subconscious seed in my mind when she said to me; “Rick, if this software thing doesn’t work out you should open a presentation agency.”
Now, at the time, I disregarded the comment and remained focused on the software company but several months later I started helping a few fellow entrepreneurs out with their pitch decks and SlideGenius remained a simple side business for 4 more years until I started to take it more seriously in early 2012. The problem that we solve is that business executives neither have the time nor the in-house staff to create high quality presentations so we act as their outsourced on-demand design partner.
I’m sure it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for you, what were some challenges that you had to overcome?
Scaling service based businesses are challenging because of the constant balancing of financial capital and human capital. Most of our challenges were a direct result of client requests to expand and take on larger projects.
What advice would you give to a new starter who is looking to create their own software product?
Creating enterprise software is costly not only to create but to expand. I’d always recommend bootstrapping by continuously shipping the product without it being perfect and getting as much traction as possible prior to raising your first round of financing.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 5 to 10 years?
I’d like to see SlideGenius grow into a enterprise design platform offering solving speed and reliability challenges for large organizations. As for me, as long as I’m having fun I’ll stay aboard the train.
What are the highlights of your journey as a Founder so far?
My father who’s a serial entrepreneur always says “It’s all about the people” and the most significant highlight I’ve had in this venture is seeing our people grow. The SlideGenius environment is super creative which makes it fun.
However, I think the “highlight” or “formula” that I’ve found within SlideGenius is number one, I absolutely love my employees and number two is that we love our clients. If you have that combination in any business I think you have a formula for success and that has been a highlight of this business that I’ll be sure to take with me.
SlideGenius is a presentation design agency helping corporations across the globe tell better stories visually.