An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Brian Denker (co-founder and COO) and Dillon Woods (co-founder and CTO) of Tackle, which was honored in our:
- 2022 Best Tech Startups in Idaho
- 2022 Best Tech Startups in Boise
- 2021 Best Tech Startups in Idaho
- 2021 Best Tech Startups in Boise
Tell us the origin story of Tackle – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
Brian and I have been close friends since the early 2000s. We both have a passion for building software that delights customers, and we share a love of the outdoors. Over the years, we’ve worked together around the globe for small startups and some of the largest names in tech, but we’ve managed to do so while being rooted in Idaho and raising our families in Boise.
We’ve been involved in cloud computing in one way or another since Amazon launched AWS back in 2006. We had spent many fun evenings brainstorming ideas for building a software company around the AWS ecosystem, but in 2014, we started to see a really interesting trend develop that would become the basis for Tackle. We saw large companies start to rethink the way they bought software. Companies were starting to look for ways to buy software in the same way they had already started buying infrastructure: digitally, through the cloud.
In 2016, we formally launched Tackle to change the way enterprise software is bought and sold. Today, our product helps over 200 software vendors like PagerDuty, Snowflake, and Sisense sell their software in partnership with the AWS, Microsoft, and Google Cloud Platform Marketplaces.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
We’ve encountered many different hurdles over the years, but one of the biggest was finding our initial product-market fit. We had limited resources, with only the two of us hacking away in a shared office above Goldy’s in downtown Boise, so we had to go through many experiments and iterations to find a minimum viable product that could solve a real customer problem. Sometimes it felt like we might not get there, but we finally found a perfect fit at NewRelic. They weren’t our first customer, but we credit them as being our lighthouse customer since their problem lined up so well with our solution.
What does the future hold for Tackle?
Today, Tackle has over 60 employees and we were proud to announce our Series A financing round back in June. These are uncertain times and the 2020 curveballs seem to keep coming, but we are very optimistic about the future of Tackle. We want to make it possible for every software company, no matter the size, to easily adopt a digital sales strategy. At the same time, we won’t compromise our company culture and will continue making Tackle a destination for employees who want to work for a world-class software company on their terms, whether that means working from a cabin in Riggins, or a beach in Hawaii.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Boise?
Other local entrepreneurs in Boise have been incredibly helpful and supportive as Tackle has grown. The tech scene here is much more tight-knit than many other cities, and we love collaborating with others who share our values. The biggest testament to the Boise startup scene is that we’ve had a handful of folks we hired in other cities around the country who have decided to move their families here after just visiting once or twice. That isn’t something that happens in most other cities, and it is something that will only be more common as major tech companies continue to embrace remote work.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
We can offer two pieces of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: operate efficiently and always stay customer-focused. Investors continue to be impressed by how little money we have spent to get to where we are. Keeping our overhead low and always evaluating how to be more efficient has proven to be a major advantage for Tackle. We also couldn’t have built our product without collaborating so closely with our early customers. Treat your customers as partners and always stay laser-focused on building a product that solves their problems.