An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Doug Winter, the co-founder and CEO of Seismic, which was honored in our:
- 2021 Best Tech Startups in San Diego
- 2020 Best Tech Startups in San Diego
- 2019 Best Tech Startups in San Diego
- 2018 Best Tech Startups in San Diego
Tell us the origin story of Seismic – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
My co-founder and CRO, Ed Calnan, met at a startup we were both working for. Ed was leading sales for one team, and I was leading sales for another. We went through the crazy up and down dotcom era and stayed in touch over the years – something I would recommend to any entrepreneur, as those early relationships can last a lifetime.
When Seismic was originally founded, it was mainly solving a content problem for businesses. We didn’t see any pre-existing tools or software that met the needs of salespeople and marketers. With Ed, myself, and our other co-founders, it took over a year to build an infant version of the product to even show to people. Over time, we carved out our niche in sales enablement, which wasn’t a well-known term at the time, and are now proud to be the market leader in our category.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
We talk a lot about persistence and resilience at Seismic. In the beginning of our journey, I questioned myself and my own ability to execute. In the most difficult periods when we were trying to scale and raise capital, I heard ten no’s before hearing a yes. But we kept our heads down, continued to stay the course, and didn’t dwell on early failures. “Don’t give up” can sound super cliché, but it was that mantra that got us through some of our biggest hurdles.
What does the future hold for Seismic?
We recently announced our Series F funding round led by Permira, a global private equity firm. With this new growth capital, we’ll continue to innovate on our product, move forward with global expansion plans, and seek opportunities to enhance and expand our platform through strategic, targeted acquisitions. There’s a huge market opportunity for us to penetrate and we’re excited for what’s to come with new investors and partners on-board.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in San Diego?
We started this company in Solana Beach. This city has been home to our company from the beginning, and I can’t see us being headquartered in any other place. We love being part of the tech community here. It’s been amazing to see the talent pool get deeper over the last few years, new startups popping up throughout the city, and more eyes from venture capitalists and investors on our region. There’s no doubt that the city is on its way to becoming a West Coast tech hub.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
As I mentioned above, cultivate relationships with the people you enjoy working with early on in your career, and make sure you stay connected with those folks. At Seismic, we’re big believers that a good workplace culture starts at the top. Be intentional about the folks you bring on to your team, and be thoughtful about the culture you create as your team begins to grow. We instilled company values of respect and over-communication in our team during the early days, and I’m very proud that those remain some of our core values today with over 900 employees across 14 offices worldwide.