The following is based on an actual case. The names have been changed in accordance with the confidentiality agreement between Cardinal Capital and its clients. However, the results are accurate and reflective of the client’s situation.
When Adam Geautreau invested in WorkSmart Software, a Lafayette, Louisiana H.R. software firm, he knew he wasn’t interested in financing the business like a typical tech company. The majority of these firms look for Angel or VC money to start up, then do several rounds of that type of funding. But Geautreau planned to finance the company with personal equity and long term debt. He wanted to avoid the complications of taking on investors during the early growth stage of the company.
WorkSmart isn’t Geautreau’s first venture. In the 90’s, he sold his first software company for a moderate profit. Additionally, Geautreau has been involved in over 20 real-estate deals and software company’s since then across the Gulf Coast. He knows his way around a set of financials.
Geautreau was well aware that taking on equity early on would mean giving up control before having the chance to increase value. He wasn’t interested in the legal and accounting expenses that come with investors or in high dilution at an early stage. He knew he had the experience and resources to grow WorkSmart on his own, in part by deferring pay and using personal financing.
For the first two years, the company was able to scale with bank term loans and loans from his own investments. Last year, however, Geautreau was seeking long-term funding for growth capital. “We needed funding for cycles in the business, as well as for technology development, which often takes 12-16 months before revenue is realized,” says Geautreau.
Geautreau turned to Cardinal Capital for help. “Cardinal provided a unique portfolio of solutions, including small bridge loans, lines of credit, and pension fund lending sources. Through Cardinal Capital we were connected with a variety of options to fund WorkSmart. Within weeks of our introduction to Cardinal Capital, we closed the first of two long-term loans, with unique terms for growing technology companies,” says Geautreau.
Raising Capital, Keeping Control
By June 2017, Geautreau was seeking growth funding for the business. Still averse to taking on equity, he used Cardinal Capital to get a sense of the landscape of available debt offerings. “The Cardinal Capital services produced quick responses from valuable contacts as soon as we joined,” Geautreau says.
When Geautreau connected with a non-bank funding source, “it was immediately clear that they were very, very different” from other lenders. “It’s literally a better option with no personal guarantees. That’s a big deal, especially for people who already have money from prior ventures. They allowed us to scale without losing control. Many of Cardinal Capital’s funding sources are led by people in the same situation I am in.”
Cardinal Capital was able to find capital that provides revenue-based financing, focusing on long-term financing needs for early-stage B2B SaaS businesses. “We address a portion of the market which rarely sees any investment or financing outside of potential seed capital or pre-series A funding. And we do that via non-dilutive instruments which are structured as debt,” says Gary Anderson, Partner at Cardinal Capital. “Being able to retain equity at that early stage is definitely a huge value.”
Says Gautreau, “they really get start-ups and tech companies. They know how to finance a cash flow deal with start-ups, and understand that most tech companies are going to lose money at some point before crossing over to profitability. They were able to convey that message to the funding sources in a credible, reliable manner.”
Today, OfficeWork is trending profitable and cash-flow positive. Geautreau projects the company will grow at least a hundred percent in sales this year, while growing headcount slowly from around 30 in the U.S. and overseas this year.
“We’ll keep focusing on getting better at what we do and continuing to provide better solutions to customers,” says Geautreau. Customer service is a huge emphasis for the business. “We guarantee the best service in the industry. No one will respond faster or solve a problem or give a quote faster than we do. Those are things we control, and that’s our culture.”
Hiring and retaining a team with the skillset and attitude to maintain this culture is imperative. “My goal is to make this company the best company anyone’s ever worked at.” OfficeWorks doesn’t shy away from perks: they provide 100% 401k matching and 100% mental, dental, and vision insurance. But an even bigger component of Geautreau’s philosophy has to do with trust. “We give people a lot of personal flexibility, and really focus on performance and results. We encourage family life and healthy living.”
The strategy seems to be paying off: only one employee left OfficeWork last year. “We’re confident in our people — they’re smart, and they have a lot of experience — and we’re confident in our ability to deliver the best technology to our customers,” says Geautreau.
Cardinal Capital provides financial and C-Suite services to all sectors – from oil-field to start-up SaaS organizations across the United States. With thousands of funding sources and an unlimited financial tools, Cardinal Capital can connect your business to capital. Contact Cardinal Capital today at firstname.lastname@example.org