By: Shannon Frohme

We’ve all heard the chilling statistic that nine of out ten startups will fail within three years. That’s 90% of venture-backed startups that won’t celebrate their fourth birthday, and minority-owned businesses face even tougher stats.

Today marks ConnXus’ 7th birthday, and we’re proud to put those statistics to shame!

So… how did we get here? Successful startups are privy to four characteristics, according to Forbes, setting them apart from the 90%. Let’s see how ConnXus stacks up.

  1. The product is perfect for the market.

Our founder Rod Robinson had the “lightbulb moment” for ConnXus during his time as Cincinnati Bell’s chief procurement officer. This moment stemmed from persistent frustrations with incomplete databases claiming to have robust minority and female-owned business information. His feelings and frustrations were not isolated; many procurement officers experienced similar pains.

“It was frustrating to have my staff complain about having to spend so much time chasing numbers from prime suppliers, that we were required to report to fulfill contracts. I just felt like there had to be an easier way. I saw an opportunity to make that process a lot easier by leveraging technology.” – Rod Robinson, ConnXus CEO & Founder

Not only was there a need for a reliable diverse supplier database, but with over 14 million diverse-owned firms in the United States, the opportunity for business growth was endless. From day one, ConnXus cloud-based software was tailored to meet and surpass demanding and competitive marketplace expectations.

Case in point: In 2015, Proctor & Gamble (P&G) approached ConnXus with the idea of creating a virtual buyer-supplier matchmaking tool to foster connections between their prime suppliers and high-performing diverse suppliers. In less than four months’ time, ConnXus ran with the idea and engineered what we now tout as our premier strategic sourcing tool, ConnXSmart®. At the 2015 NMSDC business opportunity exchange, the tool facilitated 180 meetings between 68 P&G primes and diverse suppliers.

Listen, research, innovate, deliver, repeat.

  1. The entrepreneur does not ignore anything.

A prominent part of our culture at ConnXus is knowing when to pick up the slack during turbulent times and knowing when to appropriately stay in our own lanes. Strict, segmented responsibilities and hard-coded roles is not what got us to where we are today. Organic overlap is okay; it’s actually encouraged.

“Only 37% of technology startups are still in business after four years, and those businesses tend to be more in-tune with market demands, financial knowledge and a strong sense of direction than those who fail.”

  1. The company grows fast.

In the increasingly competitive supplier relationship management (SRM) software space, ConnXus has successfully scaled to an international reach, and we did so without reservations in six years’ time. To make sure we didn’t implode, we had to reach several crucial milestones:

  • In May of 2014 we closed on $1.7 million in seed-funding led by CincyTech USA
  • In August of 2015 we closed on $2.5 million in seed-funding led by Boulder-based Techstars ventures
  • In May of 2016 we struck gold, closing $5 million in a Series A funding round, also led by Techstars Ventures
  • We expanded our global registration portal and product capabilities to serve eight countries including China, India and Mexico

Rapid growth is a positive sign that the products are in-demand and the market is supportive and engaged.

  1. The team knows how to recover.

In the heat of change, a solidified team knows how to delegate tasks effectively, stay calm and carry on.  A strong team also embraces versatile work styles and takes ownership of its own weaknesses and strength to in order to maximize performance and executive the tasks at-hand.

“I knew from the minute I came on board as COO and co-owner of ConnXus in April of 2014,  that the existing software was not built on a sustainable foundation. By making the executive decision to rebuild the software from scratch, the business was able to grow and blossom into what it was meant to accomplish,” reflects Daryl Hammett. “It was tough, but we recovered, and we are flourishing because of the sacrifices and undivided dedication of the team.”

With change, a team becomes stronger. And with that, we move upward and onward into our seventh year of doing what we do best: Supplier Management Made Simple™ .

Change is inevitable, but a growth mindset is an option.

– ConnXus COO and Co-Owner, Daryl Hammett