Monday, December 18, 2017

Red Rocket's Best Startups of 2017

Posted By: George Deeb - 12/18/2017

Red Rocket gets introduced to hundreds of startups each year, in the normal course of doing business, or via our involvement with vari...

Red Rocket gets introduced to hundreds of startups each year, in the normal course of doing business, or via our involvement with various startup groups or events.  We wanted to honor the best of these startups that we met in 2017, in Red Rocket's 6th Annual "Best Startups of the Year".  This list is not intended to be an all-encompassing best startups list, as there are many additional great startups that we are not personally exposed to each year.  And, this list is not intended to be only for businesses that launched in 2017, it is open to startups of any age, that they or their advisors had some personal interaction with us in the last 12 months.  The business simply needed to have a good idea, good team or good traction, that caught our attention.  Congrats to you all!!

THE BEST STARTUPS OF 2017 (in alphabetical order):

Adzerk (CEO, James Avery) - B2B private ad servers

Archive Social (CEO, Anil Chawla) - B2B social media monitoring for legal compliance

Canopy (CEO, Hunt Davis) - B2C on-demand lawn care services

Cloud Factory (CEO, Mark Sears) - B2B cloud-based human workflow services

Feelgoodz (CEO, Mark Saad) - B2C comfortable flip flops & footwear

Filter Easy (CEO, Thad Tarkington) - B2C & B2B air filter replacement subscription service

Freight Farms (CEO, Brad McNamara) - B2B mobile farming containers & apps

Genetic Direction (CEO, Edwin Mayfield) - B2C diagnostic health testing based on your DNA

Its By U (CEO, Caroline Strzalka) - B2B DIY flower arranging subscriptions

Leesa (CEO, David Wolfe) - B2C mattress ecommerce

MATI Energy (CEO, Tatiana Birgisson) - B2B healthy energy drink

Open Angler (CEO, Alicia Aloe) - B2C fishing charter reservation platform

Option It (CEO, Rich Gilsdorf) - B2C sports event ticket options market

Pearachute (CEO, Desiree Vargas Wrigley) - B2B reservation platform for kids activities

Pendo (CEO, Todd Olson) - B2B product user experience analytics platform

Pet Wellbeing (CEO, Darcy Foster) - B2C natural supplements for pets

Phononic (CEO, Tony Atti) - B2B next-generation semiconductors for refrigeration

PocketChefs (CEO, Jason Brown) - B2C on-demand chefs to your home

Precision Hawk (CEO, Michael Chasen) - B2B corporate drone fleet management

Ravean (CEO, Bryce Fisher) - B2C heated jackets and gloves

Remedy (CEO, Jeremy Gabrysch) - B2C on-demand doctors to your home

Seal Innovation (CEO, Graham Snyder) - B2C IoT necklace for safe swimming

ShiftWizard (CEO, Joe Velk) - B2B scheduling platform for nurses

Spark451 (CFO, Ron Tadross) - B2B admissions marketing & management platform for universities

Spiffy (CEO, Scot Wingo) - B2C & B2B on-demand car washing service

Stealz (CEO, Jim Zidar) - B2B turning customers into brand ambassadors

Sunscreenr (CEO, David Cohen) - B2C sunblock protection visualizer

TransLoc (CEO, Doug Kaufman) - B2G transit data for municipal transportation agencies

Validic (CEO, Drew Schiller) - B2B digital health IoT platform

Volata Cycles (CEO, Marco Salvioli) - B2C smart bicycles

And, don't forget to check out the 2012 winners, 2013 winners2014 winners, 2015 winners and 2016 winners, many of whom continue to be doing great things.

Congratulations to you all!!  Keep up the good work.  

For future posts, please follow us at: @RedRocketVC

Friday, December 8, 2017

Too Many Meetings Suffocate Productivity and Morale

Posted By: George Deeb - 12/08/2017

Early stage companies have many demands on an employee's time. From getting the product built to marketing for new customers to ge...

Early stage companies have many demands on an employee's time. From getting the product built to marketing for new customers to getting the capital lined up, it is a never ending battle to fit in all that work in a limited amount of time.  But, what I often see is productivity gets squeezed by early stage entrepreneurs scheduling way too many meetings, which gets in the way of employees having enough time to do their actual jobs. And, when productivity slows, the company's bottom line suffers and employees start looking for the door in frustration. Let me explain further.

Read the rest of this post in Entrepreneur, which I guest authored this week.

For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Lesson #283: Marketing Roles and Compensation

Posted By: George Deeb - 12/07/2017

. As your company scales, marketing becomes a bigger and bigger driver of your success.  You will experience expansion in ea...


As your company scales, marketing becomes a bigger and bigger driver of your success.  You will experience expansion in each of your marketing team, tactics and budgets.  I recently read a great blog post by Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media Studios, who studied the key marketing roles and salary trends based on the reports of 67,736 individuals as reported through Glass Door and PayScale.  

The conclusion was marketing salaries are on the rise, as there appears to be a shortage of really good marketing talent in the market, that is best skilled to deal with this generation of marketing needs.  And, in my opinion, that specifically means finding marketers that are well-versed in omni-channel marketing combined with a data-first, marketing ROI driven mindset.  That often means people that are deep in data and analytics, more than the softer branding and creative skills (which are freely available in the market.)


Here is a summary of the key marketing roles inside the organization, in reverse order of seniority and experience.  

Marketing Coordinator.  Supports external teams through project support, program execution, collateral development, sales programs, as well as via ad hoc requests.  The average salary in 2017 is $50,291.

Marketing Associate.  Support online and offline marketing and advertising initiatives with the goal of expanding brand awareness within targeted, relevant audiences. The average salary in 2017 is $57,140.

Social Media Manager.  Engage with communities and clients through social media channels, with the goal of web traffic, lead generation and revenue. Create, execute and revise social media strategy and social media marketing blueprint. The average salary in 2017 is $48,285.

Content Strategist.  Works closely with interactive designers, visual designers, product and project managers to: gather business and technical requirements, analyze user and business needs, define user requirements, and inventory and analyze existing content.  The average salary in 2017 is $90,402.

Marketing Manager.  Manage brand messaging via marketing, advertising and promotional activities. Ensures relevant metrics are measured, benchmarks met, staff performance enhanced, and managed communities enriched through assigned goals and objectives.  The average salary in 2017 is $80,668.

Director of Marketing.  Demonstrate leadership and expertise in marketing. Be savvy in various forms of online and offline demand generation. Charged with leading a wide range of community experiences and becoming the brand voice.  The average salary in 2017 is $113,503.

Vice President of Marketing.  Responsible for determining and leading the strategic direction for organization’s marketing functions including positioning, brand awareness, driving demand generation and lead nurturing, as the head of the department managing the team.  The average salary in 2017 is $167,194.

If you want more-detailed job descriptions for each role above, please visit Andy's original blog post at this link.


What was interesting is how fast salaries are rising in the marketing department.  Overall, they were up 22.6% year-over-year.  Here is a summary of how they changed by role, with Content Strategist and Social Media Managers in the most demand.


Most entrepreneurs do not give marketing enough focus in their businesses.  This is really important stuff, as marketing drives leads which drives sales.  The better your marketing team, the higher odds of revenue success and growth you will have.  You won't be able to afford all of these people out of the gate, so maybe two people could be filling the roles of six to start.  But, as soon as you can afford to put full-time people in place, you should.

ADDENDUM (9/24/18):  I found this great updated marketing compensation chart for 2019 on  It includes a lot more roles than the above and updates for the most current year's data.  So, check it out.

For future posts, please follow me on Twitter at: @georgedeeb.  

Red Rocket is a featured contributor on entrepreneurship for many trusted business sites:

Copyright 2011- Red Rocket Partners, LLC