“There are few things that are analogous to the intensity of a high-growth technology startup,” says Patrick Bosworth, co-founder and CEO of Duetto. Even though his company launched in early 2012, it’s much older than that in startup years. “What has been remarkable has been that every 6 months my job is totally different because the challenges of the company have changed completely.”
He adds that he and co-founders Marco Benvenuti and Craig Weissman went from being focused on scraping together the first round of capital and recruiting early employees to developing version 1.0 of the product and landing their first customer in a very short period of time. But moving a company from launch mode to growth mode is a test for any startup and it challenged Team Duetto in ways they hadn’t anticipated.
The skill set required to continually refine the company’s business model and grow on pace with the rate of new customers is notably different than the launch mode skill set. It’s more about adapting and persevering than grinding it out. Bosworth says that he received a lot of help dealing with the company’s growing pains from Lee Pillsbury. Thayer Ventures was one of Duetto’s angel investors in early 2012 and Pillsbury took such an interest in the company that he made a personal investment in it and joined the Duetto board at the end of the year. Bosworth says that he touches base with Pillsbury at least once a week.
“He has helped me manage the transition from being more of an individual contributor to being comfortable being a CEO,” says Bosworth, adding that Pillsbury has been a mentor to him. “Having somebody like Lee who has been there done that through the cycles is always a calming influence and helps you to refocus on what is important.” He says Pillsbury has a way of challenging him—and even vehemently disagreeing with him—in a way that moves toward achieving the best outcome, rather than being right.
Team Duetto’s adept moves are paying off. Like other companies in this space, Duetto invests a lot of resources into educating the lodging industry on the deeper complexities of revenue management. The message has started to sink in with hoteliers, who are moving beyond Excel spreadsheets and using cloud-based tools to forecast room revenue. The company’s current customer list includes nearly 1,000 hotels across more than 50 countries.
Duetto closed its fourth round of funding ($30 million) on July 31 of this year, bringing the company’s total funds raised to $58.2 million. “The capital markets have been as good as they have ever been in history,” says Bosworth. “We have a big war chest and no immediate needs to go out to the capital markets.” He adds that he doesn’t think Duetto will need to raise any more capital.
“Being a private company not needing to raise money is a nice place to be,” says Bosworth. “We aren’t in a hurry—we don’t have to be. With our growth rate we will have to execute a lot, and the future will take care of itself if we do a good job for our customers.”