Eric Pulier is an entrepreneur and innovator at heart. In addition to transforming some of the most revolutionary technology that we use today, Eric Pulier also helps other budding entrepreneurs to raise the funds necessary to bring their ideas to life. He has plenty of insights to share on the success of his own ideas and how to pursue your own passion in business.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I have always had a passion for technology. I quickly realized that the best ideas in the world are useless if you do not have a way to bring them to a large market. I started thinking through my ideas for new technology from the perspective of making them available to the largest number of people possible.
How do you make money?
As a venture capitalist, I am constantly searching for new ideas to invest in. I interview lots of forward thinkers and try to identify the ideas that I think have the potential to change the world. I have become skilled at reading people so that I can quickly discern which entrepreneurs are truly passionate about their ideas and are committed to putting in the long hours that it takes to become successful in the long-term.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Turning an initial profit was not difficult because I had invested a long time figuring out the logistics of my product and its launch. I soon realized that making payroll would become a struggle in my first company because I needed to be equally diligent with cash flow management from an operational side as I was in mentoring employees and improving my products.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I am a generally optimistic person and have always had faith in my ideas. However, managing the business side of my ventures has certainly kept me awake at night. I never doubted that everything would work out in the end, but there were plenty of discussions about how to survive leaner times. I think these struggles have pushed me as an entrepreneur and have helped me to develop the tenacity that it takes to survive the many peaks and pits of the tech industry.
How did you get your first customer?
As the founder of Digital Evolution, I had to market a bit differently in 1994 than what is standard for today. Word of mouth was crucial to growing my initial team and finding customers to serve in the tech field. I nurtured that company for four years before it was ultimately acquired. I credit much of my perseverance and positive outlook to the experiences I gained at such a young age in running that company. I also learned the importance of maintaining the highest standards for customer service because my word was my bond at that point. That is still a top priority in all of my business ventures today.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I think pay per click advertising is one of the most effective ways to target your desired audience and keep track of your success. It is crucial to monitor the return on your investment with all marketing strategies because it is far too easy to get caught up in the next marketing craze without knowing whether it is actually improving your company’s bottom line.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
It is always a challenge to decide which companies are right for my next investment, but I find the hunt incredibly rewarding. It takes time and resources to do the due diligence required in researching a new acquisition or investment. I am learning to delegate some of that responsibility to the next generation of leaders in my company, but I still remain intimately involved. I enjoy the process of mentoring new entrepreneurs very much.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I think my initial experiences of having to put my personal finances on the line to grow my first business makes me take everything that much more seriously. I am completely invested in every aspect of the process. I also do not cut corners in the process of developing new ideas.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Selling my first company was a major accomplishment for me. It was the first taste of success that solidified my passion in this field.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I think I am most excited about branching into the biotech industry a bit more. The research developments are incredible, and that industry has the potential to improve billions of lives.
What business books have inspired you?
I highly recommend “Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think” by Peter Diamond. While this book is not written specifically for the entrepreneur, it is an uplifting account of the way that innovation and technology will improve our society for years to come. It can be easy to get swept up in negative thinking if you spend too much time dwelling on grim stories from the news on a daily basis. Thinking about the future is a great way to stay positive and inspired.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
I just invested in an amazing espresso machine for my main office. My employees have loved it so far, and I think it is a nice way to get an extra boost after lunch to make the afternoon more productive.