Keeping More of Your Equity As a Founder with KJ Royal

Hosted by Jason Atkins
President & Co-founder, Cake Equity
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In this episode of the Startup Equity Matters podcast, host Jason welcomes KJ Royal, VP of Sales of, an AI revenue scaler. KJ shares his journey of building and selling a company with his wife, emphasizing the importance of protecting equity for founders. The conversation delves into the significance of no-code technology, AI, and the impact on accelerating time to market and reducing development costs.

Here are three key takeaways from our conversation:

  1. KJ shared insights into the power of no-code and AI technology in accelerating product development and reducing costs for startups. By leveraging pre-built code stacks and drag-and-drop interfaces, founders can bring their ideas to market faster and more efficiently, saving time and resources.
  2. We delved into the significance of protecting equity in startups and how it can impact the success and growth of a company. KJ emphasized the value of bootstrapping, strategic fundraising, and empowering team members with equity to foster a culture of ownership and collaboration.
  3. KJ highlighted the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and prioritizing personal well-being. He shared his experience of working remotely from Tulum, Mexico, and emphasized the need for founders to take care of their physical, mental, and emotional health to drive success in their entrepreneurial journey.

Join Jason and KJ as they explore the intersection of equity, technology, and health in the startup ecosystem. Don't miss out on valuable insights and practical tips for founders and entrepreneurs looking to navigate the world of startups and scale their businesses effectively.

Listen to the full episode on the Startup Equity Matters now available on all major podcast platforms.


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Transcription to follow!

Jason Atkins: Hi everyone and welcome to today's Startup Equity Matters podcast that helps unpack equity related stories so we can get more value from our equity. Today, I have a really cool guest. I've just kicked out his bot and my bot, so it's just going to be the two of us. We were just joking about how we're going to be nice to the bots because they could be the overlords soon, so I made sure I didn't report them. I gave them a five-star rating for their bot work. Anyway, today is really cool. He built and sold a company with his wife, which is such an amazing thing to do, and now helps lead, an AI revenue scaler, and he's really passionate about no-code and AI and helping founders keep more of their equity, which is something we're totally behind here at the podcast. So welcome, KJ Royal.

KJ Royal: Thanks. Thanks for having me, Jason. Pleasure to be here. I'm a big fan of your guys and what you're doing at Cake Equity and a big fan of the podcast as well. So happy to be here and try to add as much value as possible. Thanks for having me.

Jason Atkins
: I'm really looking forward to this one, so thanks a lot for joining. Let's kick it off by talking a bit about what you're up to at the moment. sounds pretty cool.

KJ Royal: Yeah, it's super cool. That's what I'm up to right now. As you kind of mentioned, it's kind of been a quick journey. As Jason mentioned, I just got acquired by after being a white label partner for the last six to seven, eight months, met these guys. I was running my previous company called Sprintz, and we were a hybrid product and marketing agency for early-stage startups. So as Jason mentioned, my wife and I started off in business about three years ago when we met. Both of our experiences have been in startups. She had like 15 years of experience, was the CMO at multiple different startup organizations and naturally being the first marketing hire everywhere she worked, got really good at solving the internal marketing issues of early stage startups in terms of pitch decks and things of that nature, getting things off the ground from idea conception all the way to IPO. She's helped raise over a billion dollars in capital in her career. And so my experience has been with startups to a mentor and a couple big startup accelerators founders institute as well as tech stars. And when we set out, we just wanted to help companies be able to rapidly test iterate build. As quickly as possible, and for lack of a better term for you all that are in the startup community, it's like how quickly can we fail, basically. The failure rate is quite high, but we want to make sure that we're rapidly doing that testing, iterating, and being able to do that at a quick pace so we don't spend a bunch of money on something that the market doesn't necessarily want, and that happens quite a bit in tech. Through that journey, we obviously met our partner in RevScale and started white labeling a lot of products and services and had a lot of success. It made sense. I'm a big believer in all tides rising together. And so now, I've gotten acquired into the company and I joined the leadership team, as Jason mentioned, leading up a massive sales effort and we're in scale up mode as well. So, big time growth opportunities and we're helping people iterate quickly, but also implement AI technology into their system. We work with a lot of startup founders, helping them fundraise, but also work with growth stage companies, helping them grow their company, whether it's through sales opportunities or actually recruiting talented individuals to their staff as well.

Jason Atkins: Yeah, really cool, man. Love the story. RevScale AI seems like such a right time, right place company, and we're definitely going to dig into that more in a minute. But let's take a bit of a step back. You've touched on it a little bit, but how did you get into startups and how did it all start for you?

KJ Royal: Yeah, it's really wild for me. I'm a non-technical founder. I don't necessarily come from a background of tech. I'm originally from metro Detroit. My family was big in the auto industry, so a lot of people that come from that area, when you grow up there, most of the folks that you know, if they don't work for the big three, which is Ford, GM, and Chrysler, they either work for a supplier, so I was very much in that group. Like I said, I went to school for business, but my entrepreneurial journey, I think, is different for everybody. During COVID, the first company that I worked for post-college was actually kind of a startup, not in the sense of like a tech startup, but we were in staffing and recruiting. So I was doing outside sales there and actually got let go during COVID. But during that time, I met who became one of my first mentors in business who was actually running a growth agency that was working with a lot of startup founders at the time, and that's where I really started to learn a lot about building startups and startup culture and how to build iteratively. So I kind of just fell in love with it from there. That started the journey, like six or seven years ago, and everything that kind of happened was a step ladder from there. It helped that agency grow. During that time, that's when I met my wife, Chelsea, and I kind of spoke previously about her experience, but we kind of aligned on everything that we wanted to do in terms of building companies and stuff. I think one of these things about working with startups is like, I've tried to–I've thought about pivoting away from it. And I'm like, “Oh, startups are just so frustrating.” But I think, you know, it's just one of those things, man, like when you're a builder, you always want to be on the cutting edge of what's next and innovation, and it's exciting. It's something to wake up to every day and be really, really excited about. So I think over the last six or seven years, I'm a big proponent, especially now with how things are changing, you don't have to be a technical founder necessarily, or you don't need to be a coder or developer, if you have a skill set and you understand business, you can build a team around you and also get up to speed a lot quicker if you're willing to learn. So I'm a big fan of non-technical founders and that's really my background and past, so I kind of say that for everyone out there listening like if you want to get into the space or get into tech or the startup world, you don't necessarily have to, you know, have had family members that have been to it or, you know, a lot of times people think it's like a proximity thing, but I didn't grow up in New York City or Silicon Valley or anything like that. So very, very much non-traditional.

Jason Atkins: Yeah, I love that, man. I'm a non-technical founder as well. I managed to navigate being a first-time founder by having a technical co-founder. My co-founder, Kim, has been doing product and engineering for decades, and that was the way I got through it. There is still a ton of learning that you need to do because you have to have at least some idea as a founder of a tech company. It's never been easier than it is today because of the progress of the way technology is built. I'm not sure exactly who said it, but I think it's been said many times now that there was a period where you build any sort of software and you could be successful because there kind of wasn't any, and so it was a huge step change. Then it got to be, well, there's lots of people building software, now you have to build products. There was that 10-year period, probably in the early 2000s, 10, 15, early, maybe up to 2015, 2019, where I was like, “We're building a product and everyone's like, wow, this thing works out of the box.” And now it's kind of like, hey, anyone can really build a product. How are you going to get it to market? How are you going to get it in people's hands? So we've been progressing down that path for some time. And now, we have AI that can write software pretty well by the looks of it. So let's talk a little bit about no-code. I know you're quite passionate about no code. You spend quite a bit of time in that space. I think there's going to be listeners that kind of have heard of it, but have never actually used it. So can we talk a little bit about what it is and why it's helpful?

KJ Royal: Yeah, I think low-code, no-code is a methodology of building technology that's gained a lot of popularity over the last five to six years. And like Jason mentioned, with the advent of AI and these AI and training models just getting smarter and smarter, what you're basically able to do, which is a big help for non-technical founders out there like Jason and myself, is work with teams or work with different platforms in order to build technology faster and more iteratively. It's usually quicker. Because traditionally, you have to have an entire process, which I'm very much obsessed with and haven't found the right solution. But the hardest thing, I think, for people when they go to build technology is actually scoping the project, getting it out of their head, what their idea is, and to paper and formalizing what it is that we actually need to build. I think people struggle with that. 100%.

Jason Atkins: Everybody just talked about that yesterday. I have experience with that as well. You're in the real world kind of saying, “Hey, I've got this problem and this is how I see the solution.” And then, if you just say that straight to an engineer, like you could literally get anything built. I'm not trying to criticize engineers, like there needs to be proper information sharing with some real structure to get that thing done.

KJ Royal: Yeah, that is because as founders, we're all visionaries, right? Like, we have this great vision of where our product is going to be in 10 and 20 years, and the reality of it is you always start with a product that's very different from where it's going to become. But one of the things that we have been doing on our agency side, and I still work on quite a few of these projects is now with AI, when we're going to scope and onboard clients, we're hopping on a call like this and just asking the right questions and the AIs in the background reporting and actually starting to do a lot of the prescope, pre-work. It's crazy because, as Jason mentioned, the robots are taking over. They kind of are because that used to be a very tedious process in the past, having conversations, writing it down. Everyone has a different methodology in terms of things like “Okay, what's our first, second, or third step? Now, we take AI and it can go ahead and scan the entire internet and like what's the best way to actually build a product and so on. When we have these conversations with people, we can start to identify timeline technology requirements. We're actually even producing SRS documents for folks that as you know if you've ever built technology before, that's something that can save you when you go to trademark. It can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars, you know, being in front of a lawyer if you already have that documentation. The cool thing about AI and local no-code is we're able to take code stacks that have already been pre-built. I always use the analogy of Chipotle, for example. Most people know what Chipotle is. When you go to Chipotle, their process and why they've become such a successful company is as simple. They have, you know, maybe 10 different items. You can get a taco, you can get a quesadilla, you can get a burrito, but the ingredients of what goes in it and how you craft that offering are all the same. We think of technology in that way. And just like Jason said, I'm not a technological builder myself, but I do understand the ease of use and the user experience and what we've done with our tech team is they've built so many different code stacks that with low-code and no-code, when someone comes to us to build, very rarely do we start from scratch. It's like, it usually fits into one category and we're able to basically assemble those together. So think about going to Chipotle and building technology. I need this feature, this feature, and this feature. And then it goes back to our development team and they seamlessly tie those together. So now, it's quicker and it's more efficient. It's something that we can, as an MVP per se, get into market and start to test and get user feedback and see if we can acquire customers rather than spending, you know, all this time and effort to try to build something from scratch that's very, very, very, very much expensive and can sink your company. A lot of times, I've seen it just happen to too many founders where they have a good idea, they're bright, but they spend all their money on tech and don't kind of skip the phase of like really doing that great market test and understanding the value. We're helping people get in the market a lot quicker and I think the local no-code thing allows you to do that because once the pre-built stacks, but then to make it even a little bit easier for people to understand, drag and drop. I think the easiest contextual use case for people to understand is when you go to a web builder now, and it's like, yeah, you're not a web designer, but with most web builds that are built with some type of low-code, no-code, you can go on and be not a web designer whatsoever, non-technical, and be able to create a website in a couple hours, whereas traditionally, even myself, I wouldn't even have tried probably in the past because I don't know what the heck I'm doing. This is huge, I have to learn this platform. It's a big learning curve. So yeah, it's pretty much for apps.

Jason Atkins: So now, it's not just a website. It's like, hey, whatever software you want to build, like 80, 20, all those pieces, someone's already built it all, and you can just drag and drop it into your system. Then obviously, you gotta put your own overlay of all your messaging and business logic and the language specific to your case. Look, it's not going to be the fully fledged app that's going to take you to a billion users, but it's going to get you over those first hurdles in a much more simple and affordable way. Let's talk a bit about the cost. What cost savings, cost differential are we seeing now with no-code versus old-school builds?

KJ Royal: Man, I think we're seeing in some scenarios hundreds of thousands of dollars in difference. I've seen people get an MVP in the market for, let's say, $50,000 going low-code, no-code, whereas traditionally that build would be $300,000, $400,000. I call them kind of like rescue projects sometimes when people do. They're already like $250,000 in and then you meet them and you're like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Yes, those are always interesting because you feel for them. I understand it because we all get emotionally attached to our ideas, so it's very hard to take something that's been built in correctly, especially in technology and save it. You're almost always better just starting from scratch, and when you've spent that much time and money and effort into something, it's really difficult to hear, but usually, a lot of those projects that we work with were able to get them because they've already spent 250,000 but they haven't given up but it's like okay, you guys can get me something in the market. Everything that we've ever done has always been under $100,000, just depending on the features and the amount of builds. But we're doing clickable dynamic prototypes and getting those in the market for less than $25,000 and helping people with their fund raise. So then it's like, “OK, let's build a prototype first,” see if we can get this in front of some investors to raise the capital to even build the MVP. And that's been highly, highly successful. I would always advise people, like I said, to try to build as iteratively as possible. Get some of the concept. Investors don't expect you to have a full-fledged product. They never do. No, no. They just expect you to have a concept.

Jason Atkins: That's it. Will people buy it? Are they engaging with it? Are you getting some good feedback? That's like step one. You don't need to have the full product. That's it. It's sort of a seed stage. Yeah, really cool. And like, why this is super important is because when you're raising capital, you don't want to waste it, and it's easy to waste it. If you're a non-technical founder, particularly, or if you're a technical founder, you probably want to build things way too much. Sort of build, build, build, build, build, and if you're a non-technical founder, you don't know what to build, you don't know what to ask for, it's really easy to get something totally different than what you asked for. So the reason we're talking about this is if you're going to use your own money in the beginning, you don't want to run out, you don't want to waste it. If you're going to raise a bit of money again, like if you waste that first angel round, it's going to be really hard to get that next bit of funding, you're going to hit the wall, you're going to run ways, it's going to run out. So what we're talking about here is ways to get your vision happening faster, keep your mission on track, save your capital, keep you hitting your milestones, which protects your equity, right? So let's tie that all back in. Thank you heaps, KJ. So no-code and AI, yeah, empowering entrepreneurs, particularly non-technical entrepreneurs to create great apps without coding knowledge. Love that. Accelerating your time to market, reducing development cost, maintaining full control over the project, and then a bit of research we did. Gartner report came out in 2021. 60% of custom apps built will be outside the IT department. And by 2025, 70% of new apps developed by organizations are predicted to use no-code or low-code, so this is pretty serious stuff. Definitely check it out for what you're building. Now, one thing I wanted to get into next is like your equity journey, because, you know, you build a company. I think you chose to bootstrap. We'll dig into that. You got an exit, which is wonderful. And you're pretty passionate about helping founders learn how to protect their equity. I'm very passionate about that as well. I know you do tons of mentoring at really top platforms like Techstars and Founder Institute, same as me. So let's talk about how to protect your equity and use some personal examples along the way. So for what you can share, tell us a bit about your equity journey. Did you get funding with Sprints and did you bootstrap and how did that all go? No need to share numbers and stuff, of course, no pressure, but what can we share with people about that?

KJ Royal: Yeah, I think my journey is shared between myself and also lean on my wife's experience quite a bit because she was a part of multiple different startup opportunities and had those exact situations like Jason and I mentioned where you don't, really early on in your career, understand the power of equity and like how it's actually distributed and what are the terms and conditions around it. I think very much when we built our company, we had the, for lack of a better term, like the battle scars of like those wars, you know, those startup war stories that everyone has, where like that one failed before I got to the end of the vesting period, or I didn't take equity there when I wish I should have or just a different scenario. So we always have gotten to a point where we were going to boot like from the very beginning like I'm a big believer in bootstrap as long as possible. I think you want to keep as much of your equity, naturally, when you get into the cycle of having a capital raise. I've seen so many people where raising capital becomes like their company instead of them actually building a company.

Jason Atkins: Right. But it has felt like that to me many times on the Cake journey, man. Oh, my goodness. The first couple of rounds when you don't know anyone and you've got no track record and you're out there trying to raise five hundred k. That's pretty gnarly if you're not from the Ivy League in the Valley. It's crazy.

KJ Royal: It is, it is. It just gets into where you're–it's cyclical. You just think, “Oh, I got to go raise the next round and then the next round, the next round, but–

Jason Atkins: Well, you leave it to light and then you're rising and you're running out of money and then your stress levels are just insane.

KJ Royal: Yeah. Then it gets you away from why we are all entrepreneurs and visionaries in the first place, which is you identified a problem and you want to solve that problem. So to bring in my experience, we bootstrapped. Obviously, we're able to get to an exit. I don't think there is a right or wrong way. I think just having a plan is very, very important. I know the startup world is filled with a lot of ‘it's not relative or it is relative’. It's not always absolute. There's a lot of relativities and a lot of it is just problem solving and waking up and putting out the fires on a constant day-to-day basis just depending on what's in front of you, but I would definitely advise people to bootstrap as long as possible. There are some ways that you can get creative about that so you're not getting yourself in a situation where you feel like the investors in your company are–like Jason mentioned, I'm a big proponent of AI. Why AI is getting to the point where it can replace a lot of–I don't think we'll ever completely raise or replace humans because humans naturally are the ones who train AI; and anyone that's like afraid of the technology or thinking that the technology is going to take over our entire world, I don't believe that. The reason being is because as humans, the one thing that we have, whether we can mimic our behavior, but remember, the AI is mimicking us. And what makes us special is our ingenuity and we're like no other life species in the entire world. So when it comes to AI, you are able to just be very strategic and where you might have had to give up equity in the past, let's say to a co-founder, or an investor that has a network of other investors that they're going to bring in, or just think of all the different scenarios. There's usually some type of contextual use case in AI now that can replace that and give you the same result, and then you keep your equity. And I just think understanding really, too, like “what is my exit strategy and how big of a company am I really trying to build?” Because talking with Jason, that's something I said, I was like, “I wasn't necessarily thinking my company was going to be the next Apple or anything.” And you can have a nice exit that can put you in a really good financial position moving forward. Not necessarily have to go the VC path, because with that, it's a lot of pressure. It's a lot of expectations. You don't find a proper market fit. Stuff doesn't happen.

Jason Atkins: You're out of your company. You can go down the venture path, pound away for five years, get diluted, sell your company for $25 million and end up with $2 million. Or you can bootstrap, build a cool company, get two million revenue, sell it for two or three million. So there's definitely more than one way to skin the cat. And of course, we want to have the biggest impact with Canada and anything wrong with venture-backed businesses. And we need big businesses, we need innovation, we need it at scale. And that's fine, too, but it is kind of cool to think through what those options are, and what's right for your business. Some people try and they have a business that can be a really great business that turns over 2 or 5 million and might be worth 5 or 10 million or whatever, but they try and turn it into a venture-scalable business and they smash themselves against the rocks to kind of use a more boating analogy, a bit of a weird one, but you know what I mean? Like you're just pounding yourself and you're not going to get anywhere because your business is like this and you try to get it over here. So understanding your business and your market and your capability and where it's going, I think is super important. And then you retain a lot of your equity, you can still have a really meaningful outcome. How do you see team equity? You know, we're big on employee equity here, team equity,  getting everybody involved. I don't know if you had it at sprints, but I didn't get to ask you about that. I don't know how that was set up. It's cool if you didn't, no dramas. But, did you manage to get a bit of team equity in place there and hopefully get some happening at

KJ Royal: Yeah. I'm a big Cake fan and was using Cake at Sprints and then at Revscale, we're actually using Cake as well. So, it obviously feels like a shameless plug but if you guys are in the startup ecosystem, Cake is an amazing platform, thank you. You don't need to be a finance major or a technology expert in order to use it. Seamless experience, great user interface. But yeah, I'm a big proponent of giving everyone a piece of the pie and actually having them understand that because I think people, naturally as human beings, if we get to a ground level, we all want to be a part of something. Right. SoI think some of the best companies in the world are employee-led. And when they're employee-led, it's not just saying, hey, you know, putting that, slapping that on a sign. It's like they're giving people actual ownership in the company. I'll give you an example. My wife is from North Dakota, Fargo actually. Jason, you probably might not even know where that is on the map.

Jason Atkins: I know there's a famous show called Fargo. That's about it.

KJ Royal: Yeah, that's it. So for those of you that know that region of the world, there's this company there and it's called Shields and they're like massive outdoor and sports store. So you basically can go there with your kids and get all their sporting good equipment and they have clothes and just everything. But the reason I bring them up is they've been growing exponentially now. And they've just opened up some locations where I usually spend most of my time in DFW. But the story here is they are amazing, amazing, amazing. It's because they treat their employees so well. It's stock options. Everyone feels taken care of. They feel accountable. They feel like a team member that's actually adding value. So when you go there, think of it, you think you treat your own home differently than you would like a public place, but if you all have equity, then you feel like it is your home, so I'm a big believer and I love what Cake is doing to allow that to be able to give out equity easier but also have people understand what their equity means in terms of the agreements. Like I said, I'm a big believer in that I think all tides rise together and that we can be community-led or employee-led. Then, I'm also a big believer, too. I think equity can back that. Instead of you just saying how your company is, you're actually putting the proof in the pudding behind what you're saying. But the great thing about it is people will brag about your company and the experience that they have working there. And you much rather have that type of experience than people being “I did all this work yet I was underpaid.” I didn't get any value, especially because we all know no one can build a company by themselves. It takes a team. And then the other thing that you guys are doing that I love is the globe now. It’s a small world where we live in a very massive world in terms of space, and if you're in an international country, it's meters, it's feet in the United States, different and weird, butI wish you'd come like the rest of us with those measurements, but it's okay. I know, we, for whatever reason, have to be different about everything. Even still, we’re doing daylight saving time and the rest of the world got hip and stopped doing that too. But I say that to mean like we're all interconnected. So the fact that you even can grant equity to folks in other regions of the world is like super exciting because even the company I'm working with, RevScale, right now we have international devs that are located all over the world that are getting equity into the company and actually feeling a part of the larger picture, right? And so, yeah, I'm a big believer in that.

Jason Atkins: Yeah, I love that, man. I think companies that do equity well, exactly as you said, they communicate really well. It's really part of the culture and everybody feels part of it. And then every single day, you get cultural benefits. We hear it time and time again, how meaningful it is. And quite often, funnily enough, people are so cool. When they're safe, there's so much more giving. And if you ask someone, hey, how do you feel about your equity? And they're like, look, I'm really happy I have it and I'm part of it, but I want to help my friends have equity, my teammate. And so there's this incredible camaraderie that comes from it. So, motivating, engaging, retaining teams sets you apart, so I'm so glad to hear the way you describe that. That's super, super cool. I'm going to take us a bit into the current day, and let's talk about RevScale. When we caught up previously, I was pretty blown away by what's going on there. You've been at it for a while, and it's such a right place, right time. Quite a few really switched on people in this space in the same company, like all rowing in the same direction, so I'm pretty excited for you. Yeah. Talk us through a bit about what's happening for 2024 for you guys?

KJ Royal: Yeah, RevScale is in a massive growth phase right now. The company was founded in 2019. Our founder is a multiple time SaaS founder. I think this is like his fourth or fifth company, so he's had some successful exits in his past as well and bootstrapped the company. He's a big believer in bootstrap, too. So it's like, you don't do anything unless you can account for it on the back end of the numbers, which is great. We just raised our first outside institutional round, so we have some pretty heavy hitters that have invested, including the CEO of Ally Bank, so it's been really, really exciting. Yeah, we're really, really excited. We're at another fundraiser right now. It's been awesome because I'm a big believer in revenue and acquiring customers through it. It's cool because our product helps you acquire customers, but we're also a company that is rapidly growing. So, naturally working, I use all the software internally for my own process and I see the results. So naturally, when I go to talk to other people about it, it's very seamless because I'm using the software myself, and usually, the software is how we connect, so when I show them, they're like, “Hey, how did you know to reach out to me?” I'm like, “oh, here it is.” And then they kind of see our conversation. So this year, we're, like I said, in a rapid growth phase. We have a bunch of exciting partnerships coming up and just trying to drive as much revenue as possible. We're hiring and the team is growing and putting ourselves in a position to one, extend our runway. But it looks like we have the opportunity to get to our goals in terms of income and revenue, revenue creation, which obviously are the big metrics that everyone wants to see but more importantly, just growth overall–adding more employees and employee benefits.

Jason Atkins: Pretty much every sector outside of AI is talking about efficiency and unit economics and AI businesses are like, no man, we are going for it, so it's exciting to see when everything comes together in a sector. The energy that comes from that and the support and all the best people kind of flood in and you know, the race is on. It's great. The race is faster than ever, man, because we've got more tools than ever. You're using the tools that are causing the race to be faster. So it's kind of like a super meta situation. So we've got global listeners. Obviously, we're most prevalent in the US and Australia, but we've got global listeners. What countries are you kind of working in? Where's your focus at the moment? How's it all going from a go-to-market perspective when it comes to regions?

KJ Royal: Yeah, so we work, honestly all over the world. We obviously are United States based in our offices in Boca Raton. For those of you that don't know a lot about the US. That is about 3035 minutes north of Miami Fort Lauderdale so South Florida. But our team is remote–we're all over the world, we're actually bringing on people that are helping our go-to market and some other regions of the world. We just brought on a gentleman that is like really really big in the startup community and Israel actually, and they have a huge startup community out there. Yeah, huge. So it's really exciting to see. That's what makes me so excited about being in the startup ecosystem and being with a company that's growing like this. It's really a great fit for anybody in the startup ecosystem, or any companies in general. It just doesn't have to be people that are in the States, so we work with people all over the world and I've been through this experience. It's been really cool for me because I've been seeing people adopt the product, even outside of the traditional markets in the US. When you think about startups in the US, you think Silicon Valley, New York, some of the more recent ones have been like Austin, Texas, and then Miami has a pretty big startup ecosystem out there, like Denver and Colorado. Boulder with Techstars being out there, but I think it's just growing, man. And that's a super cool thing. Not only intercontinental within the United States, but then international as well with some of our other opportunities and some other big startup hubs.

Jason Atkins: Sweet. Yeah, good to hear. Good to hear global. For all people listening, or if people have friends who have businesses that are looking to scale, what type of businesses should be reaching out to catch up with RevScale?

KJ Royal: Yeah, the amazing thing is I know when people say that they're for everybody, you aren't for anyone, which I'm a firm believer in, but I really truly mean this when I talk about RevScale, depending on our products, we were really set and uniquely positioned to help any company that's in a growth stage, but we can be through the life cycles of a company. So I know a lot of startup founders listen to this podcast. We're a really great fit. We have a product called Raise that actually helps connect you with investors that are in the market based on buyer intent signals. So think of it as walking into a room of 100 investors at the next startup event and 50 of them have a halo over their head that says, hey, founder, I actually really want to talk to you about you and your company, which is amazing. And we've been having a lot of success with founders giving back to the startup ecosystem there.

Jason Atkins: I'm excited about that one. Everybody check that out. I'm going to be digging into this myself. I'm pretty sure at Cake, we're going to be getting a partnership on this because if we can help speed up the capital raising process, if we can help founders have less meetings but get better funding, shorten up that capital raising cycle so they can protect their equity, get better investors, spend more time innovating and building great companies, all for that. So we're definitely going to be chatting more about that one.

KJ Royal: Yeah, I'm very, very excited. I think it just makes a lot of sense for Cake and RevScale, and the people that we work with. But then, also we work with a lot of growth stage companies and then, honestly, my days have been spent speaking to a lot of different people because we're such a good fit. We've been gaining rapid traction with franchise development opportunities and that's more like on a small business and growth stage. Because our sales product allows you to seamlessly build relationships at scale through the AI basically being your assistant mimicking your behaviors on multiple different platforms and driving meetings to you and people we are reaching out to. We have a massive data lake, as well as buyer signals that they've put out. So we're reaching out to people that have expressed interest and actually want to speak with you. So, yeah, we're pretty much a fit for any stage, but mainly for the listeners of this podcast. If you're a founder and you're trying to raise money, that RevSkill Raise product is great. But then we like to stay with you. I think our average lifetime customer value is higher than some other SaaS platforms because we really do believe in partnership. And so if you go on to Raise and then you raise a bunch of money, you work with our team, you work with the Cake team. Now it's like, hey, I need to grow. you can take your raised seat and then contextually change that outreach to people that are actually sales targets for your company. And then obviously you go into that growth mode and you're still using RevScale to great success. We've had a lot of those use cases lately.

Jason Atkins: Awesome, man. Thanks for sharing. Seems like a fantastic product for startups and growth companies. So keep up the good work. I'm looking forward to learning more. So to wrap things up, we have our Creative Healthy Lifestyle corner. I don't know if I mentioned this when we chatted, but anyway, here we go. So we're big on health at Cake. We think humans can't really bring their best energy and have a massive impact in the world if their health is suffering. And it's built into kind of everything we do at Cake. And we try and bring that to the community. So how do you tackle this in your life, in Sprints, in RevScale? You can sort of answer this any way you like, but how do you tackle health for yourself, for your businesses, and how do you see it as a platform for success, I guess, and innovation?

KJ Royal: Yeah, I think health is super important. I have a shared mission. I think your health is like number one overall priority over anything you can't build, because in order to build successful businesses, it is everything you have to be psychologically, physically, spiritually, emotionally, everything has to be. Yeah, and it's cyclical, man. So one of the things I was talking to Jason about is I'm actually in Tulum, Mexico. For those of you that have not been here. I love that.

Jason Atkins: People think it's all grind, grind, grind, but you got to have the balance, man. You're going to have the good, you're going to have the downtime, you're going to get your energy up and then you can deliver.

KJ Royal: Yeah, that's it. And this is one of the reasons why I'm here is one of the most magical places I've ever been. I'm here with my family. We are big believers in remote work culture, you know, balance. I'm up and working, you know, sometimes when other people probably aren't. But, you know, I also if it's 11 o'clock during the day when you think you should be working, but if I'm stressed at the time, then I'll just go outside. Right. We have the beach here. We have the cenotes. There's a lot of retreats here, like yoga, meditation, alternative medicines. I'm big into just prioritizing your health. And I think when you're healthy, everything else comes about. So just get outside, take time to drink a lot of water, and breathe. And then yeah, whatever makes you happy. Yeah, whatever makes you happy. I think everyone is a little bit different, and we all have different interests and stuff, but I don't think success has to come at the cost of your personal health, because I've just seen it overall too many times. People drive themselves into the ground and then they're too sick to even, they might get to where they want to get to, but they're too sick to even enjoy it, right?

Jason Atkins: Health is success. That's the whole point. If you have good health, you have success and everything else is a bonus. So if you're going to work yourself into the ground and sacrifice your health, you're literally mildly insane. In my opinion, like you've got your life totally upside down. So get out of the rat race. Don't kill yourself to make other people money. Get your health in check. Get your mind, body, spirit in check. Get those smiles in the dark. Get out in nature and build something meaningful. So that's a great way to finish, KJ. Can't wait to see you over there in the US or hopefully in Tulum maybe. I haven't been yet, so that would be super dope. Not to invite myself to your place or anything, but it's on my bucket list. So maybe one day, we'll get to hang out there. But look, thanks so much for sharing. Great story, bootstrap, exit, crazy cool company. Lots of great lessons in there for everyone about how to build tech and protect your equity, create real value. So thanks, man

KJ Royal: Hey, it's been a pleasure. Thanks for having us. It's been really, really good and really, really enlightening. Like I said, I'm a big fan of your guys in this podcast. I tried to add a lot of value to everyone out there. I'm available. You can hit me up on LinkedIn, KJ Royal. If you want to learn more about RevScale and our offerings, or just, you know, talk and chat about startup culture and health and stuff, too. I need to get out there to Australia where Jason's at because it sounds freaking amazing. I'm a big, big fan of an artist called Fisher. I think he's from the Gold Coast.

Jason Atkins: Oh man, he's playing a gig down here. I think next month or the month after on the beach. It's like right by some of the world's best surf breaks, Snapper Rocks in Kirra. He's playing on the beach there. It's going to be dope. I've got tickets, actually. Oh, let's go. I'm too old for this, but it's going to be so fun.

KJ Royal: That's sick. That's awesome, man. Yeah. So like you said, I'm a big believer, man. Life is too short. Don't drown yourself into the ground. Another thing I didn't mention is the health thing, like don't compare yourself to others. Your journey is your journey. It happens at a different time for different people. And I think we get in a space of just trying to compare ourselves. So like Jason said, man, get outside and build your company, be a sponge, learn as much as possible and have fun while you're doing it. So like I said, thanks for having me, man. That's amazing.

Jason Atkins: Really appreciate it.

KJ Royal: See you, everyone. All right. Have a good one.

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