A major milestone for Churn FM and an exciting investment announcement - Special guest: Panos Papadopoulos (Marathon VC)

Panos Papadopoulos




Marathon VC
Panos Papadopoulos
Panos Papadopoulos

Episode Summary

Today on the show we have an extremely exciting announcement to make and I am joined by a special guest, Panos Papadopoulos, partner at Marathon Venture Capital.

In this episode, we talked about what Panos misses the most about being an entrepreneur having made his move into venture capital.

We also discussed why every VP or C Level of a company should spend time on support and dove into why communication and alignment within a team is critical when it comes to combating churn and increasing retention. 

We then discussed why Panos and team have decided to invest in a new startup I’m launching called Avrio. I’m extremely excited to share the news with you first on Churn FM as for those that don’t know, I started the show to build an audience before building a product, and after 2 years and 120+ episodes later, today is the day we’re launching. If you’re eager to find out what we’re building you can jump straight to the announcement at 25:00 minutes in.

Mentioned Resources



What Panos misses the most about being an entrepreneur having made his move into venture capital. 00:02:45
How BugSense’s engineering team lost touch with customers after their acquisition by Splunk. 00:04:05
Why every VP or C Level of a company should spend time on support. 00:09:30
Why communication and alignment within a team is critical when it comes to combating churn and increasing retention. 00:16:06
What is Avrio, and how and why Andrew decided to build it.. 00:27:22
Why Panos and Marathon Ventures Capital decided to invest in Avrio. 00:29:20


Hey, it's Andrew. And today on the show, I have an extremely exciting announcement to make. And I'm joined by a special guest Panos Papadopoulos partner at Marathon Venture Capital. In this episode, we talked about what Panos misses the most about being an entrepreneur. Having made his move into venture capital.

We also discussed why every VP or C level of a company should spend time and support and dove into why communication alignment within a team is critical when it comes to combating churn and increasing retention. We then discussed why Panos and team have decided to invest in a new startup I'm launching called Avrio.

I'm extremely excited to share the news with you first on Churn FM. As for those that don't know, I started the show to build an audience before building a product and after two years and 120 plus episodes later, today's the day we're launching. If you're eager  to find out what we building, you can jump straight to the announcement at 25 minutes.

Also, if you'd like to join us in the journey, we've kept a small window and allocation available for Churn FM , listeners who would like to participate in the round. So if what we're building excites you, and you want to [00:01:00] learn more, I want to hear from you as always and more. So today I'm excited to hear what you think of this episode.

And if you have any feedback, I would love to hear from you. You can email me directly on Andrew at churned RFM. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and enjoy the episode.

Andrew Michael: Hey, Panos. Welcome to the show. 

Hey Andrew, it's great to be here.

It's a pleasure for the listeners. Panos is a partner at marathon venture capital, helping ambitious founders build world-class companies. Uh, Panos started his career as a software engineer and went on to co-found stay now. He then moved from Greece to Palo Alto and served as the VP of engineering at game Yola before founding his own company again, called bug sense.

Uh, he then went and built up bucks ends to successful exit to Splunk where he served as their director of product management. It was then he started angel investing and Panos is an advisor and board member at several startups. So my first question for your Panos, do you miss it? Now that you're on the investor side full time.

Do you miss being on the other side?

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:02:45] Yes, I do. And I have talked a lot about it, you know,  you're missing the dopamine effect. Yeah. Like building something and realizing, and seeing, you know, how users are interacting the same day and closing the loop so fast. And then they're acting, uh, it was one of the best [00:03:00] drugs.

And unfortunately, you know, that's something, uh, that you're very detached from when you do venture capital, where the cycles are very long. Uh, and you never really know if something works, uh, after, because you have to wait for a few years to see how things are punning 

Andrew Michael: [00:03:13] out. 

And you're not seeing those immediate effects and like your business more on the macro, you need to see those big impacts rather than the small, like day to day things of like the smaller ones.

Yeah. Yes. You have to 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:03:24] grow a lot of patients for sure. Uh, so I think, you know, that's something you have to do a bit later in your life. Maybe you have to be a little bit detached from having to wait for something to happen very fast. Yeah. So I think, you know, it's kind of a maturity phase, right? Uh, otherwise if you haven't developed like the skill, uh, to wait and be based in and be strategic, uh, that's not definitely the right game for someone.

Yeah, absolutely. 

Andrew Michael: [00:03:50] What would you say is the thing that you miss the most, uh, over and above sort of the dopamine effect of being on the other side, 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:03:58] as I said, the thing, you know, it's, it's [00:04:00] all the user interaction more than anything, more than revenue, more than that. Presenting an events or whatsoever, uh, the fact that you can get something out of the door immediately get feedback and see it being used and see people care about it.

And eventually I think, you know, people really care when they have very harsh critic. Like on support. It means that they care. I think that it was a time when, you know, there were some users of boxes back in the day, boxes was a developer tool. Uh, back in 2011, it was a very different market. So boxers was an overseas company.

Most of the engineering in Greece are developer tool, product led and selfserve. That was pretty much unfundable back in 2011, a very different story today. Uh, but you know, we monitor it. It's a small amount and we grew very fast. We grew to a million dollars in revenue in like, uh, 18 months after we launched the pricing, which for the time it was good.

And we had developers like, you know, w we were developers and we thought that we knew how to do B2B marketing. Mostly through stack [00:05:00] overflow rather than hydrant years, it works. And, you know, especially when it comes to developer tools and you have an engineering code, the ends, you know, they are very hard.

They will, the way, you know, they provide feedback. Uh, but I discovered like, you know, there was some times that I will wake up. I will see any mail from your house. Who was the director of engineering at Skype and, you know, my heart will pump our stressed. Then I will just put it aside for a couple of hours and then, you know, just focus on, on, uh, on his feedback.

And usually there would be some comments like, you know, uh, you know, this problem over there is like a spear in my eye, but guess what? It's exactly this type of people that actually care about you. And they are so hard because they care and then something, you know, I figured out later, you know, when we got acquired by Splunk it's then you know, the feedback stopped.

Yeah. Because people didn't care so much, you know, the way they could consume Splunk was because, you know, someone sold it to them like a salesperson and they have to use it because it was there in their organization who was nobody to decision, let's say on the engineering side to use it. So they didn't really care.

[00:06:00] Uh, whereas in Buxton, you know, the broader team, the organization, they wanted to be successful. And if it failed. Uh, you know, they will just escalate and they will escalate. Let's say to me, to the founder that I also care deeply about the product. Uh, so even though this was very stressful, I think, you know, the was fully aligned, was all skin in the game, both on the user side and on the people working on the product, even, you know, my engineers will the support.

Yeah. Do it like 3:00 AM after returning from a nights out of the bar, when that was a thing, uh, and that created a great feedback loop. Uh, and you see this, we know when there's this kind of, uh, call it like organizational. Yeah. Uh, it wasn't like the organization was wrong, but when we got acquired, then it was layered with other people and people who never had anything to do with the product.

And they had to support another three, four different, much bigger, more important products like Splunk and the price corridor was fielding millions and millions in sales. And then some people had to do support for back [00:07:00] sense or Splunk main does it wasn't branded it didn't, you know, it was very small.

Like, you know, why would they care? And it was a completely different audience. Uh, and then he will see that, you know, both on the customer side and on the organizational side, you know, there wasn't this alignment. And then, you know, or like, even though we have become one of the most popular tools for the bank and mobile applications, uh, for monitoring them in real time.

And for the first year after we were acquired, it was three were growing. But then as we. Disintegrating the bags and steam, and we're becoming part of Splunk, which is very typical with most acquisitions. Like I think 90% fail on the integration phase. Then you would say like, turn, turn it in, coming in and actually seeing all this, uh, user base.

Uh, and that's usually very, very usual then, you know, there's a new startup that comes out. Most likely technology is the same or even inferior, but it doesn't matter because what matters there, they just like us to the people that didn't deeply 

Andrew Michael: [00:07:59] care. [00:08:00] Take care. Yeah. I love that point. Like you mentioned a few different things that go on to touch on.

Like the one I think is like, it's almost a worry if you're not getting like harsh critics and harsh feedback, because like you said, like, nobody really cares enough to give you the feedback. So it's weird because like, Three time notice this week. So hill who was the founder of  Mixpanel, uh, is launching a new company now called mighty app.

And, uh, he similarly, like they launched on hacker news and use like the basically got torn apart, uh, for what they just recently launched and, uh, the same sort of principles apply. I think it's like, if you'd not getting that adverse reaction, just as much as you get like the, we love your product. It's exciting.

If you don't have the opposite effect, it's like, you're really building nothing for anybody. Right. You need to have those reactions. I think to know that you're onto something as well. 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:08:49] I think sometimes, you know, uh, you might just open up your email inbox and there's like zero emails there during emails or very few, and you're all happy.

Okay. There's nothing to do. [00:09:00] You know, I can take a day or something, but . Yeah, he thinks we'll monitor thinks someone were slipping in the crack. Right. Uh, where, you know, I'm not saying that, you know, exploding, uh, an inbox is always like a sign of prosperity and progress, but if it's too quiet, then it means that what you do doesn't 

Andrew Michael: [00:09:20] matter.

Yeah. For sure. We see this quite a lot as well. Like on the show we discussed the concept as well of if people aren't reaching out to support, like it's a little bit counterintuitive, but people often see it as I can an issue, uh, when they do. But it's more of an issue when they're not actually, because it's means that they don't care enough to actually try and reach out to support because nobody builds a perfect product.

Like nobody has this amazing experience where no one's thinking ever gets stuck. So if 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:09:46] they're. Yeah. It's not always like, you know, coming back with, uh, asking for help for it, with a bag or complaining about something. Yeah. People reach out support because they want something more. Uh, or because sometimes they even want to express like the [00:10:00] gratitude, like, you know, thank you for what they have for you.

Yeah. Um, so there, people just want to talk to the creators, especially when you have like a smaller startup, uh, people may be experts at moderation, uh, or they just want some times to perpetuate, which I think it's like, you know, the financial off creation, like they have users that you never met somewhere around new Orleans saying, thank you for it.

What have you created? And the difficult parts, like to be able to sustain this as you can. 

Andrew Michael: [00:10:28] Uh, it's really tough. And I think it is like, is one of the best feelings. Like literally yesterday I was having a discussion with, uh, one of our very few users that we have on our product in the moment. And just like that interaction lasted like 15, 20 minutes, like backwards and forwards, but it was super cool just to get that immediacy in terms of feedback, like he went on, he saw something like it was missing or the reluctance, or he had actually done a search for something that our product did, uh, which was a incredible as well.

Like just these insights, I think. Drive the motivation and [00:11:00] keep you moving forward. And like, it's really what you need to build a better product for these people as well. The other thing you mentioned as well, 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:11:08] I'm sorry, this is, you know, and then the portal thing is like to be able to. Replay, you know, there's conversations to the rest of the organization because not all people are, you know, on the always all the time, you know, one of these support channels or this interaction channels, and you have to showcase the others because they have the pride.

And another thing I saw, like, you know, moving from moccasins, like a social service starts up to a big enterprise software company. Like. Splunk who has that, you know, uh, in the past, the engineers were really close to the end customer and they will see like the fruit of the labor being used or being criticized.

So then they'll fix it. Yeah. But when we moved, let's say to a slower release cadence, when there was like a dedicated support team that was in the middle, then there was this kind of valley, a nation. Uh, they couldn't see [00:12:00] like, you know, how their work was impactful, you know, seven sale kind of for the Marxist nation concentrated, uh, where, you know, someone created something is not understanding the value or not seeing, you know, how this impactful, uh, that's super important.

Like, you know, on one hand you get like engineers complaining about doing support. Uh, but when they have zero support, zero customer integration, then they will complain again. Uh, so it's, it's a very fine balance on how you create this. Uh, equilibrium between being active with customers, but also being dedicated on.

You know, working on your roadmap and do the things that you like, which is 

Andrew Michael: [00:12:36] create. Yeah. I love this one. We were actually having a conversation with the team yesterday as well. We were talking about support and then one of the engineers said like, yeah. And when they reach out to support, then they'll let us know.

It's like, they're going to be reaching out to you. Like you are going to be visible. And he goes, I, it just started laughing as well as a team, but like, I think this is really interesting. And Hotjar, I think when we got to that sort of scale where it [00:13:00] wasn't sustainable for engineers to be doing it regularly, we had like twice a year, there were meetups.

And then we would have support days where everyone in the company actually went in and did support. And what was really interesting was you found like the engineers would go in they'd answer like two or three tickets about the same topic. They get really annoyed about doing this. A ticket over and over, and then just go and fix the problem like, uh, and you ended up getting like these really good, quick fixes, uh, that solved like a lot of pain points for customers, just purely because you had like the pain of the engineers going and doing this repetitive tasks that they realized is really inefficient.

And, um, they can't empathize as well when it's just a support rep saying, and I 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:13:37] think, you know, this is not something that you can uncover by looking at an analytics or. I don't know, Harvard business review papers or whatsoever. This is a deeply cultural thing. And I think the best way to do it is to demonstrate the skin in the game.

And eventually leaders should be leading in my doing it themselves. Like if I think, you know, any leader like VP or C level [00:14:00] never spent any time on support, uh, it's a countryside. Like, you know, that first they don't really care. Of course, a lot of them, you know, they have this kind of interactions when it comes, let's say the big enterprise softwares, they have their QPRs with customers and customer councils.

And it usually doesn't come, you know, through supporting someone on Zendesk. It usually comes in the form of having like, you know, and I get together with customers, right? Yeah. Uh, but you know, if customers, but any kind of leaders are insulated from costumers complaining or expressing their ideas about roadmap.

I think it's time to leave this organization and move somewhere. 

Andrew Michael: [00:14:36] Yeah. I a hundred percent agree with that. Like it needs to be within the culture within the DNA, uh, that everybody understands, like put the customer first. And that means speaking to 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:14:45] them. It doesn't mean engineer has to see that, that the PM is active on that and he's doing it, or maybe even up to the CEO.

Right. Otherwise, you know, if people don't want to do it because you know, it's for them become some, some short of,  like a chore for people. [00:15:00] Um, then it's easy, like to point to others and say, oh yeah, this is a chart. I'm not going to do it. Nobody's doing it. Why should I do it? Yeah. So yeah, I think leaders should be leading in there 

Andrew Michael: [00:15:10] and almost like part of the cultural values in the way that you measure performance by, within the team as well.

Like, uh, how is this individual supporting customers? Like how frequently are they speaking to them? Um, and making it really part of, uh, the culture. The, the other thing you mentioned then as well. And I think that this is probably, uh, we discussed previous to the show as well, in my opinion, like one of the biggest places where turn really starts is when you have this breakdown in alignment.

And you touched on it a little bit with your experience at bug sense and through the acquisition, maybe talk us through a little bit more. So. You're at the time you said sort of, you had this culture really close to the customer, everybody doing support, moving into bag sense. Then after the acquisition, like you started to notice this breakdown, um, in communication and alignment within the teams, like, [00:16:00] why do you feel like this is so critical when it comes to like attacking churn and retention?

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:16:06] Yes. I think most of the customers, they are happy for you, but they're not happy, but they're okay. You know, if things are not perfect, as long as you're responsive, when you are fixing them. Nobody expects a perfect product. Uh, of course there are some areas like, you know, security and infrastructure and revenue where, you know, all banks are not allowed.

Uh, but in any case, you know, people know that, you know, something will be stacked, something won't be working a hundred percent and they really care. First of all, Uh, the support really, really listens in there's top in my that, you know, things aren't going to be fixed soon. And I think, you know, they appreciate more quick turnaround and fixing a problem than a great product, to be honest, like no, sometimes people take a great product, like an amazing user experience for granted if it's there forever.

And that's, that's how things are. Haven't seen that, you know, there's skin in the game, on your side, that Andre is actually listening to us and fixing all the things. So [00:17:00] for example, when I mentioned about the engineering cuts, Skype Johann, uh, was very, been hardest Vedic with me eventually, you know, he doesn't give him like a recommendation will enter to get my us visa.

Uh, so you can develop these kinds of relationships by being there. Yeah. Being supportive. Yeah. So what happened after the acquisition? Of course, as a you're a bigger organization and we have to comply with what they were doing. So Encinitas now how to go through an ideation gates, and then they have to do budgeting about whether we can do this feature.

There is enough QA and so on, and then support. There was a support organization. So, whereas before we're like a small team that was running in sprints and everybody was part of the team, let's say, meet the marketing, uh, the support. So everybody was know exactly what we're building and why this being released and why we did it.

Now, you know, we had to release it. And then I had to do like a virtual enablement call and have like three 30 people that were supposed to do support for backstops or [00:18:00] Splunk meet later. And that will happen like once every three months and pretty much. Be on the zoom for an hour, tell them what we fixed and why it is important.

Maybe a I create a confluence page and that's it. That's not enough. That's not enough. That's not enough for marketing to create good collateral. And that's not good enough for support support to understand what's going on, why it's important and what hasn't been fixed. Uh, so I think, you know, when you have this there's marketing, there's product, there's engineering and the support, uh, pretty much every organization have their own metrics.

And then. You just gave me a five, the metrics, that's it. You don't have any actual 360 view. You don't have skin in the game. You don't know how to work with engineers. You don't know how much stress they are or how much backlog they are, or it don't prioritize. You know, what's making people miserable because you know, there's this infrequent direction and support just once, like to say, we responded fast, even though the support.

We're looking at it. Thanks so much. Uh, someone was gonna look at it at six [00:19:00] hours, whether it be for someone there, it could be an engineer, you know, things can go into slack. If there's something too easy support, we'll pick it up and just answer with, uh, with, uh, with, uh, Are sort of coming from the knowledge space or immediately, you know, that will get the attention of an engineer and they'll support or they will just take it.

Right. Uh, so I think, you know, this smaller teams, more tactical, more, 360, uh, are more important than having, you know, departments. I think departments it's like, you know, in the medicine, right. You may be, I don't know if you have a heart issue, you go to the cardiologist and they say, well, you have a lot of cholesterol.

Some people say it's associated now with stroke, which we don't know if it's actually is the artist and the circuit hears that it's you hear start them, she'd go on to lower your cholesterol and you're not going to have a heart attack. That's fine. You know, it's, I'm done then maybe, you know, you have a failure in the liver, but you know, the cardiologist is fine.

You didn't die of a heart attack. Right, exactly. But you know, the patient [00:20:00] dies. So I think that this is what happens when you have this very, uh, strict department. People are just looking, you know, that they did and they satisfied the metric that was assigned to their own department. And to that, yeah, by the kind of missing the bigger picture.

And I think this is why you see, you know, companies growing at the moment. They have grew big enough immediately. There's a new crop of startups testing them. And I don't think, you know, it's because of technology it's us because you know, people live this 10 30, 40, 50 people startup. They, they care more, they are more aligned and these actually fights turn and actually leads to negative.

Andrew Michael: [00:20:36] Yeah, I love this, the analogy as well of sort of looking at it from the doctor's perspective and how everybody has their own goals. And everybody said softened, like having this deep alignment from the top down, I think is critical. Like ensuring that because it's inevitable, like as the company grows and scales, like.

Even if you do have 360 teams where everybody is focused on a goal and they have all the specialties, [00:21:00] ultimately you're still going to have multiple teams that are working, uh, to multiple goals. So having like this clear structure at honcho is again, we use sort of  and that came from the top down. And then each team had a clear understanding of how their metrics that they were focused on.

Had a great impact on the company's goals overall, which their squad, their goal, like an a cascaded, which was, it was beautiful. Yeah, I think it 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:21:24] is a major problem. There still, uh, still like, you know, people doing management science are still debating. Uh, we have this notion of like, you know, the production line coming from Taylor Taylor Taylor is that, you know, that company is like an engine and composites of different parts, which it might not be the case after all a company, like any society can be actually an organism.

So the fact that, you know, one department is functioning well doesn't mean, know the organization is. Working at executing the way it should be. You know, maybe we should draw more analysis from biology and physics. Uh, and [00:22:00] that's something that a lot of people are now, uh, looking after, like, you know, how you create more relationships between this organization based during these different departments.

It's not about having well-defined departments. If these departments are not very well connected, if one person's support doesn't have direct relationships with engineers and so on, you kind of go through your top level manager or go through your QBR or. Maybe something comes up very high in a dashboard at some point when the, you know, the same ticket has now happened 10 times.

And because now it has to happen, at least in times to be significantly in a dashboard, then it's, we escalated the damage that may have be done because. There was waiting to happen. 10 times might be much, much, much higher. Uh, so other things, you know, there's a very easy answer, especially with, because biological systems are way more complex that modeling physics, uh, the complexity is astronomical.

Uh, so it's, it's a very different equation, but it really has to do, I think at the end of the day with, uh, first modern principles, [00:23:00] how founders are thinking and whether, you know, they can replicate this thinking into their recruits, which is extremely. 

Andrew Michael: [00:23:06] For sure. The way I see it as well, like is essentially specifically if you're working on software, like more often than not as well, you have like the product team, which tends to get like the majority of the focus and majority of the emphasis and then everything.

The product team is the gods of the company. Like in other places I've seen this. Um, and my perspective on this, I think is that like when you're building a company, the product that you're building is actually the company and every touch point, every interaction that your team has with. Your product, which is your company, uh, is a touch point where you can make an influence where you can make an impact.

We have those wow moments. And like you mentioned it earlier as well. Like you might have the best product, but actually like just had personal interaction with an individual within the company, uh, that you helped them and serve them, like will go way further in retaining customers and helping and think.

A great way is to sort of align the team around the jobs to be done, uh, of like, what do your customers need to achieve and then [00:24:00] have teams and squads that revolve around to how you can actually help make your customer successful as opposed to how you can organize internally, uh, to better structure things.

And like, I totally agree with you as well, in terms of communication, like that's where the biggest breakdowns are happening is when teams aren't collaborating when they aren't working effectively together. And they don't have the clear picture, uh, as a team. 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:24:20] I think that's a, that's a whole point of a startup like it, or sometimes there are some in quotes, investors who say that, you know, you need to have like founding team, someone doing marketing or saves and one technical.

This is much BS. Uh, I started, there was a sense of it's a product org. That's what it is. And the CEO should be the chief product officer. That's it, there is nothing else. And because you know, the difference between the team and the customers is so. Startups work out very well, even though they're a terrible place to work because everything is disorganized.

Things change all the time. That's because you can actually see the impact of your work. And then, you know, nothing else [00:25:00] matters. That's, you know, when the magic happens and you shouldn't be retaining this as much as possible learning, you know, resist the change to bring like accomplish VPs because they had some great, and I know they were at Facebook before, so towards, you know, it was a different org with thousands of people.

It's not working for an early stage startup, nervous state startup. It doesn't matter. You know, what are the credentials of people? What really matters is like, you know, that this candidate. Uh, so the more you can keep everybody having a lot of skin or soul in the game, uh, the better it will be. Uh, you know, the, the more they care about what they actually do, they bet that they will be at the end of the day.

Uh, so you have to actually, you know, make, make sure that everybody's starting up everything. If they, even if they don't like it, if they don't like, like interacting with customers, maybe they're not right. Fit for an early stage startup because you have to close the loop all the time. The more people close a little bit.


Andrew Michael: [00:25:53] And it's inevitable that you get to the changing of the gods. So like you have, like you say, some people that are way better suited for early [00:26:00] stage, and then some people that are way better for later stage companies to a thing. And it sent it like at every company. I think this happens at a certain point when they get an infliction of a number of employees, a hundred, 200, where you start to see like the earlier adopters, the early employees start to leave, look for new opportunities, better suited to them.

You have new VPs joining and bringing in structure. That's uh, not everybody enjoys, . 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:26:23] So this compartmentalization of companies also show's up in tools.

Yeah, Zendesk with its own analytics for the support team. And then there's the other node. Jira Agile, whatever for the engineering and then product now has, you know, their own thing. Uh, and revenue has their own thing. So. People are looking to get another silo. Now they're siloed and the tools they are using reflects a silo, which is even worse.

Um, so there's a problem because people cannot really align and they cannot see the big picture. So if only there was a tool where you, for example, you can get, you know, what's going on and support and revenue and user analytics, or [00:27:00] maybe it was, you know, we had some terrible experiences. The app was super slow to load the data though.

Right? So if only there was a tool where I can get all these different insights and data points from different tools and just see everything aligned, maybe there'll be able to align, you know, teams and make this more empathetic across organizations. So, no, no. 

Andrew Michael: [00:27:22] Totally.

Now, now I see where the whole alignment concept came as well. I don't know if you were planning it from the start, but, uh, great Sonia. So, uh, as Vanessa is alluding to, obviously we, we have a new tool, uh, the company. It's called Avrio . And essentially what we're building is a collaborative insights platform that helps to break down these data silos.

It helps to prevent wasted hours on research and gives your team a single source of truth that they can access anyway. So, uh, with Avrio, essentially we building a seamless experience for users, uh, that's actually built into your workflow. So I really, as an extension first experience, meaning that you can have access to it wherever you have [00:28:00] access in your browser.

Uh, you can capture insights very quickly and easily. So like Panos said, um, everyone has their own different tools within the organization. Everyone is deriving their own learnings and insights and at the moment, this really lives in silos. So with everyo in an instant, you can quickly capture an insight.

Save. Accessible then for the whole organization, uh, to access. Uh, and then we give you tools as well, where you can bring insights together to tell stories, to work on your next business case, to experiment hypothesis, uh, and as a product, or you can really then allow your team to contribute and be data-driven so very often than not, you have like a single PM or a designer going off and trying to understand the user and doing their research and.

In the meantime, like this information lives and is all throughout the organization, it's in the support tickets coming through Zendesk vendors in the analytic report, that's in, there is you at the end of the month. So what we really are trying to provide is an easy and simple way for teams to be able to capture and more importantly, share and have access to this information, uh, so that it doesn't die at the bottom of a slide deck or a Google doc.

Um, and there's actually [00:29:00] surfaceable and available to make an impact and to. To drive change within the company. So today we have  some exciting news, uh, that Panos as well. And the team had marathon, uh, going to be leading our pre-seed round as well. So, um, what is it that God you're so excited obviously have besides, uh, the picture that you're, you've fainted for the audience.

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:29:20] Uh, yeah, first of all, we're really excited to be partnering with, uh, Andrew and team, uh, to build the future of cross team organizational collaboration. Uh, so I really like the problem to be honest, you know, as I alluded to, you know, breaking the silos is one. Issues that I really disliked when working in a bigger organization, uh, for example, you know, having mentioned something, having created and compressing policy, but still people couldn't find it.

Still people could learn reference to it. It was so hard. Uh, so we did like a problem and we also really liked to be honest, like, you know what we say at the preset, you eventually, you don't bet on a company, you bet on our people and on an experiment on whether a company's will exist in the first [00:30:00] place.

So we also really like a lot, Andrew and. It's me a couple of times before one, once in Athens and one in San Francisco with his older startups that didn't work out. But you know, that doesn't even matter to be honest, like, you know, you build the relationship and, you know, being, uh, you know, uh, the slough that being an investor is, you know, you just wait and wait.

And some someday after a few years you say, oh, this guy actually has made all this progress. Uh, so. He started secretary so far. So now it's time for me to invest. Uh, so that's actually was part of, uh, what is happening here. 

Andrew Michael: [00:30:35] That's very cool. Yeah. I remember that first coffee in San Francisco emits. Uh, couldn't remember the exact place, but I do have 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:30:41] like still Victoria Marie fourth and king, I think sat down last year.

Andrew Michael: [00:30:46] Yeah, very cool. Um, but yeah, so I'm super excited as well. Not to have the marathon team, uh, obviously with the show, just for the audience, I need to give a bit more context because I think one of the things, um, were the reasons why I started the show [00:31:00] obviously was because I was tired of hearing. This magic number, the silver bullet that you could solve a general attention for, but that motivation really came more than two years ago.

When I decided I wanted to start building a new company, I wanted to do my own business, but back then, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do yet. And like when I said, like playing the slow game, I wanted to make sure what I was going to do next was going to be something that would motivate, excite me and be like, what I would want to spend the next 5, 10, 15 years working on.

And this problem actually came out. An issue that I have faced myself working previously at Hotjar as head of business intelligence, uh, seeing how, like we were doing some amazing work, some amazing research and ultimately just, it wasn't being seen by the right people at the right time. And ultimately we were wasting good insights.

We're going to waste. So I started the podcast in the beginning, just really trying to experiment, trying to find out ideas. And, uh, actually Avrio now is the. Uh, products that I've experimented with. And I had a very methodical process, I think, in trying to [00:32:00] understand and work out what was going to be next.

I would literally. Put together a landing pages that look like the real deal. Like you would think this, this was a company that was up and running. Uh, actually I remember one time Brian, Belfore from Reforge I shared a product with him. I was like, Hey Brian, like, uh, I'd like to get your feedback. And he's like, holy shit.

Like, is this a real thing? And I was like, no, it's just a landing page. He's like, you got me fooled. Uh, so like, uh, what I tried to do was really trying to understand that as a user coming to the page, Did they feel that this was a real enough product so that they could then give me really good qualitative feedback and quantitative in terms of pricing research.

So one of the things I really want to understand before building a company was, was there going to be a willingness to pay for this product and what would be the likelihood to buy? So I took the same methodology, like I implemented at Hotjar working with research teams to do pricing and packaging research to try and understand, okay, how likely would people be to buy this product and what would they be willing to pay?

And then could we build a business over the back of this? So. Um, obviously two or three other [00:33:00] ideas, uh, are shelved based off of the back of this. One of them was just, didn't sit right with me personally, but maybe there's an opportunity there for others. Um, and then like, I've really just, as I said, like came as this, uh, problem I face internally really saw that felt frustrating, felt the pain.

And then, uh, did the research in center case. This is what's next. And, uh, here we are today. So, um, You've been an experiment in the making of the last two years listeners. So I want to thank you very much. And, uh, over the next few years, we will continue the journey. We'll be sharing a little bit more about our ups and downs as well at Avrio .

Uh, we'll be chatting about our churn and retention issues and how we will be solving and techniques issues along with speaking to the guests that we do now as well. So just a big, big, thanks to everybody for listening to the show for being supporting, and like getting us to where we are today. So, uh, to all the guests as well, and a nice surprise, actually, if you ever.

Guests of the show actually participating in this investment round as well. So the podcast has really bought like an amazing experience for me in terms of learning connections and now even [00:34:00] investors as well. So thank you for making what it is today. Thanks to the listeners. Uh, Panos uh, it's been a pleasure chatting to you today, and obviously we're going to have a lot more discussions, uh, uh, in the future.

And, uh, we continue to. To give up. So I'm not going to wish you luck in the future because, uh, it's our, like together, we're working on these things together there. Is there any sort of final thoughts you want to leave with the listeners though today for the show? Um, if they want to reach out to, like, what would you advise is the best way?

Um, if people are looking for investment advice or is there anything exciting that you want to share with you? 

Panos Papadopoulos: [00:34:36] Oh, yes, absolutely. You know, it's very easy to Sur to retail to everyone in these days. Right. I'm always available at partners.marathon.vc, but I guess, you know, every scrap intrepreneur can always like guests.

They may. Uh, so it's part of the, of, you know, think of the selection process to be able to be scrappy and reach out to whoever you want. Uh, this type of intrepreneurs thrive in today's environment, uh, uh, on final thought, that thing, you know, it's really important [00:35:00] for entrepreneurs to be thinking of first principle, Uh, other figuring out what photograph thinks it's really matters.

What really matters is that, you know, uh, of course there are the hard skills, there's the technology skills you have to build. Uh, but then you also have to understand that human nature, because as topically for an organization or a market is a living organism. And to be honest, like, you know, the human psyche, the human soul hasn't really changed in millennia.

So being able to study a bit of the classics, uh, with the philosophy. Marcel Proust or read the book, uh, the pleasures and sorrows of work by Linda Baton, I think can save you in a very, very nice. Uh, and what we said before about being able to having people being part of the process of discovery process or closing the loop, and everybody feel infested in what they do is very important versus just giving them titles and moving them up the ladder.

Uh, you move up the ladder and then you escape if we have escape velocity. But if you have like [00:36:00] vested interest, if you think your work is valuable and it's being appreciated internally and externally, uh, that's what makes people, uh, stick, integrate? 

Andrew Michael: [00:36:10] Absolutely going back to first principles. I'd like a hundred percent agree with this is like, you can have all the structure, you can have all the science, but understanding people like to the core and how they work and operate is definitely going to be one of the most impactful things you can do.

So. Panos. Thank you so, so much for joining today, excited now for the partnership going forward and to the listeners. Thank you for joining us on this journey and the excited not to share with you, uh, going forward as well at the journey with Avrio well.

If you want to check out it's www.avrio.com,  A - V - R - I - Oand we are open now for beta. So come check us out, give us your feedback, give us your harsh feedback, because hopefully, um, we, you care deeply enough about the problem and the pain point that we're trying to solve. That you'll help us build an awesome product together.

So. Thank you so much.


Panos Papadopoulos
Panos Papadopoulos

The show

My name is Andrew Michael and I started CHURN.FM, as I was tired of hearing stories about some magical silver bullet that solved churn for company X.

In this podcast, you will hear from founders and subscription economy pros working in product, marketing, customer success, support, and operations roles across different stages of company growth, who are taking a systematic approach to increase retention and engagement within their organizations.


Listen To Next